Members question: Should I take creatine?

by Richard Adams in Education

Members question: I’ve heard about a supplement called creatine being good for aiding muscle growth and building strength. Is it safe? And is it something I should consider?

The short answer to this question is, yes, creatine is considered to be safe, and if increasing muscle mass (hypertrophy) is your goal, then it’s definitely worth considering.

In an article called “Common questions and misconceptions about creatine supplementation: what does the scientific evidence really show?” in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition (8th February 2021), the researcher reported that:
“Creatine (methylguanidine-acetic acid) is endogenously formed from reactions involving the amino acids arginine, glycine and methionine in the kidneys and liver. Exogenously, creatine is primarily consumed from meat and/or as a dietary supplement…Creatine supplementation…can increase the capacity of ATP and energy produced during heavy anaerobically-related exercise, thereby possibly increasing muscle power, repetitions and exercise volume which can subsequently contribute to muscle performance and hypertrophy over the course of a training period.”

In other (less scientific!) words, we produce creatine ourselves and consume it from meat. Creatine gives your muscles more energy and leads to changes in cell function that increase muscle growth.

The authors go on to state that creatine is safe for both men and women, and is effective in older adults.

Creatine supplements are typically taken in power form, similar to protein supplements. You can buy a 93 serving pack from Amazon for £7.

There are reports that for around 20% of adults, when used in combination with regular resistance-based exercise, creatine supplements are not effective. However since there are no significant side effects, if muscle growth and strength is a goal, it’s something to consider trying.