Get Numerous Benefits From Creatine: Increase Strength, Boost Cognition & Improve Performance

Get Numerous Benefits From Creatine: Increase Strength, Boost Cognition & Improve Performance

If you were to ask what is my favorite sports nutrition supplement, the answer would be creatine. Of course, there are a number of foundation nutrients that everyone should be getting—magnesium, vitamin D, B vitamins, fish oil—but when it comes to boosting your activity level, improving body composition, or just getting more from your workouts, creatine is the way to go.

Creatine is a type of protein that is found in animal products and it serves as a short-term energy source to power physical activity, especially strenuous bouts of effort. The body can manufacture small amounts of creatine, however, research shows that vegetarians are commonly deficient and can benefit enormously from supplementing.

Another population that can benefit from creatine supplementation is anyone over age 40. As we age, we naturally lose muscle, strength and bone, leading to a drop in metabolic rate. We also tend to be less active, exacerbating both the loss of lean tissue and our slowing metabolisms. Getting a little extra creatine can prevent this in the following ways:

Creatine preserves muscle in strength in older adults in the absence of an exercise program.

Combined with strength training, creatine supplementation significantly improves muscle, bone, and fat loss results in trainees all across the age spectrum.

Creatine helps maintain bone strength and avoid osteoporosis by preserving muscle and reducing fatigue so that people stay active as they age.

Creatine supplementation has a range of health benefits including protecting the heart and lowering Type 2 diabetes risk.

It reduces risk of neurodegenerative disorders (Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s) and because creatine serves as an energy source for the brain, getting extra may increase brain capacity and memory.

One of the best things about creatine is that it reduces fatigue and improves performance of activities of daily living. Another way of saying it is that creatine can give you more energy. Exercise feels easier and you’ll have more get-up-and-go when doing chores around the house or running tedious errands.

Creatine pays off in workouts too: One study from Canada found that when older people took creatine in conjunction with a 10-week strength training program they increased strength by 25% more than the placebo group. They also had greater increases in muscle mass than the placebo, with vegetarians experiencing the largest benefits.

How To Use Creatine:

Creatine is available in powdered or capsule form. Either one is fine, however it’s important to buy it from a company you trust because the supplement industry is unregulated and you’d be surprised at the poor quality products out there.

Creatine is often available in formulas with other supplements. These can be okay, but always read the label to be sure you aren’t taking something you don’t want or need. I like straight creatine best, and take 2 to 5 grams a day to maintain muscle levels of creatine and give my brain a lift.

In the past it was thought that it was necessary to load creatine (take a large dose for a few weeks followed by a maintenance dose), but more recent research shows this is not necessary. Better to just take a low dose every day and not worry about it.


Candow, D., et al. Low-dose creatine combined with protein during resistance training in older men. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2008. 40(9):1645-52.

Rawson, E., Venezia, A. Use of creatine in the elderly and evidence for effects on cognitive function in young and old. Amino Acids. 2011. 40(5):1349-62.