Is creatine the key to better physical and mental performance?
Creatine is a molecule that’s produced in the body from amino acids. It’s primarily made in the liver, and can be found in some foods such as meat and fish.
The primary benefit of creatine is an improvement in strength and power output during resistance exercise, and is known to increase lean mass. Several studies have been done to test for anaerobic running capacity, and while the results are fairly mixed, they generally suggest a small improvement in performance.
While research has focused on physical performance, benefits have been noted on cognitive functions as well. This includes reduction of mental fatigue in scenarios such as demanding mental activity, sleep deprivation, and traumatic brain injury. Creatine may improve working memory, however this may only be relevant to those with below-average creatine levels such as vegetarians and the elderly. Further research is required to determine its true efficacy on neurological performance.
Considering the thorough research done on the effects of creatine, it has proven very safe. Having said that, it sometimes gets a bad rep when associated with performance-enhancing drugs and excessive use may lead to gastrointestinal issues.