Creatine plays an important role in the production of energy and in the process of building muscular strength and lean body mass. Many people–especially those who participate in sports and intense physical activities–take creatine supplements to help improve physical performance.
Creatine is a non-essential, endogenous amino acid, which is naturally produced by the body in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas from the amino acids glycine, arginine, and methionine. In the body, creatine is mostly found in muscle and brain tissue. In addition, creatine can be consumed by eating meat, poultry, and seafood.
Since vegetarians cannot obtain creatine from their diet, oral intake of creatine supplements (not derived from animals) can be beneficial. It’s possible for vegetarians to increase creatine intake indirectly by eating certain foods that contain glycine, arginine, and methionine (these amino acids are used in the body to create creatine). However, it’s more efficient to get it through supplementation.
Studies exploring the effects of creatine supplementation among vegetarians found that vegetarians who took creatine experienced improved athletic performance. Creatine aids in the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which helps provide energy to muscle cells. The primary benefit of creatine supplementation is an improvement in strength and power output during resistance (anaerobic) exercise.
In addition, studies have also shown an increase in cognitive performance among vegetarians who take creatine supplements. The increased presence of creatine in brain cells shows a positive correlation to memory recognition as well as a reduction in mental fatigue.
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Kaviani, M., Shaw, K., & Chilibeck, P. D. (2020). Benefits of Creatine Supplementation for Vegetarians Compared to Omnivorous Athletes: A Systematic Review. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(9), 3041. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17093041
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