What are the benefits and considerations of creatine supplementation?


Creatine supplementation offers several potential benefits across different aspects of health, including physical performance, cognitive function, and mental health:

  1. Physical Performance: Creatine is known to increase power output and muscle strength, which is beneficial for both resistance and endurance training. It is also useful for muscle recovery and reducing fatigue after strenuous physical activity 1.

  2. Cognitive Function: Creatine can support cognitive processes by serving as a fuel source for neurons in the brain. It might contribute to better cognitive function, although the specifics are not perfectly understood 1.

  3. Mental Health: Supplementation with creatine has shown promise in the treatment of mood disorders, including depression. Increases in the phosphocreatine system in the forebrain, which are correlated with mood improvements, have been observed in response to creatine supplementation. Studies have suggested that it can augment the effectiveness of SSRIs, particularly in women with major depressive disorder 2.

  4. Other Conditions: Creatine has shown potential benefits for people suffering from headaches and dizziness due to traumatic brain injury (TBI), with higher dosages than typically used for sports performance proving effective in reducing these symptoms 3.

    Creatine Benefits

    Andrew discusses the benefits of creatine, including increased power output and reduced fatigue. He also explains how to properly dose creatine based on body weight and emphasizes the importance of hydration and electrolytes.

    Huberman Lab

    Science of Muscle Growth, Increasing Strength & Muscular Recovery | Huberman Lab Podcast #22

In terms of considerations:

  • Though generally considered safe, there have been debates about the long-term impact of high-dose creatine supplementation on the kidneys. Low-dose supplementation (e.g., 1-5 grams per day) is well accepted for most people. Still, individuals with existing kidney issues need to exercise caution 4.
  • In a discussion about hair loss and creatine, there's a mention of 5 grams per day being generally beneficial and clinically supported for cognitive effects as well as exercise 5.

It's essential for anyone considering creatine supplementation, especially at high doses or for medical issues like depression or TBI, to consult with a healthcare professional. This is crucial to ensure safety and tailor the supplementation to individual health requirements and existing conditions.