What does Creatine do for you?

Creatineis an organic acid (occurs naturally in vertebrates) that supplies energy to all cells in the body -primarily muscle- by increasing the formation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Fish and meats are great sources of creatine, yetcreatine can also be made in the laboratory so you can avoid overeating meat -and therefore avoid those possible side-effects-. Interestingly, today, creatine content (as a percentage of crude protein) can be used as an indicator of meat quality.

Creatine use is widespread among athletes and gym enthusiasts, since it increases the body’s ability to produce energy rapidly, being particularly effective in high-intensity training and explosive activities, such as weight training, sprinting, and sports that require short but intense bursts of effort. With more energy, you will train harder, and this is why creatine is typically related to weight gain. Not in fat, but muscle. Creatine is an osmotically active substance, which means that it pulls water into your muscle cells, which increases protein synthesis.

In addition to improving athletic performance, creatine is used experimentallyfor congestive heart failure (CHF), depression, bipolar disorder, and Parkinson’s disease . Since the lack of creatine in the brain results in mental retardation, seizures, autism and movement disorders , researchers are currently studying the cognitive benefits involved in creatine use.

So far, creatine has been found to be neuroprotective in vitro against anoxic/hypoxic damage . Dietary creatine supplementation has been associated with improved symptoms in neurological disorders defined by impaired neural energy provision. In this study (idem), fifteen healthy adults were supplemented with creatine and placebo treatments for 7 days, which increased brain creatine on average by 9.2%. A hypoxic gas mixture (10% oxygen) was administered for 90 min, causing global oxygen deficit and impairing a range of neuropsychological processes. Hypoxia-induced decrements in cognitive performance, specifically attentional capacity, were restored when participants were creatine supplemented, and corticomotor excitability increased. A neuromodulatory effect of creatine via increased energy availability is presumed to be a contributing factor of the restoration, perhaps by supporting the maintenance of appropriate neuronal membrane potentials. Dietary creatine monohydrate supplementation augments neural creatine, increases corticomotor excitability, and prevents the decline in attention that occurs during severe oxygen deficit. This is the first demonstration on humans of creatine’s utility as a neuroprotective supplement when cellular energy provision is compromised , although related

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24190049
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25192512
3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25632150?log$=activity
4. Extracted from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25632150?log$=activity

evidence from animal studies has already supported a fetal neuroprotective role for creatine when administered to the mother during pregnancy .

Creatine has been reported -anecdotally- to have a subtle, but noticeable stimulatory effect on alertness without the anxiety or nervousness that some stimulants seem to produce as a side-effect to its users. Since the energy is basically in your “body”, your mind remains calm yet alert. This mental state has attracted different athletic and non-athletic nootropic users that find creatine an interesting stimulant alternative.

Nevertheless, there are certain(controversial) reports of kidney damage with creatine use, such as interstitial nephritis. Thus, patients with kidney disease should avoid use of this supplement. In 2004, however, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published a record which stated that oral long-term intake of 3g pure creatine per day is risk-free. In contrast, extensive research has shown that oral creatine supplementation at a rate of five to 20 grams per day appears to be very safe and largely devoid of adverse side-effects , and those negative reports just apply to people with pre-existent kidney disease.