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Creatine: Will it help my fitness goals? What does the latest research say?
Is just about everyone taking creatine to help them reach fitness goals?
Creatine is, actually, the most popular ergogenic (athletic-enhancing) supplement in history!
And there is always new research coming out about it. I mean ALWAYS.
If you don’t have the time or desire to sift through the tons of studies, I have a pretty nice summary here for you.
The bottom line is that there are a few reasons why it is so popular!
DOES CREATINE HELP PERFORMANCE (ACCORDING TO THE SCIENCE)?
Yes, creatine can increase the size of lean muscle mass when it’s used along with a resistance training program.
It improves strength and performance during short-duration, high intensity activity. So, creatine can be helpful for activities like weight-training and sprinting,
With high-dose creatine supplementation, it’s possible to increase body mass by almost 2 kg within a week; however, know that this gain is mostly (lean) water weight.
On the other hand, creatine is not as helpful for longer-term, lower intensity activities like marathons.
Oh, and it can also help protect your brain, heart, bones, and liver too! (Bonus!)
If you are wondering; no, creatine is NOT a steroid; and, no, you don’t need to cycle it.
HOW DOES CREATINE WORK?
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Brosnan JT, da Silva RP, Brosnan ME. The metabolic burden of creatine synthesis. Amino Acids. 2011 May;40(5):1325-31. doi: 10.1007/s00726-011-0853-y. Epub 2011 Mar 9.
Greenhaff’ PL. The nutritional biochemistry of creatine. November 1997. Volume 8, Issue 11, Pages 610–618
Health Canada, Natural and Non-prescription Health Products Monograph. Accessed January 29, 2017,
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Kilduff LP, Georgiades E, James N, Minnion RH, Mitchell M, Kingsmore D, Hadjicharlambous M, Pitsiladis YP. The effects of creatine supplementation on cardiovascular, metabolic, and thermoregulatory responses during exercise in the heat in endurance-trained humans. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2004 Aug;14(4):443-60.
Low SY, Rennie MJ, Taylor PM. Modulation of glycogen synthesis in rat skeletal muscle by changes in cell volume. J Physiol. 1996;495(Pt 2): 299–303.
Schilling BK, Stone MH, Utter A, Kearney JT, Johnson M, Coglianese R, Smith L, O’Bryant HS, Fry AC, Starks M, Keith R, Stone ME. Creatine supplementation and health variables: a retrospective study. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001 Feb;33(2):183-8.
Spillane M, Schoch R, Cooke M, Harvey T, Greenwood M, Kreider R, Willoughby DS. The effects of creatine ethyl ester supplementation combined with heavy resistance training on body composition, muscle performance, and serum and muscle creatine levels. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009 Feb 19;6:6. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-6-6.
Thompson CH, Kemp GJ, Sanderson AL, Dixon RM, Styles P, Taylor DJ, Radda GK. Effect of creatine on aerobic and anaerobic metabolism in skeletal muscle in swimmers. Br J Sports Med. 1996 Sep; 30(3): 222–225. PMCID: PMC1332335