Creatine 101: Everything You Need to Know

Creatine 101: Everything You Need to Know

Creatine is a naturally occurring compound that has gained immense popularity within the fitness and sports communities due to its profound impact on muscle strength, performance, and recovery. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into what creatine is, what it does, its benefits, potential side effects, and particularly its effects on men.


What is Creatine?

creatine compound


Creatine, scientifically known as creatine monohydrate, is an amino acid derivative synthesized by the liver, pancreas, and kidneys. (1) It's also found in foods like meat and fish. In the human body, creatine is primarily stored in skeletal muscle, where it has an important role in energy production, particularly during high-intensity, short-duration activities like sprinting or weight lifting. (1)


What Does Creatine Do?

creatine supplementation


Creatine's primary function is to enhance the regeneration of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the cellular currency of energy. (2) During exercise, ATP breaks down to provide energy. The rate of ATP resynthesis limits your ability to perform at maximum intensity, as you deplete these stores rapidly during strenuous exercise. Creatine helps by rapidly replenishing ATP, allowing for sustained high-energy performance and improved recovery between sets.


Creatine Health Benefits


Below, we'll discuss some of the top health benefits of creatine:


Enhanced Muscle Mass


One of the most appealing aspects of creatine for many athletes is its ability to help increase muscle volume. This occurs through several mechanisms. Creatine helps to increase the water content inside muscle cells, a phenomenon that is known as cell volumization, which plays a pivotal role in muscle growth. Additionally, creatine has been shown to boost the formation of the proteins that make new muscle fibers. (3)


Improved Strength and Performance


Numerous studies have confirmed that creatine supplementation can significantly increase strength and power output during resistance training. By enhancing ATP regeneration, creatine enables athletes to perform more repetitions and use heavier weights, compounding gains in muscle strength and size over time. (4)


Accelerated Muscle Recovery


Creatine also aids in muscle repair and recovery. Enhancing the energy supply reduces muscle cell damage and inflammation following exhaustive exercise. (5) This faster recovery enables more frequent and intensive training sessions.


Brain Health


Emerging research suggests that creatine may have benefits beyond muscle and performance; it could also support brain health. Studies indicate that creatine supplementation improves cognitive function, particularly in situations of sleep deprivation or stress. (6)


Creatine Side Effects


While creatine is generally recognized as safe for most individuals, it can have side effects, particularly when consumed in excess. Common side effects of creatine supplementation include:



  • Water Retention: Initially, creatine causes water retention in the muscles, which might lead to weight gain and a bloated feeling. This is generally temporary and subsides as the body acclimatizes to the increased creatine.
  • Digestive Issues: Some people may experience stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, and other digestive issues when they start taking creatine. These symptoms can often be mitigated by consuming creatine with food and increasing water intake.
  • Kidney Stress: There is a concern that long-term creatine supplementation could stress the kidneys, especially in those with preexisting kidney conditions. However, studies in healthy individuals have not conclusively shown detrimental kidney effects from normal creatine supplementation practices.


Creatine Side Effects in Men


Focusing on men specifically, creatine is generally well-tolerated by most. However, there have been isolated reports of increased hair loss, which is hypothesized to be due to creatine's role in increasing dihydrotestosterone (DHT), an androgen associated with male pattern baldness. (7) Nevertheless, this remains a poorly understood area with limited scientific data supporting the claim.


Some men who supplement with creatine also supplement with natural DHT blockers to mitigate the effects of increased DHT. Our Male Hormone & Prostate Support formula contains natural DHT blocking herbs which support healthy testosterone levels in men.


Who Should Use Creatine?



Creatine is suitable for anyone looking to improve their strength, performance, and muscle mass, including athletes and bodybuilders. It's also being increasingly recommended for aging populations to help maintain muscle mass and function. However, it is recommended to consult with your doctor before supplementing with creatine to ensure that it is right for you – especially if you have preexisting medical conditions or are currently taking any prescription medications.


How to Take Creatine


The most common regimen for taking creatine involves a loading phase of 20 grams of creatine per day, divided into four 5-gram servings spread throughout the day for 5–7 days. After the loading phase, a typical maintenance dose is 3–5 grams daily. It is important to stay hydrated and monitor your body's response throughout the supplementation period.




Creatine is a powerful supplement that offers numerous benefits for muscle strength, performance, and recovery. When used correctly, it is safe for most individuals, though some may experience minor side effects. As with any supplement, it's wise to consult with a healthcare provider before starting creatine, especially for those who have preexisting health conditions or concerns about potential side effects. With the right approach, creatine can be a valuable addition to a balanced training and nutrition regimen, helping athletes achieve their performance and fitness goals.




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