Creatine is considered by athletes to be a miracle cure for increasing performance, muscle growth and regeneration. However, it is less known that creatine can also have a positive effect on our sleep. Find out here what creatine is all about and why you and your sleep can benefit from nutritional supplements with creatine even as a non-athlete.
Table of Contents
- What is creatine?
- How does creatine work?
- Creatine & Sleep
- Creatine as a dietary supplement
- Side effects of creatine
1. Creatine & Sport
Creatine is known as an effective agent for improving regeneration and muscle building and is often advertised as an effective dietary supplement for competitive athletes and amateur athletes for the purpose of increasing strength and performance. For a long time, taking creatine supplements was considered unsafe, but numerous scientific studies have helped establish creatine as a safe, performance-enhancing agent for promoting muscle growth and during intensive exercise.
What many people don't know is that creatine has many other effects on our bodies and can also have a lasting impact on our sleep.
2. What is creatine?
Creatine (Greek kreas: “meat”) is a natural organic acid that is produced by our body itself and can also be absorbed through food. It serves primarily as an energy supplier and is therefore stored to more than 90% in our muscle cells, where it is stored as an energy reserve to be activated and used during short-term intense exercise.
3. How does creatine work?
Physical performance increase and muscle building
Basically, creatine provides the body with additional energy so that it remains productive despite physical and cognitive stress. The creatine stored in the muscle cells is activated during intense physical exertion exactly when the “normal” energy reserves are exhausted. It also helps the muscles to relax more quickly after the necessary tension. In this way, a well-filled creatine store can support the function of the muscles and increase physical performance over a short period of time, especially with exertion between 2 seconds and 2 minutes.
Creatine also has a long-term effect by influencing the metabolism and growth processes of the muscles and ensuring that more muscle mass is formed and muscle strength can increase.
Mental: cognitive performance improvement and regeneration
A sufficient energy supply is also very important for the functionality of our brain cells and the central nervous system, because the brain can use up to 20% of our body's total energy turnover. As in the body itself, creatine can also help fill energy stores in the brain and protect cells from exhaustion. Various studies also show that creatine, among other things, improves cognitive brain functions (e.g. b memory and intelligence performance), increase mental stress tolerance and delay mental fatigue.
4. Creatine & Sleep
Like smartsleep founder and sleep researcher Dr. Markus Dworak was able to show in his scientific studies that the active ingredient creatine can also (or especially) have a positive influence on physiological processes during sleep. At night our body rests, reduces energy consumption and collects new energy (in the form of the energy carrier ATP), especially during deep sleep, which it needs for important regeneration and repair processes. Especially when there is a lack of sleep, these processes are disrupted, the cells' energy stores are not sufficiently filled and the important regeneration becomes more difficult.
Creatine now provides the body with additional energy and accelerates the replenishment of the energy stores in our cells in the brain and muscles. This means that your body and mind are ready to perform more quickly and can begin subsequent regeneration processes. Creatine as a dietary supplement can therefore help the body to start the important repair functions more quickly and to restore a healthy and recovered state. Other scientific studies have also found improved regeneration through taking creatine when the body has less time to recover during sleep due to lack of sleep. And the test subjects' personal feeling of tiredness also decreased as a result of taking creatine.
Did you know that sleep and exercise have an exciting interaction and can each have a positive impact? In this article you will find out how exercise promotes sleep.
5. Creatine as a dietary supplement
Our body produces small amounts of creatine itself and another part can be absorbed by consuming animal foods (especially fish and meat). However, since we are able to store far more creatine than we produce or absorb ourselves, an additional intake via a dietary supplement can be useful, especially with a vegan or vegetarian diet, in order to replenish the body's own creatine stores and provide more creatine. Today you can usually find creatine in capsule or powder form.
The dosage of creatine supplementation depends, among other things, on your diet, your physical requirements and your goals. The body produces approximately 1-2g of creatine itself and can store up to 5g in total. A daily dose of 3-5 grams of creatine is considered safe and tolerable by the European Food Safety Authority.
6. Side effects of creatine
In healthy people, there are usually no side effects to be expected when taking additional creatine. The substance is one of the best-studied dietary supplements and is generally considered safe and well tolerated at the recommended dose. However, too high a dosage of more than 20 grams per day can lead to abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomiting. An overdose doesn't make sense anyway, as the body can't store more than 5 grams of creatine per day and simply excretes the excess.
Attention: When you start taking creatine, you should make sure to drink enough fluids. Creatine binds and stores water in the muscles, which is why you can expect a slight weight gain if you take it regularly.
Creatine has established itself as an effective and safe supplement in competitive sports to get the most out of physical strength and performance. Precisely because of its function as an energy supplier, creatine not only supports intensive exercise, but can also have a positive effect on regeneration during sleep.
Creatine is the body's own natural energy supplier, 90% of which is stored in muscle cells
Creatine ensures short-term energy supply and thus promotes physical performance, muscle building and regeneration after intensive exercise.
Creatine influences the energetic balance in the brain and promotes cognitive performance, brain function and stress resistance and also reduces fatigue.
During sleep, creatine accelerates energy production and regeneration and thus reduces the need for sleep.
A daily dose of 3 g to 5 g of creatine per day is considered safe and well tolerated.
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