The Secret Benefits of Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine is a Health Supplement

Everyone should take creatine, even if their goal isn’t to build mountains of muscle. Here’s why and how to use it.

Millions of people take multivitamins daily, despite mountains of evidence showing they don’t improve health very much. Most would be better off taking creatine monohydrate.

Yes, creatine is a health supplement. Most people, around 69%, are actually creatine deficient. Even if they never lifted a barbell, they’d still benefit from creatine supplementation. Here’s why.

1. Creatine and Longevity

There are several known mitochondria-friendly compounds. Among them are Coenzyme Q10, acetyl-l-carnitine, NAD, and PQQ. All of them, to one degree or another, help mitochondria produce ATP.

That leads to more energy, but it also makes for happier mitochondria, whose overall health determines not only how long a particular cell lives and thrives but also how long the organ that the cell belongs to lives and thrives. You get enough unhappy and unhealthy mitochondria and you start experiencing organ failure. If enough organs fail, well, you die.

Creatine is also a mitochondria-nurturing supplement. In fact, it seems to be more effective than any of them in raising ATP levels.

2. Creatine and Heart Function

Creatine leads to increased production of ATP, the body’s energy currency. Heart cells are among the types of cells that rely on adequate levels of ATP, but these levels are invariably low in people with heart failure. This is typified by low energy levels and tiring quickly.

But when researchers give creatine to heart patients, they get stronger. Their energy increases.

While studies haven’t shown creatine to affect the ejection fraction (how well blood pumps out of the heart) of patients, creatine appears to be a cheap, easy way to make the lives of heart patients better and maybe, just maybe, a little longer.

3. Creatine and Aging

Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle tissue, part of the natural aging process. Muscles wither, and the ability to do simple tasks vanishes. It’s when old people truly become infants.

Resistance training is an obvious answer, but as anyone who’s ever had an aging relative can attest, convincing them to lift weights after a lifetime of inactivity is likely met by grandma refusing to make you lemon bars. However, a few studies found that creatine supplementation alone – without resistance training – was enough to reverse sarcopenia to some degree.

Obviously, this creatine-induced reversal of muscle wasting worked a lot better when used in conjunction with resistance training, but the fact that it worked to any degree by itself is pretty remarkable.

4. Creatine and Miscellaneous Maladies/Benefits

  • Creatine can lower blood sugar, particularly when combined with exercise. This suggests it may have a nutrient-partitioning effect, i.e., it may help preferentially store carbs in muscle as opposed to fat.
  • Creatine can increase the formation of osteoblasts (cells that make bone), which help with bone formation, bone repair, and even osteoarthritis formation.
  • Creatine helps reduce fat accumulation in the liver for people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
  • Creatine helps people with fibromyalgia (who have chronically low creatine phosphate levels and, ipso facto, low ATP levels).
  • Low creatine levels seem to play a role in depression. In one study, depression was 42% more prevalent in the lowest quartile of creatine consumption (0 to 0.26 grams a day).

How Best to Use Creatine

There are several creatine-loading schemes, but the best one is also one of the oldest:

  1. Multiply your body weight in kilograms by 0.3 grams. Take this amount and divide it into four equal doses and take 1 of these doses 4 times a day for 5 to 7 days.
  2. Once you’ve loaded up, you only need to take 3 to 5 grams a day to maintain full capacity.

Too inconvenient for you? Just take about 5 grams a day, every day. In 30 days, you reach maximum cellular storage capacity, at which point you can just continue with taking 3 to 5 grams a day.

Just make sure you use micronized creatine where the grains are absorbed better than versions from the big box stores.

Is There a Best Time to Take Creatine?

As long as your cells are saturated with creatine (after the loading protocol or after 30 days of taking 5 grams per day), it probably doesn’t matter when you take it.

However, there was a study involving 19 lifters split into two groups. Both groups did the same workout five days a week for 4 weeks. One group took 5 grams of creatine before their workout and one group took 5 grams of creatine after.

After a month, the men in the after-workout creatine group gained TWICE as much lean body mass as the pre-workout creatine group. The after-workout group also lost about 2 pounds more fat than the pre-workout group, in addition to being able to bench a couple of pounds more than the pre-workout group.

The researchers thought that maybe the workout somehow sensitized the cells to creatine uptake, or maybe the post-workout meal led to an insulin surge that also facilitated creatine uptake. Whatever the reason, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to take creatine after training. On non-training days, just take it anytime.




  1. Persky AM et al. Clinical pharmacology of the dietary supplement creatine monohydrate. Pharmacological Reviews. 2001 Jun;53 2)161-176.
  2. Gualano B et al. Effects of creatine supplementation on glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity in sedentary healthy males undergoing aerobic training. Amino Acids. 2008 Feb;34(2):245-50.
  3. Antonio J et al. The effects of pre versus post workout supplementation of creatine monohydrate on body composition and strength. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013 Aug 6;10:36.

IIRC, some studies have shown there are cognitive benefits to taking Creatine also.


Yep, that’s true. In fact, I just finished an article about that aspect of it, including how creatine can offset sleep deprivation, to a certain point.

I have always had a sensitivity to taking creatine causing gastrointestinal issues no matter when or how I take creatine? Any recommendations?

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Every time I used it my blood pressure goes high and by the way I don’t snort it or dry scoop it. Always use over 1 to 1 2/2 cups of water ! Never happened when I was younger and nobody can explain it to me the reason !

Creatine makes your kidneys work harder. That in itself could elevate blood pressure.

Honestly, my cardinal rule for myself has been always ensuring to get at least a gallon to a gallon and a half litres of water/day and cardio, to offset bloating that I find I’m otherwise prone to. Another weird effect this mitigates is a light sensitivity that can happen to me with creatine that’s similar to eye strain on sleep deprivation :man_shrugging:


Creatine always makes my Creatinine levels go way up. My doctor doesn’t like that, and I’m wondering if I’m just pissing it all away.

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I’ve tried creating before and didn’t notice any effect. Am I supposed to?

A small percentage of people are “non responders” when it comes to adding lean tissue. You just might be one of them. Just because you didn’t gain any lean mass, though, doesn’t mean you won’t experience any of the beneficial effects described in this article.

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Why would you want to make any of your organs work harder?

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Bad choice of words on my part. Kidneys filter the blood through passive filtration. No energy is required. Nevertheless, for some reason, people with kidney disease and/or hypertension have, in some instances, experienced an increase in BP.

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Thanks for the clarification

Any thoughts on the creatine gummies? Are they a viable alternative to micronized creatine monohydrate? They sure would be convenient!