Creatine: What Is It & Why You Should Take It
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Creatine is a naturally occurring non-protein amino acid. In our diet, creatine can be found in meat and fish. Within our bodies, 95% of creatine is located in skeletal muscle.
The purpose of creatine is to help with energy production, especially during high intensity, anaerobic exercise, such as heavy lifting and short-duration interval training. Supplementation with creatine has been shown to increase muscle mass and strength, as well as enhance recovery.
Creatine is one of the most researched and evidence-backed legal supplements available to athletes. Numerous studies have demonstrated the safety of long-term use, with trials running for 5 years with intakes of up to 30g per day with well-tolerated outcomes in both healthy and patient populations across the lifespan.
The safety of creatine monohydrate has been extensively researched. When taking the recommended dosage levels of creatine, there is no evidence that it has adverse effects on kidney function, muscular processes or thermoregulatory processes.
Furthermore, a 2017 study by Rawson et al. showed improvement in muscular functioning as demonstrated by decreased cramping and tightness and reduced total injuries reported in individuals taking creatine supplements.
In addition, Lopez et al showed a reduction in body temperature with exercise in creatine users, demonstrating that the idea that creatine places an additional strain on the body’s thermoregulation process is unfounded.
The International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) position stance on the safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation states that “In addition to athletic and exercise improvement, research has shown that creatine supplementation may enhance post-exercise recovery, injury prevention, thermoregulation, rehabilitation, and concussion and/or spinal cord neuroprotection. These studies provide a large body of evidence that creatine can not only improve exercise performance, but can play a role in preventing and/or reducing the severity of injury, enhancing rehabilitation from injuries, and helping athletes tolerate heavy training loads.”