What is Creatine?
Creatine is a small protein that is, to a certain degree, naturally made in the body. However, the quantity is not usually enough to facilitate and support high levels of physical activity or to encourage muscle growth above and beyond base level. It does however usually suffice to deliver energy in your muscle.
So should you be taking it?
The answer, as you probably guessed, is entirely subjective, it’s outcome dependant and goal oriented. In other words, it depends on what you want to achieve! Most associate creatine with increased muscle mass, power and performance, and rightly so…but that’s not where its potential ends.
So is it for athletes only?
If you’ve heard of creatine before then it’s likely you associate it with athletes. Not at all surprising considering the media coverage (some good, some bad) that creatine received over the last decade or so amongst athletes.
The reason it is used by athletes is because creatine in your muscles own unique energy source, in other words it isn’t poached and used by other parts of the body (other than the brain). So it is highly specific to the needs of the working muscle, and that goes hand in hand with sport.
Creatine is NOT a one trick pony…
However, creatine is emerging as a useful supplement for EVERYBODY. Exciting revelations are surfacing on its ability to stave off the natural muscle degenerative process known as ‘age related muscle sarcopaenia’ whereby peoples lean mass (muscle) begins to break down over time, this is why you see many frail elderly people (one of several possible reasons unfortunately). This may be natural, but it’s definitely not desirable!
Combine it with exercise
A study published in Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise in 2014 found there to be no reduction in muscle sarcopaenia if creatine is taken without adequate exercise. So in order to get maximal benefit from this superb supplement, some form of physical activity needs to be performed.
Naturally, creatine supplementation would need to be combined with a healthy balanced diet including adequate protein in order to support lean muscle mass.
What Creatine Supplement is best
There are a plethora of creatine supplements out there, plain and simple though opt for the purest, most readily absorbed by the body form… creatine monohydrate, ideally the micronized form.
Some great examples that I’ve used personally are (no affiliations):