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Regardless of your fitness goal, you’re likely looking for ways to boost your performance. Finding just the right method can be challenging, seeing as there’s always a new product, elixir, powder, or supplement on the market claiming to help maximize your workout results. Well, we did the research for you and are here to explain why creatine is the ultimate “super supplement” experts swear by to aid in muscle growth and recovery.

Where does creatine come from?

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Creatine is produced naturally by the pancreas, kidneys, and liver. The Nutrition Twins®, Tammy Lakatos Shames, RD, CDN, CFT, and Lyssie Lakatos, RD, CDN, CFT, members of our Medical Expert Board, explain that creatine is also found in protein-packed foods such as shellfish, chicken, fish, pork, and beef, along with dairy products and eggs, to a lesser extent.

“[You] can take a [creatine] supplement [as well], which can be especially important for people who don’t get enough in their diet or work out a lot,” they add.

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Why creatine is the ultimate “super supplement” to speed up workout results:

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Experts agree that creatine is the ideal supplement to pair with your workouts—and for good reason. Creatine provides a consistent energy source to your muscles so you can continue to exercise or perform a more vigorous weight-training session successfully. Plus, research shows that creatine can enhance your overall workout performance.

“[Creatine is] especially beneficial when you’re lifting weights or playing a power sport like wrestling or football since it helps with quick bursts of energy and strength. This leads to greater muscle strength and muscle gain over time,” The Nutrition Twins point out. “Additionally, creatine may help with muscle growth by increasing the levels of IGF-1, a hormone that is important for muscle development.”

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Tyler Read, BSc, CPT, the founder of PTPioneer.com, agrees that creatine reigns supreme. “While many supplements on the market have anecdotal evidence, very marginal effects, or only show ‘benefits’ from studies sponsored by the manufacturer, creatine has decades of research backing it as a performance enhancer for strength and power activities,” he tells us. “It loads up more creatine phosphate in your muscles, which fuels very fast explosive activities. This directly increases strength and power but also helps build muscle quicker since you can load up more weight and drive more gains that way.”

Another major benefit of taking a creatine supplement is it helps speed up the recovery process. When you lift weights, you actually endure “micro-tears” in your muscle fibers, The Nutrition Twins explain. As they heal, your muscles gain strength. Creatine helps these little muscle tears repair themselves quicker.

“Creatine also can help you perform better and get more bang from your workout because it helps to boost water content in the muscle cells—one more way that it may increase muscle growth,” The Nutrition Twins say. “It can also increase muscle mass and reduce severe muscle injuries, muscle strains, pulls, and tightness.”

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Choose a creatine supplement in the monohydrate form.

jar of Thorne creatine supplementjar of Thorne creatine supplement
Amazon

When supplement shopping, The Nutrition Twins stress choosing a creatine supplement in the monohydrate form, as the other forms haven’t been as researched or associated with the same benefits.

“[In addition,] look for NSF Certified for Sport on the label since they ensure extensive evaluation of every step of a product’s production,” The Nutrition Twins add. “One of our favorite NSF Certified for Sport brands for creatine is Thorne’s creatine. It’s unflavored, gluten-free, and a trustworthy brand.”

According to the product description, Thorne’s creatine promotes muscle size and strength, increased cognitive function, and muscle performance. You should mix one scoop with an eight-ounce glass of water or beverage of choice and consume 30 to 90 minutes pre- or post-workout to soak up the benefits.

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Even though creatine is safe for most individuals to take, it’s wise to check in with your healthcare provider first and foremost before introducing any new supplements into your diet.

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