Q:

Is creatine good for you?

A:

Quick Answer

Generally, creatine is most likely to benefit individuals engaged in activities that require a lot of energy over a short duration, according to WebMD. It is unlikely to enhance performance in activities that demand endurance, such as marathons. Apart from its uses in sports, the chemical is also used to treat high cholesterol, depression, bipolar disorder and other medical conditions.

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Full Answer

According to WebMD, creatine's performance-enhancing properties spring from the role it plays in helping the body manufacture adenosine triphosphate, a chemical that helps muscles contract. Creatine is naturally found in the body, usually in the muscles, and can be obtained from fish, beef and other sources. The supplement form is made in laboratories.

Men's Health indicates that creatine affects different people in different ways. Vegetarians are more likely to experience a marked improvement in performance, while those who consume large amounts of animal protein are likely to see minimal or no difference in their performance. Individuals aged 60 years or more are unlikely to experience any benefits. According to WebMD, creatine is also used to build muscle mass, a critical metric in sports such as bodybuilding and weightlifting.

Creatine has its downsides, and side effects include high blood pressure, aggression, water retention and skin rashes, according to Mayo Clinic. Those aged 18 and under, pregnant women, and individuals with kidney problems, psychiatric disorders, impaired liver function or irregular heartbeats should avoid using creatine.

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