Creatine is one of the most researched and effective supplements on the market today shown to increase strength and power. Over the past few years however, research has uncovered many additional athletic and health benefits such as an improvement in cognitive performance, endurance performance and mental alertness.
One research avenue is on its use in injury prevention and management. Perhaps it can help you stay off the injury list? Let’s dive in...
First, how does Creatine work?
Creatine acts as a very rapid, but limited source of energy for very high intensity muscle contractions. Your body converts creatine into creatine-phosphate, which then replenishes training-depleted adenosine triphosphate (ATP) -- your muscle cells most basic source of energy.
So the more creatine you have in your body, the more energy your cells can produce during high intensity activity. You essentially become stronger.
So how can this help me avoid and recover faster from injury?
1. It will reduce your risk of injury
A 2003 study that followed college football players during the season reported that athletes who were supplementing with creatine encountered less incidences of muscle cramps, tightness, strains, or injury than those that didn’t supplement with creatine. Yes, there needs to be more research into this relationship, but being stronger is a fairly good way of reducing the risk of injury, as shown in this 2019 study on hurling athletes.
2. It will help you rebuild muscle faster
Well for starters, one key element of effective recovery is to abstain from activity and give the body time to heal. Of course, when you’re inactive you’re going to lose muscle mass. Supplementing with creatine when you return to training can help you rebuild that muscle faster and in some cases has even shown to prevent some of the initial muscle loss.
A study on fin swimmers rehabbing tendon injuries found that “creatine supplementation attenuates the muscle mass loss, and also supports the faster recovery of muscle size.”
Add in HMB to maximize this effect
Another very well researched sports supplement that improves performance is HMB. HMB has been shown to prevent muscle loss with inactivity in multiple populations, so could be an ideal supplement to add to creatine to help you maintain and rebuild muscle in the recovery process.