Following protein, creatine is one of the top natural bodybuilding supplements for muscle building and endurance.
Naturally found in raw meat, and mostly destroyed by cooking, creatine produces adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the cells. ATP is cellular energy required not only for vigorous sports but also for day to day living.
Therefore, creatine has also proven helpful for ailments that involve a serious lack of cellular energy, like chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia[i].
There is a study that may have found creatine that even protects the brain from damage due to oxygen deprivation during stroke[ii]. Thus many progressive cardiologists recommend that older patients take it in order to have enough stored in the cells to protect the brain, should a stroke occur.
For sports nutrition, creatine acts as a muscle enhancer by swelling the muscle cells and making them larger and stronger. This swelling uses water (so when using creatine it is important to drink plenty of fluids – in fact, some bodybuilders tend to prefer liquid creatine), however this form of water retention is not like edema, which is an unhealthy condition that occurs outside of the cell. When the muscle cell swells from within, it makes one stronger. That strength is then put into a harder workout which, in the presence of adequate protein, will build even more muscle.