Creatine is considered a miracle drug among athletes to increase performance, muscle growth and regeneration. However, it is less well 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 a dietary supplement with creatine even if you are not an athlete.
Table of Contents
- What is creatine?
- How does creatine work?
- creatine & sleep
- Creatine as a dietary supplement
- side effects of creatine
Creatine & Exercise
Creatine is known as an effective means of improving regeneration and building muscles and is often advertised as an effective dietary supplement for competitive athletes and hobby athletes for the purpose of increasing strength and performance. For a long time, taking creatine supplements was considered unsafe, but numerous scientific studies have contributed to the fact that creatine could be established as a safe, performance-enhancing agent for promoting muscle growth and intensive exercise.
But what many people don't know is that creatine has many other effects on our body and can also have a lasting effect on our sleep.
What is creatine?
Creatine (Greek kreas: "meat") is a natural organic acid that is formed by our body itself and can also be ingested through food. It mainly serves 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 intensive exertion.
How does creatine work?
Physical performance improvement and muscle building
Basically, creatine provides the body with additional energy so that it remains efficient despite physical and cognitive stress. The creatine stored in the muscle cells is activated during intense physical exertion when the "normal" energy reserves are exhausted. It also helps the muscles to relax more quickly after the necessary exertion. In this way, a well-filled creatine store can support the muscles in their function and increase physical performance over a short period of time, especially during exertion between 2 seconds and 2 minutes.
Creatine also has a long-term effect by influencing the metabolic and growth processes of the muscles and ensuring that more muscle mass is formed and muscle strength can increase.
Psychologically: Cognitive performance improvement and regeneration
Sufficient energy supply is also of great importance for the functionality of our brain cells and central nervous system, because the brain can claim up to 20% of our body's total energy turnover. As in the body itself, creatine can also help in the brain to fill up the energy stores and protect the cells from exhaustion. Various studies also show that creatine can improve cognitive brain functions (e.g. memory and intelligence performance), increase mental stress tolerance and delay mental fatigue in this way.
creatine & sleep
As 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.During the night, our body comes to rest, reduces energy consumption and, especially during deep sleep, collects new energy (in the form of the energy carrier ATP), which it needs for important regeneration and repair processes. These processes are disturbed, especially when there is a lack of sleep, but the energy stores of the cells are not sufficiently filled and the important regeneration made 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. As a result, the body and mind are ready to perform again more quickly and can begin the subsequent regeneration processes. Creatine as a dietary supplement can therefore help the body to start the important repair functions faster and restore a healthy and relaxed state. Other scientific studies have also found improved regeneration through the intake of creatine when the body has less time to recover during sleep due to lack of sleep. And the personal feeling of tiredness of the test subjects was reduced by taking creatine.
Did you know that sleep and sport are in an exciting interaction and can each have a positive influence? In this article you will learn how exercise promotes sleep
Creatine as a dietary supplement
Our body produces small amounts of creatine itself and another part can be ingested through the consumption of animal foods (especially fish and meat). However, since we are able to store far more creatine than we produce or absorb ourselves, it can make sense to take an additional dietary supplement, especially with a vegan or vegetarian diet, in order to replenish the body's creatine stores and provide more creatine. Today, you can find creatine mostly in capsule or powder form.
The dosage when supplementing with creatine depends, among other things, on your diet, your physical conditions and your goals. The body produces about 1-2 g of creatine itself and can store up to 5 g in total. A daily dose of 3-5 grams of creatine is considered safe and tolerable by the European Food Safety Authority.
side effects of creatine
In healthy people, no side effects are usually to be expected when taking additional creatine. The substance is one of the best-researched 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. Overdosing doesn't make sense anyway, since the body can't store more than 5 grams of creatine per day and simply excretes the excess.
Caution: When you start taking creatine, you should make sure you drink enough fluids. Creatine binds and stores water in the muscles, which is why you have to expect a slight weight gain if you take it regularly.
Creatine has established itself in competitive sports as an effective and safe supplement to get the most out of physical strength and performance. Precisely because of its function as an energy supplier, creatine not only supports intensive physical exertion, but can also have a positive effect on regeneration during sleep.
Creatine is the body's natural source of energy, 90% of which is stored in muscle cells
Creatine ensures the short-term energy supply and thus promotes physical performance, muscle building and regeneration after intensive exertion
Creatine affects the energetic balance in the brain and promotes cognitive performance, brain function and stress resistance and also reduces fatigue.
During sleep, creatine accelerates the supply of energy and regeneration and thus reduces the need for sleep.
A daily dose of 3 g to 5 g creatine per day is considered safe and well tolerated.
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