Creatine Monohydrate is one of the most commonly researched and used supplements on the market. Creatine is one of the ingredients that has a low cost and high benefits, which makes it commonly used by both beginners and experts in the athletic community. Creatine supplementation can help increase performance output for short duration, high intensity exercise (1). Creatine loading can be performed to reach a muscle saturation level more quickly, but over a long period of creatine use, this isn’t necessary. Creatine supplementation is unlikely to provide adverse side effects, but on occasion there may be gastrointestinal stress at higher doses. When tested at 2 weeks and 8 weeks of strength training, athletes that took creatine monohydrate had significantly better strength gains than the placebo group.
When To Take Creatine Monohydrate
While there are some variances in when to take creatine, the general consensus is that post workout consumption will have the greatest effect on lean muscle mass and strength (3). Since creatine works over time by saturating the muscle cells, it’s best to consume creatine daily, even on the days where athletes are not training.
Other Creatine Monohydrate Uses
In more recent days, creatine has been studied for other clinical benefits, one of which is depression. In women with Major Depressive Disorder who were treated with creatine showed increases in prefrontal N-acetylaspartate levels (4). Another study showed that creatine use increased working memory and intelligence due to the increase in processing speed (5).
(1) Hall M, Trojian TH. Creatine supplementation. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2013 Jul-Aug;12(4):240-4. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e31829cdff2. PMID: 23851411.
(2) Kaviani M, Abassi A, Chilibeck PD. Creatine monohydrate supplementation during eight weeks of progressive resistance training increases strength in as little as two weeks without reducing markers of muscle damage. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2019 Apr;59(4):608-612. doi: 10.23736/S0022-4707.18.08406-2. Epub 2018 May 2. PMID: 29722252.
(3)Antonio J, Ciccone V. The effects of pre versus post workout supplementation of creatine monohydrate on body composition and strength. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013 Aug 6;10:36. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-10-36. PMID: 23919405; PMCID: PMC3750511.
(4) Yoon S, Kim JE, Hwang J, Kim TS, Kang HJ, Namgung E, Ban S, Oh S, Yang J, Renshaw PF, Lyoo IK. Effects of Creatine Monohydrate Augmentation on Brain Metabolic and Network Outcome Measures in Women With Major Depressive Disorder. Biol Psychiatry. 2016 Sep 15;80(6):439-447. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.11.027. Epub 2015 Dec 15. PMID: 26822799.
(5) Rae C, Digney AL, McEwan SR, Bates TC. Oral creatine monohydrate supplementation improves brain performance: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial. Proc Biol Sci. 2003 Oct 22;270(1529):2147-50. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2003.2492. PMID: 14561278; PMCID: PMC1691485.