Should I Take Creatine?
Updated: Nov 4
When Myles told me a few years ago he was going to start taking creatine- I kinda freaked out. My line of questioning in my appalled state went something like this. "Isn't that a steroid? Why do you want to look like a "roided" up body builder? I don't think it's safe. I've heard it causes baldness and can shrink things most guys don't want shrunk!"
I'll say it once, I was wrong. There- never again!
After doing some research on creatine, (persuaded by Myles's gentle suggestions to work on my biases), I discovered I was wrong about all this.
First, creatine is a dietary supplement NOT a steroid. Our body creates it's own creatine and we can get it from meat and fish too. Creatine serves as a type of fuel for your skeletal muscles.
Secondly, it is one of the most thoroughly studied compounds, and it has been proven completely safe to use through many research models.
It has very few side effects and those are limited to minimal weight gain and GI discomfort (if taken in large doses-which is not necessary). And you'll be happy to know, it is not known to shrink anything important!
What we do know about creatine, and why I am writing about it today, is because it can, without a doubt, assist in physical performance. It's most beneficial in bouts of quick intense bursts of activity (think quick sprints, heavy lifts, or jumps) and it helps to enhance muscle mass when paired with exercise. Our body replenishes our creatine levels in our muscles throughout the day, but supplementing is a way to add just a bit more to your system that you can't make yourself or get from your diet.
Athletes have been using creatine for YEARS, it is safe and effective when used correctly.
And there is another reason you should consider adding creatine to your supplement list if you are into that sort of thing. Researchers have been studying the link between creatine and brain function, especially in older adults!
Ahhhh- I got your attention now!
Research into the effects of creatine on the brain is harder to conduct mainly because of the manner in which scientists usually perform this type of research. To study the effect of creatine in muscles, the researchers take muscle biopsies which are fairly easy to obtain from research subjects. It is much more difficult to study the human brain and the effects creatine has on its function because of the intrusive nature of brain biopsies.... we don't do those sorts of things for research's sake usually. So, to find out what effects creatine can have on the brain, the use of an MRI comes in handy and those machines are generally tied up with more important jobs to do.
There is ongoing research being conducted on the effects of creatine on the brain, but in the limited studies completed, they have found a positive association with improving cognitive function (particularly memory) as well as attenuating the symptoms from concussions or traumatic brain injuries. Add to that, the mountains of research on creatine and muscular fitness- in both athletes and older adults, and it makes a pretty convincing argument to think about adding it to your diet. If this does intrigue you, please reach out to us for dosage recommendations and product endorsements.