Creatine Benefits and Science Explained: Muscle, Strength, Brain Health and Beyond

by Mike Mutzel


Creatine is a naturally occurring molecule in your body that helps create cellular energy in exercising muscles, among other benefits. Despite creatine being widely recognized as safe and effective as a supplement for physically active people, myths are still circulating that creatine causes hair loss and is somehow harmful to human health. We debunk these myths and discuss the science you need to know about creatine!




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Articles Referenced:


Hummer, E., Suprak, D. N., Buddhadev, H. H., Brilla, L., & Juan, J. G. S. (2019). Creatine electrolyte supplement improves anaerobic power and strength: a randomized double-blind control study, 1–8.

Wu, G. (2020). Important roles of dietary taurine, creatine, carnosine, anserine and 4-hydroxyproline in human nutrition and health. Amino Acids, 52(3), 329–360.

Smith-Ryan, A. E., Cabre, H. E., Eckerson, J. M., & Candow, D. G. (2021). Creatine Supplementation in Women’s Health: A Lifespan Perspective. Nutrients, 13(3), 877.

Time Stamps:

00:30 Creatine helps to add phosphorous groups to ADP molecules to remake ATP. ATP is needed to move your muscles.

00:55 The food you eat is broken down into ATP.

01:00 People retained water back in the day when creatine was paired with dextrose (sugar).

03:16 Creatine is a metabolite comprised of 3 amino acids. Arginine, which helps to vasodilate and increase blood flow, glycine, and methionine.  Glycine is part of the glutathione tripeptide. Methionine is a sulfur-containing amino acid.

04:15 You have over 100 grams of creatine in your body. It is found primarily in your muscle tissue because they are energetically demanding.

05:30 Some cuts of beef contain 9.6 mg/gram of dry weight of creatine. Beef is rich in creatine, taurine and carnosine. It also has beta alanine.

06:05 Wheat, soy, potato, and corn contain zero creatine, taurine, beta alanine, and carnosine. If you eat red meat, you are probably getting plenty of creatine.

07:00 ATP is fundamental to cellular processes that underpin skeletal muscle contraction during exercise. Muscle stores little ATP. Metabolic pathways are activated to maintain ATP resynthesis.

07:45 Creatine functions mainly at the muscle level.

09:00 Creatine supplementation can be a multifactorial intervention across the lifespan in women with little to no side effects.  Creatine is not an androgen. It is involved in energy utilization and recycling.

09:35 Creatine supplementation combined with exercise provides musculoskeletal and performance benefits in older adults.

10:10 Creatine paired with electrolytes can improve power output and strength, because it works during the workout.

11:10 Anaerobic power and strength is improved with creatine paired with electrolytes (magnesium, potassium, calcium, and sodium). There was a 10 to 15% benefit in the intervention group in the WWU study.Improvement/progress is motivating.

15:25 As you age, you naturally lose strength and muscle. Supplemental creatine may help counteract some of the strength loss.

15:55 Electrolytes like, magnesium, sodium, and potassium, are transporters used to aid in the absorption and utilization of creatine.

17:40 Creatine uptake is directly impacted by presence of sodium, chloride, and calcium. Creatine uptake is reduced by up to 47%, when there is no calcium or magnesium in extracellular fluid. When concentrations of sodium and chloride are increased, uptake increases, even with no additional creation concentrations. Sodium and chloride are both needed for transport.

19:10 Electrolytes are often taken after a sauna session or before, during or after a workout. Sauna moves a lot of blood in and out of your core.


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