Is creatine a longevity supplement? This is a question I never considered until about a week ago. Then I couldn’t let the thought go. It seems to have benefits that can help extend our lives but I wasn’t quite sure if this is true.
So, I did what I always do to try and answer these questions. Read lots of research papers and put what I learned into the article you’re reading right now.
Let’s see what I learned.
Can Creatine Increase Our Longevity?
To date there aren’t any studies that show it can extend our lives. But, there is data in animal studies which finds taking creatine extends the lifespan of mice by 9%.
I know, we’re not mice. That’s why I’m not going to draw a conclusion that it’ll have the same effect for us. But it is still a really interesting finding.
So, here’s the details as to how it helped these mice. It appears that creatine extended their lives by decreasing the amount of something called lipofuscin in their brains.
Lipofuscin is a compound that is referred to as the aging pigment by scientists. This is because as we age levels of it increase in various organs including our brains, heart, and eyes. It actually stains them a yellow-brown color.
Scientists agree that more lipofuscin we’re storing in body, the faster we’re aging.
Hopefully this positive research on mice will lead to more research on creatine, lipofuscin and aging with men and woman in the near future. Remember, you read about it here first.
How Creatine Can Impact Our Longevity
Just because creatine isn’t yet shown to extend our lifespans doesn’t mean we should disregard it’s potential to do so. As you’ll soon learn, it has too many health enhancing benefits to not consider adding it to your plan for optimal health and longevity.
Below are 3 areas of our health that creatine is shown to benefit – our muscles, cardiovascular system, and our brain. Keeping these systems at optimal levels are all shown to help us live healthier, longer lives.
Muscle, Longevity And Creatine
As we get older, if we don’t stay active and eat right our bodies lose muscle. By the age of 80 you may have lost 30% of the muscle you had in your 20s. Maybe even more.
The medical term for this muscle loss is sarcopenia. LosIng muscle takes away your ability to be active and stay healthy. Even walking and getting up from a chair can become difficult.
As you lose your ability to move around, lift, and stand your risk of injury and illness increases significantly. Injuries from falls that normally wouldn’t hurt you and illness from the type 2 diabetes you develop because of the sedentary lifestyle you’re forced to live.
Building muscle and getting stronger can prevent these issues and improve our odds for a long and healthy life. Creatine will help you get better results, faster.
More Muscle = Longer Life
Doctors from UCLA published a paper that shows the greater your muscle mass, the longer you’re likely to live. This is independent of whether you’re a smoker, body fat percentage and other risk factors for illness and death.
- Key points – not exercising enough leads to muscle loss as we get older. The more muscle mass we have, the longer we’re likely to live.
How Creatine Helps You Build And Maintain Muscle
The good news is, we don’t have to lose this muscle and strength. In fact you can keep building it and getting stronger as long as you live.
Creatine can help.
Research finds that when you combine creatine and strength training you’ll build more muscle and get stronger. More than if you just lift weights, do calisthenics, etc.
This isn’t just true for college age athletes. It’s true whether you’re 20, 40, or 80! Creatine will help you build back lost muscle and strength. You may even end up with more muscle and strength then you’ve ever had.
This is one of the reasons I take it every day as does my wife and 74 year old Mom.
Creatine Builds Muscle Even Without Exercise
I also read a few papers that find creatine can increase your strength and lean mass without strength training. It can even help you prevent muscle and strength loss when you’re injured and can’t exercise.
These findings are awesome. We can’t always work out so it’s good to know it can help keep us from losing muscle and strength if we become sick or injured.
But I think you should do both. You don’t have to join a gym. Calisthenics, resistance bands, and whatever else you have available work great.
Creatine, Longevity And Cardiovascular Health
Our hearts use creatine for energy and to help it contract. As you already know, the healthier our heart functions, the longer we’re likely to live.
While there isn’t a lot of research on creatine supplementation and heart health there’s some. It’s promising enough for us to pay attention and understand.
Here’s we know so far.
Creatine has antioxidant properties. The compounds can clean up debris in our veins, arteries, etc to keep them healthy and functioning optimally.
It decreases inflammation. The less inflamed we are internally, the more easily our heart can go about it’s job moving blood and oxygen throughout our body.
Glycemic control. There is some evidence which shows creatine can help keep our blood sugar levels under control. Elevated blood sugar can lead to plaque buildup in our arteries, increasing our risk for heart disease.
Lipid improvements. Taking creatine can help lower your LDL, known as the bad form of cholesterol.
Improve mitochondrial function. These organelles inside our cells are what makes the energy needed to survive. The healthy your mitochondria, the healthier our heart and longer we live. Creatine gives them a boost, ensuring they are able to keep us and our heart healthy.
I’ll keep you updated at this blog with more information regarding cardiovascular health and creatine as it’s published.
Creatine, Longevity And Our Brain
Keeping our brains healthy is also important if you want to live a long and healthy life.
Research on the effects of creatine supplementation on our brains health and function shows that it holds a lot of promise as being as good for it as it is for our muscles.
Here’s what scientists have learned so far.
- Creatine may be helpful in treating depression in women. Studies show that when taken by itself or with antidepressants a woman’s mood improves.
- Taking Creatine can help diminish the risk of a brain injury in a collision. Think heading a soccer ball, being hit in boxing class, or an accident.
- It may also help you recover from a brain injury caused by some type of impact to your head.
- Research finds that Creatine can give your short term memory, ability to reason, and intelligence a boost. Basically helping you recall what you’ve just heard, think more accurately and faster and make better decisions.
- Creatine can help your brain function better when you’re stressed.
Other Life Enhancing Benefits Of Creatine
While research on it’s life enhancing benefits is important for our muscles, heart, and brain it’s not the only way creatine benefits us.
Here’s a few other areas where research is showing promising results.
Stronger bones. When you do strength training workouts and take creatine your bones may get stronger. This is especially true when you’re younger. So, if you’re between 18-40 your bones will be even stronger, into your old age. Just keep lifting weights.
If you’re into or into your 40s, Creatine may still give strength training a bone strengthening boost. There’s just not as much data to prove it yet.
Better blood sugar control. Creatine may also be able to keep our blood sugar stable. This means level energy levels and a decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes as we get older. Not much data on this so far so we’ll keep on the lookout for more in the future.
Is Creatine Safe?
There are over 500 peer-reviewed research studies and millions of users who’ve taken Creatine and to date there’s no indication that it’s bad for you in any way.
The few reports that exist which speculate it may be bad for your kidneys or anything else are based on a few case studies and anecdotal reports. Neither are enough to draw any conclusions.
As always, check with your doctor before you take creatine or any other supplement but creatine appears to be very safe for all of us, young and old, guys and ladies.
How To Take Creatine
I used to believe, based on the data available, that you had to rapidly ‘load’ your muscles ‘load’ your muscles with creatine over 5-7 days to see results. My mind has recently been changed.
Now I feel that you should take it in a way that best supports your goals. If you want to see results as quickly as possible then follow the loading phase method. If you’re not familiar this means taking 20 grams a day in 4 evenly divided doses for 5-7 days.
You can then keep your muscles filled by taking a single 5 gram serving every day.
This strategy will help you increase your muscle mass, strength and other benefits very fast. You’re also likely to gain 3-5 pounds in this time.
If you don’t need to see results super fast or don’t want to gain the extra weight, then just take 5 grams (1 scoop) a day. It’ll take a little longer – about 28 days – to see results but you’ll still get where you want to be. Part of the reason you’re taking creatine is for your longevity so you want long-term results.
Does It Matter Which Creatine I Take For Longevity?
What you want to avoid are any supplements that claim to be better than creatine monohydrate. They’re not. This includes liquid creatine, creatine HCL, and creatine ethyl ester. Tests performed on these and other creatine supplements show that they don’t work as well as creatine monohydrate. They often don’t even contain any creatine!
I take Creatine Edge every day. It’s made in the USA, tested for purity and contains nothing but creatine monohydrate.
What’s The Verdict?
Well, as I wrote in the beginning of this article, there’s no evidence yet that taking creatine helps us live longer.
Not directly anyway. As you can see from this article it does help our muscles, heart, brain, and other parts of the body stay stronger and healthier. When these organs are functioning optimally, the likelihood we’ll live longer and healthier improves.
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