Pre-workout supplements are wildly popular among professional athletes and people who exercise often. That’s why most people (who don’t spend hours at the gym daily) even don’t look at these supplements when picking “nutrient fuel” for themselves. That’s a completely wrong approach since so-called “pre-workout nutrition” could help not just athletes but also career achievers, healthy lifestyle seekers - literally any adult.
No wonder the first thing that pops into your head when you hear the word "creatine" links to sports or exercises. And you've got the point since creatine is a well-known supplement that helps build muscles and improve athletic performance. However, you can still enjoy the benefits of creatine even if you don't work out. Read on and you’ll discover how it may help you in your everyday life, career, and wellbeing!
What is creatine?
In a nutshell, creatine is a nitrogenous compound found in our skeletal muscles, which supplies our muscle cells with energy during various activities. Our body produces it to perform specific physically demanding tasks like weightlifting workouts or endurance training.
Creatine also supplies our muscle tissues with energy when we need more power. It converts adenosine diphosphate molecules (ADP) to adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the "energy currency" in our system, making us more energized. During physical activity, our body uses the energy from ATP, and the by-product is ADP, which has no stamina. Creatine helps the ADP to convert into ATP, so we're receiving more energy in the end.
So creatine is partly similar to amino acids, which also could affect your energy levels and ATP-cells production. What’s more, your body can literally produce it from amino acids arginine and glycine. Its stores in your muscles depend on protein intake, certain hormones’ levels, and muscle mass. Though, you can also get it as a supplement to refill your body’s stocks! Now let’s discover which perks it may bring you.
Top-5 benefits of taking creatine supplements when you don't workout
You should note that your body produces creatine naturally, even if you're not working out. So if you want to maintain your stamina and your cognitive performance on a high level, getting extra energy could help. As long as your brain consumes 20% of your body's energy, creatine may enable your body to produce more power without consuming extra calories.
Numerous studies about creatine's effects on your health have proven its usefulness aside from boosting your vitality. Here are the primary non-workout-related benefits creatine supplements can bring to your body.
Creatine has a potent antioxidant effect
The first statement on creatine's antioxidant-like effect surfaced when US scientists tested creatine supplements on rats. Their study showed creatine could protect rats from nitropropionic acid intoxication (their version of Huntington's disease).
Later studies have then proven that creatine has the same effect on the human body. So creatine behaves like an antioxidant via an energy-related mechanism. It helps mitochondria reduce the production of free radicals by strengthening intracellular buffering in target cells. That may help you avoid severe diseases, support your skin's health, and reduce the number of toxins in the body.
Another antioxidant-like benefit of creatine is its scavenging ability against free radicals. Antioxidants are essential in protecting our cells against free radicals responsible for chronic health issues like cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and chronic inflammation.
Texas A&M University investigation has proved creatine may act as an antioxidant against free radical and reactive species ions. Thus, it may be useful for body detox and overall cellular protection.
Creatine may speed up recovery from injuries
The next outstanding thing about creatine is that it could fasten recovery and rehabilitation after injuries. Hungarian researchers have observed injured swimmers separated into creatine or placebo groups. After some time, subjects who took creatine have reported less intense pain than another group. Thus, the study figured that taking creatine may help injured people with recovery and rehabilitation because of its restorative effects.
Another study has examined the outcome of taking creatine by people with leg fractures. Subjects were walking with a cast for fourteen days, divided into two groups. The first was taking an oral creatine supplement, while the other was taking a placebo. When they finished the rehabilitation, candidates who took creatine showed faster recovery than the placebo group.
The research concluded creatine supplements help stimulate muscle hypertrophy to recover faster. So even if you don't exercise much, you can still use creatine supplements for a faster recovery or rehabilitation from physical injuries.
Creatine may provide an anti-aging effect
Aside from antioxidant and recovery effects, creatine could be also beneficial as an anti-aging supplement. Italian scientists have found creatine supplementation showing significant gene protective activity on mitochondrial DNA. The study analyzed creatine's protective effects on the oxidatively-challenged DNA while studying both cellular and acellular activities.
The study's results have proved creatine supplements could stabilize the mitochondrial genome, normalize mitochondrial mutagenesis, avoid mitochondrial DNA mutations - in other words, delay the aging process.Another medical study challenged the impact of topical creatine in slowing down the skin aging processes. Subjects used a facial cream formulation with creatine to check out its effect on wrinkles and overall skin quality.
Results showed creatine supplementation could stimulate collagen synthesis, penetrate and reach the deep skin layers quicker. At the same time, it lifts the sagging cheeks and significantly decreases wrinkles' appearance. And skin health is an essential part of your confidence and self-image, which may affect how you perform.
As none of us is fond of getting old, creatine supplements are a splendid solution if you want to look younger. So, anti-aging is yet another benefit of taking creatine supplements if you don't work out.
Creatine may boost your brain performance and memory
Suppose you want to be productive and energized even during your hardest workdays. In that case, it's crucial to maintain your physical and cognitive abilities. And creatine will come in handy to manage such a complex task.
Belgium researchers conveyed a survey to check if creatine supplements could improve the cognitive function of healthy individuals. Participants had to undergo a mentally tiring task for an hour and a half. Researchers divided them into two separate groups: the first took seven days of creatine supplements, and the other took placebos.
Following this, the participants had to encounter a sports-type task for seven minutes, known as a visuomotor. They had to undergo an endurance task, testing their grip strength and a three-minute flanker task before and after the other functions. The study results showed that those who took the creatine supplements had improved physical strength and endurance and prolonged cognitive performance.
Take creatine supplements to sleep better, enhance your mood and boost your physical capabilities. The Centre for Sports Science clinical trial concluded that creatine supplementation positively affects our mood and manages tasks that cause heavy stress.
A systematic review made by Hellenic Airforce General Hospital looked at six randomized controlled trials to examine the cognitive effects of taking creatine supplements orally. The overall findings showed that creatine supplements could improve our memory and intelligence tasks.Two essential findings from the review are that oral creatine administration didn't affect young adults and showed a better response in vegetarians.
The survey suggests that older adults need more energy to perform cognitive tasks and that vegetarians don't get the creatine from meat products. As you see, creatine supplements may enhance your cognitive performance on and off the sports field, whether it is to improve your memory or IQ, helping you perform working tasks, or making you more productive and creative.
Creatine may help with sperm capacitation
An unexpected but still valuable benefit of taking creatine supplements is that it can enhance sperm capacitation in the male body. The paper published in Oxford Academic Human Reproduction studied how creatine could improve in vitro fertilization (IVF) of sperms and enhance their capacitation in hormonally primed mice.The study included the exploration of such issues:
- a sperm analysis
- physiological changes to sperm
- the result of sperm acrosomes.
The findings showed that adding creatine to the diet enhanced sperm capacitation. Although the successful trial in mice, with further investigation and future clinical trials on humans, creatine can revolutionize assisted reproductive technologies.It turns out creatine has a way more substantial meaning for our bodies than just an energy-boosting supplement for workouts. Scientists should study its ability to enhance sperm capacitation further. Still, we can already say creatine supplement benefits are auspicious concerning fertility.
How to take creatine supplements?
If you want to start taking creatine, make sure you know how much you should take. The regular recommended dosage is 3-5 grams of creatine per day for basic health benefits and up to 20 grams when growing muscle mass. You can find creatine in a form of energy bars and sports drinks ingredients, as well as in capsule or tablet form. Vegetarians may have lower stores of intramuscular creatine and may need to supplement their diet to see better gains. That said, it may be harder for them to put on muscle in the long term.
What should you take along with creatine? It's important to know that you need a large amount of water. With 3 grams of creatine monohydrate as the standard, consume at least one cup of water for the supplement to dissolve. Athletes should take it right before the workout, while other people may take it anytime through the day.Though, if you want to experience all the benefits of creatine on your energy and brain performance, try taking it in the morning after a meal. That way, you may live through your day with more power for everything planned!
Side effects of taking creatine supplements
Now that you have seen how beneficial creatine can be for our bodies aside from workouts, be careful not to overindulge. Creatine supplement has proved itself for its wholesome functions. However, there are still ongoing trials and studies to gather additional evidence on its advantages and disadvantages.
So far, all studies show that creatine supplements have more positive results than negative ones. Still, in a few cases, they may cause side effects. However, every individual could have a different reaction to any supplements, and creatine is no exception. Some subjects who have taken creatine supplements have reported adverse effects like the ones mentioned below:
- difficult breathing
- kidney problems
- stomach upset.
Creatine supplements have proved to be more helpful than harmful for our health. But suppose you experience any of the side effects mentioned. In that case, you should stop using them and visit your doctor for a thorough analysis.
Creatine is one of the most widespread sports supplements with benefits that athletes and individuals who don't work out could enjoy. Its usefulness has now crossed beyond sports — creatine serves as an antioxidant, an anti-aging remedy, and even the fertility booster for males. Plus, it may help you perform better at work by boosting your cognitive productivity and improving memory strength.
However, all creatine supplements may not produce the same effect across individuals. Just try adding creatine supplements in your life today and notice long-lasting health and well-being improvements. And don't forget to stay tuned for more insights on health and productivity!
- Neuroprotective Effects of Creatine and Cyclocreatine in Animal Models of Huntington's Disease (1998)
- Direct Antioxidant Properties of Creatine (2002)
- Creatine Supplementation Supports the Rehabilitation of Adolescent Fin Swimmers in Tendon Overuse Injury Cases (2018)
- Differential Effect of Creatine on Oxidatively-Injured Mitochondrial and Nuclear DNA (2008)
- Oral Creatine Supplementation Facilitates the Rehabilitation of Disuse Atrophy and Alters the Expression of Muscle Myogenic Factors in Humans (2001)
- Dermal Penetration of Creatine From a Face-care Formulation Containing Creatine, Guarana and Glycerol is Linked to Effective Antiwrinkle and Antisagging Efficacy in Male Subjects (2011)
- Can Creatine Combat the Mental Fatigue-associated Decrease in Visuomotor Skills? (2020)
- Effect of Creatine Supplementation and Sleep Deprivation, With Mild Exercise, on Cognitive and Psychomotor Performance, Mood State, and Plasma Concentrations of Catecholamines and Cortisol (2006)
- Creatine Enhances the Duration of Sperm Capacitation: a Novel Factor for Improving In Vitro Fertilization With Small Numbers of Sperm (2018)