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Sports Nutritionist Explains The Benefits Of Using Creatine As A Supplement

mix of fitness supplements

It can seem as though there is a wealth of knowledge out there on the correct supplements to be taking to boost your energy levels or results of your exercise however, this can also come with misconceptions and rumours.  

I spoke to Abi Roberts, at, who helped clear up the confusion surrounding energy-boosting supplements and exercise results. There’s a lot of information out there, but also plenty of misconceptions and rumours.

What is creatine?

Creatine is one of the most trusted and widely researched sports supplements in the world. It is essentially a nitrogenous organic acid made out of three amino acids: L-arginine, glycine, and L-methionine.

While our body produces some of its own, it also comes from protein-rich foods such as meat and fish. Creatine supplements are popularly taken by bodybuilders, powerlifters, and athletes for its main purpose of providing immediate energy for the muscles.

What are the benefits of creatine?

Creatine is beneficial for athletes, sportspeople, and bodybuilders for the primary reason of increasing their ability to produce energy.

While we can produce it naturally and obtain it from food, supplementation is required in order to optimally increase creatine stores in the muscle and reap the performance-enhancing benefits.

To fully understand the benefits of creatine, we must first understand how our body produces energy. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is a molecule that carries energy within cells – often referred to as the “energy currency” of our cells. This is our main source of fuel for high-intensity activity and explosive movements.

We only have a limited supply of this fuel, so creatine is the substance that is involved in the re-synthesis of ATP, providing us with a more constant supply. 

In summary, creatine supplementation increases the stores of creatine in the muscles, which accelerates the recycling of ATP, allowing us to have access to more fuel for high-intensity exercise.

Having this increased supply of energy allows us to maximise our high-intensity energy output, potentially leading to greater training adaptations, particularly in the form of strength, power, and muscle mass.

Are there side effects to creatine?

Long-term studies suggest that there are no negative effects associated with supplementing with creatine in healthy individuals.

While there have been side effects noted, this is largely dependent on an individual’s dosing strategy, pre-existing health conditions, and overall response to supplementing creatine.

Sport Nutritionists advise that if you are a healthy individual who follows the recommended dosage on the product, there should be minimal side effects.

There is speculation around creatine affecting water retention, but this is often only under the condition of a “loading phase”, which usually resolves itself after a few weeks, and does not affect everyone who chooses to do a loading phase. You should always consult a doctor before taking creatine if you have any pre-existing medical conditions.

What do you need to know before taking creatine?

Before considering creatine supplementation, it’s important to ensure that your nutrition and training strategies are already well-established.

To enhance your exercise performance, focus on optimising these foundational principles before turning to supplementation.

Pay attention to aspects such as proper nutrition, a well-structured training plan, sufficient sleep, adequate hydration, and effective stress management.

By addressing these fundamentals first, you can set a solid foundation for your performance improvement. Incorporating creatine can serve as an additional tool to further boost your performance, leading to more noticeable and meaningful results.

What about the specific benefits for runners?

While creatine is best known for its benefits in strength and power-based activities, its potential benefits for endurance-based activities have also been investigated.

While the overall results are fairly mixed, it does largely depend on what performance markers are being measured.

Some studies have suggested that there are potential improvements in certain aspects of performance, such as sprinting ability and other high-intensity efforts during running, but there is yet to be any conclusive evidence to support this.

How much creatine can you / should you take in a day?

It’s recommended to take 3-5g of creatine per day. Ensure you follow the dosage guidelines on the product you’re using.