Creatine has been around for awhile now and is one of the most studied and proven supplements on the market and yet there is still confusion about what it does and how to take it. Kamal Patel the Director of Examine.com was asked to write an article covering creatine for Schwarzenegger.com
Common Creatine Questions and Answers
How does creatine work and what does it do?
Creatine acts as a form of extra energy in your body.
Quick (and slightly simplistic) biology lesson: the basic currency of energy in your body is adenosine triphosphate (ATP). When your body uses it, it becomes adenosine diphosphate (ADP). Basically, it loses a phosphate group.
In your cells, creatine is stored as creatine phosphate. Normally your body uses glucose (sugar) as quick energy, but there is a slight delay before it can convert the glucose so that it’s usable by your cells.
So when your body needs energy quickly (as in power for the first few reps), the creatine “donates” its phosphate to the ADP, which becomes ATP, and voila, your cells have a little bit of extra energy.
Beyond just providing skeletal cells with extra energy, creatine supplementation also appears to be neuroprotective, antidepressant (though only in females so far), and a cognitive enhancer (in vegetarians). Furthermore, due to cell-swelling (that extra water your body retains when you take creatine), it may help preserve cellular integrity, which could then promote cellular survival.
Basically it is definitely extra energy for your cells, and it may have a host of other good benefits.