Creatine is mostly known as a legal performance enhancing supplement, specially used by bodybuilders. Supplementing with creatine is a good and safe way to boost your performance in the gym (with both pros and cons of creatine). But there is actually more to creatine than it´s performance enhancing qualities. While it remains one of the most well-researched substances, this is mainly from a bodybuilding perspective. Recently we have seen more and more studies done on creatine and its ability to enhance more than just our workout sessions.
I have highlighted six interesting qualities of creatine below. Here goes:
Liver longer / Anti-Aging
So the study backing this was done on mice, and it shouldn’t be necessary to say that there is no guarantee that the same effects will be seen on humans; it is, indicative, at best – but still a very interesting discovery. Basically, the study showed that creatine supplementation was linked to a lower accumulation of lipofuscin in the brains of aging mice; Lipofuscin is the name given to finely granular yellow-brown pigment granules composed of lipid-containing residues of lysosomal digestion. It is considered to be one of the aging or “wear-and-tear” pigments, found in the liver, kidney, heart muscle, retina, adrenals, nerve cells, and ganglion cells. As a result of this, creatine-fed mice lived an average of 9% longer.
It would of course be nice with some human studies on this, before relaying on creatine to prolong your life. But chances are you already take creatine every now and then to support your bodybuilding efforts, so think of this as a nice potential benefit, with very limited side-effects.
Improves brain performance
I have shared some thoughts on this before, here at widerun.com. It’s not uncommon to see creatine in nootropics, which might seem a bit odd at first, but there might just be a link between creatine supplementation and enhanced cognition.
We all know how this stuff works, as a performance enhancer from a bodybuilding perspective, but how is this thought to be useful from a brain boosting perspective? Well, with the increased production of ATP, this is also extended to the brain which is believed to cause less damage from toxins and other stressors. It allows the metabolic processes in your brain to ensure that cognitive functions operate sufficiently.
Along with improved cognition and a longer life, people have also reported creatine to work as a mood enhancer. There is also a study confirming this quality of creatine, although this was performed on Parkinson’s patients, so the link between creatine supplementation and a better mood might in normal healthy individuals might not be as apparent. There are many mixed thoughts on this, when you read about people’s personal experience. I have never personally noticed any improved mood with creatine supplementation, but that might because I never paid specific attention to it.
Cure against Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
So creatine can make us gain more muscle mass faster, make us smarter, improve our mood and maybe make us live longer. These are qualities most people would welcome from a supplement with very limited side-effects. But there is more to it than this. For the people out there suffering from PTSD, creatine supplementation might do you some good. We have seen a couple of studies on this, indicating that creatine supplementation in individuals suffering from PTSD is likely to see a quality of life improvement. If you are suffering from PTSD, why not try to give it a go with some creatine monohydrate. Maybe it wont do anything but maybe it will. With the safety of creatine supplementation, it seems like good opprtunity.
Cure against depressive symptoms
This seem to a parellel to the above mentioned qualities, as these are all, very related. There are a couple of studies on this. Paitiens who didnt respond very well to the treatment they were getting against their depressions, were given 3 .5 grams of creatine daily, for a couple of weeks. The conclusion of the study was that patients mood was improved and their depressive symptoms were alleviated.
It´s no secret that antidepressants does come with a wide range of potential adverse side-effects. Just as mentioned above, creatine supplementation seems like the best option. Maybe it wont do much good, but just maybe it will; and if that is the case, you got yourself a cheap, legal, OTC, and side-effect free antidepressant alternative.
Helps with drug rehabilitation
There are no studies on this topic (to my knowledge), but based on people’s experience, creatine supplementation might support drug rehabilitation, simple because of the above-listed effects.
Since depression is as much a part of drug addiction as the addiction itself, creatine may speed up the therapy process. The supplement appears to improve mood, memory and cognitive function, and may actually protect the brain from methamphetamine damage, especially in young people.
“For now, we are recruiting methamphetamine-using women who would like to try creatine,” Renshaw said. “Our hypothesis: They’ll show improvement in mood and cognitive function, which could make it easier to use less amphetamine.”
Michael Desjardins, who works with those undergoing rehab at the Journey Centers, said, “We know methamphetamine causes damage to the neurons of the brain, and we know that when we have damage like that you have a harder time thinking. You have a harder time processing. A substance like creatine, which is natural, is something they could take for a period of time to improve the way they engage in treatment.
“The whole concept is exciting to all of us in the substance abuse treatment community.”
Though Matt hasn’t participated in any creatine studies he said, “It’s pretty amazing if it can do what they say it does.”
“Creatine begs that we understand it better than we do,” Renshaw said.
The University of Utah is planning to expand several of its creatine based depression studies since the state’s population here has a high rate of the disorder. According to estimates, the incidence in Utah is about 25 percent higher than the rest of the country.
Now go get yourself a jar of creatine monohydrate. It´s a cheap and safe muscle building supplement, that potentially can make you live a longer and happier life.