While naturally found in the body and meat products, creatine supplements are a manmade form of the chemical. Once ingested, creatine is typically stored in the muscles and used as an energy source to facilitate muscle growth and improve muscle contraction. However, it has also been used as an alternative medicine to improve muscle strength for people who have muscular dystrophy or have experienced heart failure.
Although creatine has had its fair share of criticism, more than 500 research studies have been conducted to verify the safety and effectiveness of this supplement. For bodybuilders that are attempting to increase muscle growth, a dose of 3 to 5 grams daily has been shown to aid in cell volumization to store water and create a swelling effect in muscle tissues. However, other research has shown that creatine supplementation can also increase IGF-1 levels while increasing the production of proteins that create new muscle fibers.
Although most often used as a muscle enhancement supplement, research on creatine has also provided insight into how the chemical may help improve performance levels during high-intensity exercise. This assistance is derived from creatine’s ability to directly impact the production of ATP within the body to help improve strength, endurance levels, sprint ability and overall recovery following a strenuous workout. However, creatine supplementation still provides even more benefits for cognitive health.
Since creatine plays a direct role in the production of ATP, it can potentially help improve cognitive abilities that are associated with difficult brain activities. Creatine supplementation increases phosphocreatine levels in the brain to allow more ATOP to be used for energy. As a result, dopamine levels will be increased to assist mitochondria in completing critical functions.