Creatine is a non-essential nutrient within the diet as the body is able to endogenously synthesise it, it can also be found in fish and red meats. 60-70% of the bodies store of creatine is within the muscles in the form of phosphocreatine (PCr), which is used to re synthesise ATP, therefore it has a vital role in energy production.
The idea behind creatine supplementation is that by increasing the level of stored creatine, the body can re-synthesise ATP faster and therefore recover from high intensity faster and increases force/power production.
Suggested supplementation is in the form of a loading regime. For example 6 days of 20 g.day supplementation followed by 2 g.day maintenance. The positive effects of the supplement will wear off after a month if maintenance doses are not taken.
There are several side effects reported including: impaired renal function, weight gain via water retention, effects on hydration and gastrointestinal discomfort. In addition 30% of the population have been found to be non-responders to the supplement and therefore experience no benefits.
Overall, creatine supplemention is benefitial to those who wish to recover faster from high intensity exercise or who require a higher force/power output during exercise.