The science behind creatine for muscle growth
The amount of science backing creatine for muscle growth is profound. In this blog post, we look at what creatine is, how it works, and the science behind it.
Creatine is a substance that our body produces naturally to provide energy during high-intensity physical activities. It’s found in skeletal muscle and is made up of three amino acids – arginine, glycine, and methionine. However, the body’s natural production of creatine is limited, which is why some people take creatine supplements to increase their levels.
Creatine supplements have become very popular among athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness enthusiasts because they are believed to increase muscle growth and improve athletic performance. They come in different forms such as powders, capsules, and liquids, and can be found in most supplement stores.
How does creatine work?
So how do creatine supplements work? Creatine increases the amount of creatine phosphate (CP) in muscle cells, which acts as a high-energy phosphate bond that provides energy for muscle contraction during exercise. Creatine supplements increase the amount of CP in muscle cells, resulting in increased energy availability during exercise.
In addition to increasing CP levels, creatine supplements also stimulate muscle protein synthesis. This is the process by which new muscle tissue is produced. Creatine supplementation increases the expression of key regulatory proteins involved in muscle growth, which activate the cellular machinery necessary for muscle hypertrophy.
Research on creatine for muscle growth
Several studies have looked at the effects of creatine supplements on muscle growth in both trained and untrained individuals. A meta-analysis of 22 randomized controlled trials found that creatine supplementation increased muscle mass by an average of 2.2 kg (4.8 lbs) compared to placebo. The greatest gains in muscle mass were seen in individuals engaged in resistance training.
In summary, creatine supplements increase muscle growth through several mechanisms of action. By increasing CP levels in muscle cells, creatine enhances energy availability during high-intensity exercise. Additionally, creatine supplements stimulate muscle protein synthesis and activate muscle cell signaling pathways involved in muscle hypertrophy. The scientific evidence supports the use of creatine supplementation as an effective strategy for increasing muscle growth, whether you are trained or untrained.
Creatine supplements are generally considered safe, but as with any supplement, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider before starting to take them. Some people may experience side effects such as stomach upset or muscle cramps, but these are usually mild and can be managed by adjusting the dosage or stopping the supplement.
It’s also important to note that while creatine supplements can help increase the growth of muscles, they are not magic pills. They should be used in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise to achieve the best results.
See the article originally published in Sports and Fitness Digest.