The Ultimate Guide to the Benefits of Creatine Supplements

The Ultimate Guide to the Benefits of Creatine Supplements

Considered one of the classics of the supplement industry, creatine is still one of the best ways to support fitness goals of muscle mass, strength, and endurance. It’s also great for muscle recovery.

But with so many types of creatine supplements out there, it's hard to know which one to pick. Don't worry, we've got your back with our ultimate guide to creatine supplements.

We’ll give you the lowdown on everything you need to know about creatine supplements, including the following:

  • How creatine works
  • Mind-blowing benefits of creatine
  • Different types of creatine
  • Optimal creatine dosage
  • Potential side effects

By the end of this article, you'll be a creatine expert, ready to take on the world (or at least the weight room) and crush your fitness goals. So, let's jump into it!


What is Creatine?

Before we get to the good stuff, we need to run through the usual science talk. Creatine is a natural compound that's found in our bodies, specifically in our muscle tissue.

It's an essential component of the ATP-PC system, which is an energy system. It’s specifically responsible for providing energy to our muscles during short bursts of high-intensity exercise like weightlifting and sprinting.


How Does Creatine Work?

Creatine plays a critical role in the ATP-PC system. Here’s how:

When the body is tapping into the ATP-PC system, it is using stored ATP (adenosine triphosphate) to fuel muscle contractions. Here’s the catch: The body's stores of ATP are limited, and they become depleted quickly during intense exercise.

To maintain ATP levels, the body can use creatine phosphate (CP) as a backup source of energy. When ATP is used up, CP donates a phosphate group to ADP (adenosine diphosphate), creating ATP once again. This process is called phosphorylation.

Now, this is where creatine supplements can help. Creatine is broken down and it helps to replenish ATP levels through phosphorylation. This means the body gets the energy it needs, and it can continue performing high-intensity exercise, such as weightlifting, sprinting, and jumping, for longer periods.

As we’ll discuss more below, this is why creatine supplementation has been shown to improve athletic performance in high-intensity, short-duration activities.


Sources of Creatine

While creatine is naturally produced by our bodies, we can also get it from certain foods like red meat and fish.

However, the amount of creatine we get from food is relatively small compared to the amount found in supplements.

That's why many athletes and gym goers turn to creatine supplements to help them achieve their performance goals.


Types of Creatine Supplements

There are several types of creatine supplements on the market, each with its own unique benefits and drawbacks.


Creatine Monohydrate

The most common, affordable, and easiest-to-find, creatine monohydrate is widely studied and has been shown to be effective in improving performance, muscle growth, and sports recovery.


Creatine Ethyl Ester

Another type of creatine supplement is creatine ethyl ester. This type of creatine is thought to have better absorption rates than creatine monohydrate, meaning that it may be more effective in smaller doses. With that said, creatine ethyl ester is usually more expensive.


Buffered Creatine

Buffered creatine is a newer type of creatine supplement that's designed to be more pH-neutral than other types of creatine. This means that it may be easier on the stomach and less likely to cause digestive issues. However, there is limited research on the effectiveness of buffered creatine compared to other types of creatine supplements.


Which Type of Creatine is Right for You?

When it comes to choosing the right type of creatine supplement for you, it's important to consider your individual needs and goals.

Creatine monohydrate is a tried-and-true option that's effective and affordable, while creatine ethyl ester may be more suitable for those who have trouble absorbing monohydrate. Buffered creatine is a newer option that may be worth exploring for those who are particularly sensitive to digestive issues.


Benefits of Creatine Supplements 

Let's now take a closer look at the benefits of creatine supplements.


Increased Muscle Mass

Creatine supplements can help increase muscle mass in a few ways: First, you’ll have more energy to complete more sets and reps. A higher total volume is going to be the foundation for building muscle. More work, more muscle. Second, creatine supports muscle recovery, the process where muscle fibers are repaired, becoming bigger and stronger than before. Finally, creatine might increase levels of certain muscle building processes like protein synthesis and compounds like IGF-1. [1] [2] [3] [4]


Improved Strength and Power

Creatine supplements can improve strength and power by increasing the amount of energy available to our muscles during exercise. This can lead to greater performance gains in weightlifting, sprinting, and other high-intensity activities. [5]


Enhanced Endurance

Creatine supplements can also enhance endurance by improving the ability of our muscles to generate energy during prolonged exercise. This can lead to greater endurance gains in activities like distance running, cycling, and swimming. [2] [4] [5]


Creatine and Sports Performance

If there’s one supplement that has been studied like mad, it’s creatine. In particular, researchers have been interested for decades on the impact that creatine has on athletic performance. Here's what we know so far:


Strength Training

Creatine supplements have been shown to improve strength and power in strength training exercises, such as weightlifting and powerlifting.



Creatine supplements have also been shown to improve sprinting performance by increasing the amount of energy available to our muscles during short bursts of high-intensity activity.


Endurance Sports

While creatine is typically associated with strength and power sports, research has also investigated its effects on endurance sports. Some studies have shown that creatine supplements can improve endurance performance by increasing the amount of energy available to our muscles during prolonged exercise.


Cognitive Performance

Some of you might be wondering what brain power has to do with sports and performance. Think about it. No matter what sports you’re training for or performing in, your brain is hard at work having to memorize specific plays, movements, and instructions. What’s more, once you’re on the field, track, or court, you need to recall those things you learned while staying motivated and aware of your surroundings.

In other words, your brain plays a huge part in your performance. And the studies back this up. Creatine has been shown in several studies to improve cognitive performance, especially working memory.

Creatine is involved in the energy metabolism of brain cells, which means that supplementing with creatine can help improve brain function, especially during mentally demanding tasks. Plus, creatine has been linked to improved memory and cognitive processing. [6]


Myths and Misconceptions about Creatine

There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding creatine supplements that can cause confusion and misinformation. Let's take a closer look at some of these myths and clarify the facts about creatine:


Myth: Creatine Causes Water Retention

Fact: While it's true that creatine supplements can cause an increase in water weight due to increased muscle hydration, this is not the same as water retention, which is a medical condition that causes excess fluid buildup in the body. The water weight gain from creatine supplements is typically temporary and not harmful.


Myth: Creatine is a Steroid (Banned Substance)

Fact: Creatine is not a steroid. It's a natural compound that's produced by our bodies and found in certain foods. Creatine supplements are legal and widely available. Most importantly, they are NOT classified as steroids by any major sports organizations.


Myth: Creatine Only Works for Bodybuilders

Fact: Creatine supplements can benefit anyone who wants to improve their athletic performance, regardless of their fitness level or sport. While bodybuilders may be some of the most well-known users of creatine supplements, research has shown that creatine supplements can benefit athletes in a wide range of sports, from sprinting to endurance events.


Myth: Creatine is Not Safe for Teenagers

Fact: Creatine supplements are generally safe and well-tolerated for most people, including teenagers. Studies have shown that creatine supplements can be beneficial for young athletes in improving their athletic performance, as long as they follow the recommended dosage and guidelines. However, it's important for teenagers to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplement regimen.


Myth: Creatine Causes Kidney Damage

Fact: There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that creatine supplements cause kidney damage. While high doses of creatine supplements may increase the workload on the kidneys, this is not harmful to healthy individuals. Studies have shown that creatine supplements are safe and well-tolerated when used as directed.


Myth: Women Can't Take Creatine

Fact: Creatine supplements can be beneficial for both men and women who want to improve their athletic performance. While some people believe that creatine is only for men or can cause masculine side effects in women, there is no evidence to support these claims. Women can safely take creatine supplements and experience the same benefits as men.


How to Take Creatine Supplements

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to take creatine supplements:


Step 1: Choose the Right Type of Creatine Supplement

As we discussed earlier, there are different types of creatine supplements available, such as creatine monohydrate, creatine ethyl ester, and buffered creatine. Choose the type that suits your needs and goals best.


Step 2: Determine Your Dosage

So, how much creatine should you take each day? The maintenance dose – normally suggested dose – is five grams per day, taken either before or after your workout. However, dosages can vary depending on whether or not you are performing a loading phase.

If you’re new to creatine, we recommend sticking with the five grams (one serving) per day to see how well you tolerate it.


Step 3: Mix the Creatine Powder

Mix the creatine powder with water or another beverage. You can also mix it with a post-workout protein shake for added convenience.


Step 4: Take Creatine on a Regular Basis

Consistency is key when taking creatine supplements. Take it on a regular basis, either before or after your workout, to ensure optimal results.


Step 5: Stay Hydrated

Since creatine supplements can increase muscle hydration, it's important to stay hydrated throughout the day. Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary or caffeinated beverages that can dehydrate you.


Optimal Dosage for Creatine: Is a Loading Phase Necessary?

One question that often arises when discussing creatine supplements is whether a loading phase is necessary for optimal results.

While a loading phase can help saturate the muscles with creatine faster, it's not necessary for everyone.

A loading phase involves taking 20-to-25 grams of creatine per day for the first seven days. After the first week of loading, the maintenance dose of five grams is followed. Creatine loading can help increase the amount of creatine in the muscles more quickly, leading to faster results.

However, for some people, a loading phase can cause digestive discomfort. In these cases, it's perfectly fine to skip the loading phase and start with the maintenance dosage of five grams per day. You will still see the benefits of creatine supplements, but it may take a bit longer to saturate the muscles.


Potential Side Effects of Creatine Supplements

While creatine supplements are generally safe and well-tolerated, there are potential side effects to be aware of.

Some of the reasons why side effects may occur include taking an improper dosage, inadequate hydration, and individual differences in metabolism.

The most common side effects of creatine supplements include the following:

  • Upset stomach
  • Cramping
  • Dehydration

These side effects are typically mild and can be managed by adjusting the dosage, staying hydrated, and monitoring any changes in health status.


Creatine Supplement FAQs

Here are the most commonly asked questions about creatine supplements:


Can Creatine Supplements Cause Kidney Damage?

When it comes to creatine supplements, there's been a lot of gossip about kidney damage. But let's set the record straight: there's no scientific proof to back up this claim. In reality, while high doses of creatine supplements may cause extra work for your kidneys, it's typically not an issue for healthy individuals.

Multiple studies have confirmed that creatine supplements are safe and well-tolerated when used correctly. So don't let these rumors scare you away from unlocking the amazing benefits of creatine!


Is Creatine Safe for Women to Take?

Ladies, listen up! If you're looking to enhance your athletic performance, creatine supplements are your new best friend. Despite what some folks might say, creatine is not just for the bros. Ladies can take creatine supplements safely and experience the same perks as men. There's no evidence to back up the myth that creatine will turn you into the Hulk or cause any other masculine side effects. So go ahead and add creatine to your supplement regimen and crush your fitness goals like the boss you are!


Can I Take Creatine Supplements If I Am Vegan?

Hey there, veggie lovers! Good news: you can still enjoy the benefits of creatine supplements without sacrificing your plant-based lifestyle.

In particular, one study said, “It should be noted that although creatine is found mostly in animal products, the creatine in most supplements is synthesized from sarcosine and cyanamide, does not contain any animal by-products, and is therefore ‘vegan-friendly.’” [7]


Can I Stack Creatine with Other Supplements?

Do you want to take your supplement game to the next level? Creatine supplements can definitely be stacked with other supplements, like protein powder or amino acids, for even greater benefits.

Just be sure to check in with your healthcare professional before mixing and matching to ensure the utmost safety and effectiveness. Let's get creative with our supplements and achieve our fitness goals, while staying smart and responsible.


Can Creatine Supplements Help with Weight Loss?

While creatine supplements are not directly associated with weight loss, they can indirectly help with weight loss by increasing muscle mass and improving exercise performance.

When you have more lean muscle mass, your body burns more calories at rest, which can help with weight loss.

Additionally, creatine supplements can improve exercise performance, allowing you to burn more calories during your workouts.

However, it's important to note that creatine supplements alone are not a weight loss solution and should be used in combination with a healthy diet and exercise regimen.


Is Creatine Safe to Take for Teenagers?

Hey teens, let's talk creatines! Don't believe the gossip – there's absolutely no evidence to suggest that creatine is dangerous for you. That being said, it's always a smart move to consult with a healthcare professional before jumping into any supplement routine. Your health and safety come first, so let's make sure we're taking the best steps for our unique needs and goals.


Can Creatine Cause Hair Loss?

We’re not sure where this one came from! There is no scientific evidence to suggest that creatine supplements cause hair loss. While some people may experience hair loss while taking creatine supplements, this is likely due to other factors, such as genetics or hormonal imbalances, and not directly related to the creatine supplement.

For example, if a man is producing more dihydrotestosterone, better known as DHT, he’s more likely to see hair thinning. DHT, while super anabolic, is also thought to be the leading culprit in hair loss.


Is it Necessary to Cycle On and Off Creatine Supplements to Maintain Their Benefits?

There is no consensus on whether it's necessary to cycle on and off creatine supplements to maintain their benefits. Some people may choose to cycle on and off creatine supplements to prevent their body from becoming desensitized to the supplement, while others may take creatine supplements continuously without any negative effects.

Ultimately, the decision to cycle on and off creatine supplements should be based on individual preference and consultation with a healthcare professional.


Graduate from Creatine Academy

Creatine supplements are a great way to enhance your athletic performance and muscle growth. By following the recommended dosage and guidelines, you can safely enjoy the benefits of creatine supplementation.

If you're interested in trying a high-quality creatine supplement, we recommend checking out Oath Nutrition's newest creatine supplement. It's made with pure creatine monohydrate and has been rigorously tested for quality and effectiveness. As always, it's important to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any supplement regimen to ensure it's safe for you.





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  3. Burke DG, Candow DG, Chilibeck PD, MacNeil LG, Roy BD, Tarnopolsky MA, Ziegenfuss T. Effect of creatine supplementation and resistance-exercise training on muscle insulin-like growth factor in young adults. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2008 Aug;18(4):389-98. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.18.4.389. PMID: 18708688.
  4. Wu SH, Chen KL, Hsu C, Chen HC, Chen JY, Yu SY, Shiu YJ. Creatine Supplementation for Muscle Growth: A Scoping Review of Randomized Clinical Trials from 2012 to 2021. Nutrients. 2022 Mar 16;14(6):1255. doi: 10.3390/nu14061255. PMID: 35334912; PMCID: PMC8949037.
  5. Earnest CP, Snell PG, Rodriguez R, Almada AL, Mitchell TL. The effect of creatine monohydrate ingestion on anaerobic power indices, muscular strength and body composition. Acta Physiol Scand. 1995 Feb;153(2):207-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-1716.1995.tb09854.x. PMID: 7778463.
  6. Avgerinos KI, Spyrou N, Bougioukas KI, Kapogiannis D. Effects of creatine supplementation on cognitive function of healthy individuals: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Exp Gerontol. 2018 Jul 15;108:166-173. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2018.04.013. Epub 2018 Apr 25. PMID: 29704637; PMCID: PMC6093191.
  7. Kaviani M, Shaw K, Chilibeck PD. Benefits of Creatine Supplementation for Vegetarians Compared to Omnivorous Athletes: A Systematic Review. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Apr 27;17(9):3041. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17093041. PMID: 32349356; PMCID: PMC7246861.

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