Should I Be Taking Creatine Supplements?

D. Nguyen 02/06/2016

To understand why or why you should not supplement creatine, you must understand which biological system you wish to affect.

Here's some boring theory (if you're impatient, scroll down to the "summary"). Creatine affects the ATP-PCr energy system and can also help to increase lean body mass by improving the body's work capacity. So what is the ATP-PCr energy system you may ask? This energy system is composed of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and PCr (phosphocreatine). It replenishes energy rapidly without the use of oxygen. When the body begins to use energy at a more rapid rate than usual (for example, with the onset of physical activity or purposeful exercise) this energy system is usually the first to kick in.

However, this system can only help out for a short time and can only provide energy for about 10 seconds. Think of sprinting as a good example of this. After about 10 seconds of all-out sprinting your body is forced to slow down because you have depleted concentrations of both ATP and PCr in the muscles. After this you will notice that you'll need to slow down quite dramatically if you hope to continue running. Creatine supplementation can help improve muscular performance by increasing the intramuscular creatine pool so more creatine (and PCr) will be available for high intensity short burst muscle contractions. Research shows that higher concentrations of intramuscular creatine are linked with improved force during maximal contraction, and improved staying power with high intensity exercise.


So should you supplement creatine? If you're about to do one of our yoga classes, probably not. Should you supplement creatine if you're about to lift some heavy weights or do some high intensity training? Sure!

  • non-essesntial supplement for regular or occasional use
  • supplemented as micronized creatine monohydrate which is easily dissolved in water
  • purpose - to help regenerate ATP during ATP-PCr dependent strength and power activity
  • supplement daily during periods of high intensity strength/power training
  • typical dosage is 5,000mg per day
  • loading doses higher than 5g daily are not necessary

Excess/toxicity symptoms

stomach cramping can occur when creatine is supplemented without sufficient water. diarrhea and nausea can occur in excessive dosages. water retention.

Related articles & references

Berardi, J., Andrews, R., (2013). The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition, 2nd ed, Precision Nutrition

Bemben MG1, Lamont HS, Creatine supplementation and exercise performance: recent findings. Sports Med. 2005;35(2):107-25.

van Loon LJ1, Oosterlaar AM, Hartgens F, Hesselink MK, Snow RJ, Wagenmakers AJ, Effects of creatine loading and prolonged creatine supplementation on body composition, fuel selection, sprint and endurance performance in humans. Clin Sci (Lond). 2003 Feb;104(2):153-62.

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