What is Creatine?
Creatine is a popular dietary supplement that is commonly used by athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness enthusiasts to improve their physical performance.
Creatine is closely related to ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the primary source of energy for muscle contractions during exercise. When you exercise, your muscles use ATP to generate energy for movement. However, the amount of ATP stored in your muscles is limited, and it is quickly depleted during intense exercise.
This is where creatine comes in. Creatine is converted into phosphocreatine in the muscles, which can add a phosphate group to ADP (adenosine diphosphate) to form ATP. This means that creatine can help to replenish the ATP stores in your muscles, allowing you to maintain high-intensity exercise for longer periods of time.
By increasing the availability of ATP in your muscles, creatine supplementation can improve athletic performance, increase muscle strength and size, and enhance recovery after exercise. It is important to note that the benefits of creatine supplementation may vary depending on the individual, their training program, and their diet.
Overall, creatine is a safe and effective supplement that can be a useful tool for athletes and fitness enthusiasts looking to improve their performance and achieve their goals. As with any supplement, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional before starting creatine supplementation.
What are the benefits of Creatine?
Here are some of the benefits of creatine:
1. Increases muscle strength: Creatine can help increase muscle strength by improving the availability of energy to the muscles during intense exercise.
2. Enhances athletic performance: Creatine supplementation has been shown to improve performance in activities that require short bursts of intense energy, such as weightlifting, sprinting, and jumping.
3. Increases muscle size: Creatine can help increase muscle size by promoting the retention of water in muscle cells, which can lead to greater muscle volume and improved muscle definition.
4. Improves recovery: Creatine can help reduce muscle damage and promote faster recovery after exercise, which can allow athletes to train harder and more frequently.
5. May have neuroprotective effects: Some research suggests that creatine may have neuroprotective effects and may be beneficial for people with certain neurological conditions.
There is some evidence to suggest that creatine may have neuroprotective abilities. Creatine is involved in the production of ATP, which is the primary source of energy for all cells in the body, including brain cells. By increasing ATP production in the brain, creatine may help to protect neurons from damage and improve cognitive function.
Several studies have investigated the potential neuroprotective effects of creatine in various neurological conditions, including Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, and traumatic brain injury. While the results are not conclusive, some studies have suggested that creatine supplementation may help to improve motor function, reduce inflammation, and protect against oxidative stress in the brain.
One proposed mechanism for the neuroprotective effects of creatine is its ability to increase the availability of phosphocreatine in the brain. Phosphocreatine can act as an energy buffer in the brain, helping to maintain ATP levels and protect neurons from damage.
It is important to note that the research on creatine's neuroprotective abilities is still in the early stages, and more studies are needed to fully understand its potential benefits. Additionally, creatine supplementation may not be appropriate for everyone, and it is always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.
Should I take Creatine?
That's a good question and more commonly asked by women.
The short answer is yes, probably, you should consider taking creatine daily.
Creatine can cause a short term weight gain due to increased muscle volume but this isn't body fat and is a benefit to you and your body.
Creatine doesn't benefit everyone. Some people already have considerable creatine stores and adding more daily creatine doesn't produce any benefit. However, the benefits of creatine aren't something you can feel or measure so it's unlikely you will know if its benefiting you specifically.
Considering it's high level of safety and potential benefits beyond just sports we feel it's worth considering adding to your daily regime.
Just taking 3-5g daily, no need to back load or anything. You only need monohydtate, any other type doesn't have more benefit but typically costs more and may actually have side effects. You also don't need to purchase any specific brands, creatine monohydrate is just creatine monohydrate. Its tasteless so just add it to yogurt or oats or a shake.
You can take it whenever is best for you each day, there's no benefit from its timing
Are there side effects?
Some people can get stomach cramps in rare cases. please ensure you hydrate well and this shouldn't happen.
Other possible side effects are below but are typically rare:
If you have liver function issues or diabetes we recommend not taking creatine.
*Always consult your MD if unsure.
HoliDAYS vs. HoliWEEKS
As we welcome November, we also mark the start of the holiday season, but the holidays are just that, holi-DAYS (not holi-WEEKS)
Statistics show that the number one reason for weight gain over the course of the year is holiday and vacation eating.
What may happen is that some people could gain about 3lbs around Halloween time, then Thanksgiving rolls around and another 3 - 5lb gain. Before we know it, it's Christmas and well, there's another 3 - 5lbs and let's not forget about New Year's Eve AND Day and 'suddenly' we're seeing the scale top out at about 15lbs heavier than when we entered the holiday season. Some of us are left scratching our heads thinking "I'm not sure what happened, I didn’t change how I eat!"
In many ways that’s true, you don’t have to change the way you eat, you just have to enjoy a few occasions and not manage the weight gain.
If you're working with a PLT Nutrition Coach, or you are someone that manages their weight pretty well, you will have seen how your weight can easily spike from one event…only to quickly come back down when you actively work it lower - this is the key.
If you feel you have experienced this in the past, why not make this the year you change?!
The PLT ABC’s are the building blocks of our nutrition plan and can be applied to specific situations giving you a guideline to help you stay focused and working hard despite special occasions like holidays!
The 3 basic approaches to holiday eating:
Tips & Tricks:
Weight spikes will happen, embrace them as it means you’re enjoying life, but know that you MUST manage your weight back down by tightening up your nutrition for 2,4,8,10 days afterwards - basically however long it takes until the gain has gone!
Whether you have a PLT Coach or not, maybe weighing the same on Jan 2nd as you do today IS progress! You avoided the typical 15lb gain!
This period isn’t always about losing weight as progress, it can 100% be about maintaining your weight.
Don’t put off starting your journey just because of this challenging period. There’s EVERY value starting today, tomorrow - soon - the sooner the better. There is NO reason to put it off.
Above all else, smile, have fun, love your family, cherish your friends but remember your goals. We wish you a healthy and happy holiday season and we wish you an epic scale reading on 1/1/223!
~ Coach Maxine, Registered Dietitian
Blood cholesterol and dietary cholesterol, what’s the difference?
Simply put, blood cholesterol is the cholesterol in your bloodstream. It’s made by your body and
recycled by your liver. High blood cholesterol levels increase the risk of heart disease but cholesterol
itself is not necessarily bad.
The body uses cholesterol to make hormones (including oestrogen and testosterone) vitamin D, bile
acids and other vital compounds. Your liver and intestines make around 80% of the cholesterol
needed by your body which leaves only 20% from the foods you eat.
Dietary cholesterol on the other hand is cholesterol that comes from eating animal products such as
meat, eggs, shellfish, cheese and other full fat dairy products. If someone consumes foods high in
cholesterol, their liver will respond by slowing down cholesterol production to balance out their
A small group of people are hyper-responders to cholesterol. These people are more sensitive to
dietary cholesterol and consuming cholesterol-rich foods can significantly impact their blood
Health professionals and dietary guidelines previously recommended that people should limit their
dietary cholesterol intake to 300mg/day. It was later found that most of the old research supporting
this recommendation was conducted on animals.
Multiple studies have now shown that there is no direct correlation between cholesterol intake and
blood cholesterol in humans. Dietary cholesterol has been found to positively influence the LDL-to-
HDL ratio which is one of the best indicators of heart disease risk.
More about eggs
In the past, people were advised to limit the number of eggs they ate to 3 or less per week. The
reasoning behind this guideline was that eggs (which are high in dietary cholesterol) would
dangerously increase blood cholesterol.
The guidance around eggs has now thankfully changed over the years and yet many people still feel
a bit ‘scrambled’ on what to believe.
Current research sheds a very positive light on eggs not only due to the effect they have on blood
cholesterol but also due to their unique nutrient profile and impressive nutrient density. It was
found that people who eat eggs are more likely to meet their daily requirements for several
micronutrients without negatively impacting blood cholesterol.
The science now continues to support the idea that saturated fat in food, not cholesterol, causes
health concerns. The American Heart Association removed their recommendations to limit dietary
cholesterol intake and the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines don’t specify a limit.
For the general public it has been shown that regularly eating eggs is safe as long as they are
consumed as part of a balanced diet, as with all foods. Hyper-responders are the ‘egg-ception’ to
this as they need to be more careful of their cholesterol intake.
Dietary sources of cholesterol are no longer a concern but beware of cholesterol-rich foods that are
also high in saturated fat which will negatively affect blood cholesterol levels.
High-cholesterol foods to watch out for:
chicken fillets. Choose minimally processed sausage or deli meat that is lean.
selenium, lutein and others. Be sure to cook eggs with an oil spray and a non-stick frying
1) Dietary Cholesterol and the Lack of Evidence in Cardiovascular Disease - PMC (nih.gov)
2) Nutrients | Free Full-Text | Is There a Correlation between Dietary and Blood Cholesterol?
Evidence from Epidemiological Data and Clinical Interventions (mdpi.com)
3) Association of eggs with dietary nutrient adequacy and cardiovascular risk factors in US adults |
Public Health Nutrition | Cambridge Core
I'm Paul Leonard, CEO & founder of PLT Nutrition.