Creatine important for general health throughout life, expert says

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Creatine Creatine supplementation Sports & Active Nutrition Summit USA

Creatine, one of the foundational ingredients in the sports nutrition realm, has so many proven benefits that it should be thought of as more of a general health ingredient, attendees at the recent Sports & Active Nutrition Summit were told.

Creatine  was first identified almost 200 years ago as an important endogenous chemical in vertebrate metabolism.  The compound participates in teh recycling of adenosine triphosphate, primarily in muscle and brain tissue.

Barcelona Olympics provided boost

The ingredient burst on the sports nutrition scene about three decades ago with studies done in Great Britain and gained immediate prominence after some athletes in sprint and power events in the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 attributed part of their success to creatine supplementation. In its monohydrate form, which was pioneered by and is still produced by German company AlzChem Trostberg GmbH, the ingredient was used in numerous studies focusing on strength and power outcomes.

Dr Richard Kreider, PhD, of Texas A&M University, did his first studies on the ingredient in the mid 1990s.  Since then, there have been more than 1,000 studies done on the ingredient, he said.  Those subsequent studies have ranged far beyond its initial sports nutrition application.

“We started doing research on how it can affect health and how it can affect rehabilitation from injury.  From that now there are probably 30 or so diseases or m.c. where creatine seems to be therapeutic,”​ he said.

Benefits range from prenatal indications to elderly

The additional benefits attributed to creatine range from prenatal benefits ranging up to helping in elderly people, Kreider said. 

There have even been indications that creatine can improve brain function, with one study done this year suggesting that creatine could have an esports application​.

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