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About Creatine

Creatine in the human body

Creatine naturally occurs in the body and is present in every human cell.
Due to its essential role in storing and transporting energy in EVERY cell (muscles, brain, heart and immune cells), creatine is vital for humans. Half of the required creatine is produced by the body itself; the rest has to be obtained from food (animal-based products or supplements).

Facts

Positive effects on muscle strength

The role of creatine is well studied in the muscle metabolism with positive effects in various sport disciplines, in fitness activities and in healthy ageing. The effects areapproved by EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) with specific health claims.

Studies give strong evidence that a sufficiently high creatine storage

  • increases the performance and the endurance of muscles and the brain,
  • is beneficial for the bone metabolism,
  • strengthens the muscular system,
  • improves fitness (healthy aging).

Creatine is important for the energy metabolism of every single cell.


Casey et al., Am J Clin Nutr. 2000, 72(2): 607S ‐ 617S
Balestrino et al., Med Res Rev. 2019, 39(6): 2427 - 2459 (EC) No 2017/672 of 07/04/2017

Positive benefits

Application potential of creatine in health markets

Over the last decades, the potential of creatine supplementation on health-related conditions has been investigated, with positive benefits on:

  • Rehabilitation and recovery from disease,
  • Cognitive function,
  • Glucose metabolism (diabetes),
  • Sarcopenia
  • Osteoporosis
  • Cardiovascular health,
  • Supporting the immune system.

Creatine as game changer for vitality, well-being by supporting the energy metabolism.

Kreider et al., Nutrients 2021, 13, 447

Studies

At a glance

Studies showing positive effects of creatine during rehabilitation and recovery from diseases

Metabolic stress due to injury and illness is combined with a high energy demand and substrate mobilization not only during acute phase but also during and for recovery.

For preventing massive LBM (lean body mass) and for faster recovery, the body should be supported by an additional supplementation of nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals and creatine, and an increased protein supply.

Moreover, various studies show benefits for patients during rehabilitation due to an improved rebuilding of muscle mass and strength in combination with resistance training. Before operations and during longer stay in hospital, creatine supplementation can shorten the rehabilitation time.

During recovery, the supplementation of high-quality creatine supports the energy metabolism. Thus, counteract the loss of muscle mass.

 

Wischmeyer, Critical Care 2017, 21(Suppl 3):316
Kreider et al., J IntSports Nutr2017; 14: 18
Wallimann, Schweiz Ztschr Ernährungsmed 05/2008: 29-40
Fuld et al., Thorax 2005, 60, 531–537

Studies showing that creatine is beneficial for cognitive performance

The creatine-kinase system does not only play an important role within the energy metabolism of muscle cells. Creatine also influences also  brain cells and the function of the central nervous system. This becomes also clear by people suffering from creatine deficiency syndromes, who show severe neurological disorders.

Therefore, it is suggested that creatine supplementation is also beneficial for cognitive function in healthy persons.

 

Rae et al., Proc Biol Sci. 2003 Oct 22; 270(1529):2147-50
McMorris et al., Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn. 2007 Sep;14(5):517-28
Rawson et al., Amino Acids. 2011 May;40(5):1349-62
Gualano et al., Amino Acids. 2016 Aug;48(8):1793-805
Avgerinos et al., Exp. Gerontol. 2018, 108, 166–173

Studies demonstrating a positive effect of creatine supplementation on glucose metabolism

As creatine uptake into cells is influenced by glucose and insulin, it could be suggested that creatine supplementation impacts glucose uptake and insulin sensitivity. Some studies  show that creatine supplementation in combination with exercise training has beneficial effects on glucose metabolism.

Pinto et al., Amino Acids 2016, 48, 2103–2129

Studies pointing out a positive effect on improving muscle strength (sarcopenia) in aging population

Life expectancy is increasing, but healthy life years do not in the same manner. The health of the elderly can be improved by physical activity. Studies have shown that taking creatine with moderate strength training is beneficial for muscle maintenance as one grows older. This has been approved by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) with a health claims that confirms that “the daily intake of creatine can increase the effect of strength training on the muscular strength of adults over 55 years of age.”

Above all, there is strong evidence that creatine supplementation in combination with resistance training can serve as an effective prevention of sarcopenia.

The consumption of creatine in combination with resistance training improves muscle strength of adults over the age of 55 and could be an effective method in the prevention of sarcopenia.

EFSA Journal 2016; 14: 4400
Dolan et al., Biomolecules 2019, 9, 642
Riesberg et al., Int. Immunopharmacol. 2016, 37, 31–42
Candow et al., Front. Nutr. 2019, 6, 124,
Chilibec et al., Open Access J. Sports Med. 2017, 8, 213–226

Studies indicate that creatine supplementation may have a positive effect on counteracting osteoporosis

Creatine might be especially beneficial for the elderly with a predisposition of osteoporosis. In a human study, creatine supplementation combined with strength training attenuated bone loss in older men.

Moreover, a study in 2015 found that creatine supplementation in combination with resistance training increased strength and bone density in postmenopausal women.

 

Candow et al., Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 2008, 40, 1645–1652
Louis et al., Muscle Nerve 2004, 34: 604-610
Chilibeck et al., J Nutr Health Aging 2005, 352-353
Chilibeck et al., Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 2015, 47, 1587–1595
Stares et al., J. Geriatr. Phys. Ther. 2020, 43, 99–112
Candow et al. J. Clin. Med. 2019, 8, 488

Studies with good prospects on cardiovascular healt

Creatine plays a central role in storing and transporting energy. Especially tissues with high energy demand need creatine. So, creatine is important for the  heart metabolism. Some studies point out that creatine supplementation takes part on decreasing homocysteine in the body and thereby reducing the risk of heart disease.

While more research is needed, current evidence suggests that creatine supplementation supports heart metabolism and health, particularly during ischemic events.

Besides, several studies have shown benefits of oral creatine supplementation in heart failure patients and positive effects on vascular reactivity.

 

Zervou et al., Mini Rev. Med. Chem. 2016,16, 19–28
Balestrino et al., Biomolecules 2019, 9, 496
Van Bavel et al., Fundam. Clin. Pharmacol. 2019, 33, 428–440
Clarke et al., Nutrients 2020, 12, 2834
Gordon et al., Cardiovasc. Res. 1995, 30, 413–418
Andrews et al., Eur. Heart J. 1998, 19, 617–622
Kuethe et al., Pharmazie 2006, 61, 218–222

Supporting the immune system: Studies show benefits of creatine supplementation

Creatine supplementation has been reported to serve as an antioxidant. Besides, some in vitro and animal studies indicate that creatine has immunomodulatory effects.

Although additional research is needed, there is strong evedince that creatine supplementation may have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating effects.

Riesberg et al., Int. Immunopharmacol. 2016, 37, 31–42
Lawler et al., Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 2002, 290, 47–52
Rahimi et al., J. Res. Med. Sci. 2015, 20, 733–738
Deminice et al., Redox Rep. 2016 Jan;21(1):31-36.

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