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Plant Based Creatine Supplement for Athletic Use

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

Background:

Creatine (creatine monohydrate) is one of the most highly researched and used supplements in the world. Creatine is an already existing substance in the body, mainly obtained from eating meat. It is mainly taken by athletes to boost their recovery processes and overall performance. Furthermore, research on this supplement has shown that it helps improve memory and brain function. In fact, it’s even been found to be beneficial towards those with neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinsons, or muscular dystrophy. After delving into the world of creatine supplements and how it positively affects the body, I wanted to find out how plants, more specifically medicinal herbs, could be useful for creatine. Is it possible that one could harvest nutrients from plants which would aid in, or even improve, the existing creatine availability/production in the body? Can vegans and vegetarians still benefit from the tremendous advantages of creatine?

Through my research on this topic, I discovered that there were a few methods of using plant-based foods to support the production and availability of creatine in the body, the main result being Beetroot Juice.


Science Behind It:

Beetroot Juice contains high levels of nitrates (NO3-), which has been proven to increase the resynthesis of creatine in the body, allowing for a reduced depletion of the substance found in the body. Creatine is naturally depleted through the action of intense exercise, a faster rate of resynthesis means that the rest time required for replenishing the levels of creatine in the body to conduct the exercise at maximum capacity is hugely reduced. Nitrate supplementation from Beetroot Juice has shown to improve muscle efficiency in its use of creatine, making it incredibly helpful for athletes to take in addition to taking creatine monohydrate by itself. Evidence for this improvement in exercise capability was shown by ncbi.gov. An experiment performed to test this property of beetroot juice is shown, “To find out if beetroot juice supplementation would improve this ability to repeat high-intensity efforts during a team sport match, Thompson et al. [56] administered beetroot juice over 7 days to a group of athletes (12.8 mmol NO3−)... The results of this study indicated a total work volume improved by 3.5% in the whole session, though this improvement was greater at the end of the first half (at half time).” Although this percentage may seem miniscule, its significance in performance was shown to be hugely beneficial in the long term.

The reason nitrates are able to increase the availability and use of creatine pre-existing in the body is due to the fact that when nitrate is binded to the creatine monohydrate’s molecular structure, it has been shown to make the substance more soluble and therefore easier to access during training. This benefit of nitrates in beetroot juice isn’t exclusive to just creatine, it is also proven to enhance the capabilities of several other supplements similar to creatine monohydrate, used by athletes around the globe.


Benefits of Consumption:

Nitrates in beetroot juice aren’t only beneficial for their amazing capabilities to enhance the use of creatine, they are also able to reduce oxygen depletion allowing athletes to train longer and harder. Several studies have found a correlation between the gain of muscle mass and the increase of nitrates present in the body. In addition, taking beet juice can even assist in brain function, liver problems, and in some cases has been shown to prevent cancer!


Conclusion:

Numerous athletes have made taking beetroot juice a part of their daily routine, to take advantage of the several benefits it provides in addition to their supplementation of creatine and other substances. I have found that taking beetroot juice could create a huge positive effect on the well-being of those who aren’t athletes as well, such as those suffering from mental disabilities or diseases. My hope for the future is that more research will be conducted to discover more about how creatine monohydrate’s benefits can be enhanced by other natural herbs, to yield even more beneficial perks than those that have already been found.


Citations:

McDermott, Annette. “11 Health Benefits of Beet Juice.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 22 Feb. 2023, www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/beetroot-juice-benefits#stamina. Accessed 30 June 2023.

Bode, Carlos. “What Is Creatine Nitrate, and How Does It Work?” NF Sports, NF Sports, 17 Dec. 2019, nfsports.com/blogs/supplements/creatine-nitrate#:~:text=Creatine%20nitrate%20is%20a%20new,more%20accessible%20for%20supplementing%20training. Accessed 30 June 2023.

Raúl Domínguez, et al. Effects of Beetroot Juice Supplementation on Intermittent High-Intensity Exercise Efforts. Vol. 15, no. 1, 5 Jan. 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5756374/, https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-017-0204-9. Accessed 30 June 2023.

Clinic, Cleveland. “Creatine: What It Does, Benefits, Supplements & Safety - Cleveland Clinic.” Cleveland Clinic, 2023, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/17674-creatine#:~:text=Creatine%20is%20a%20compound%20that,help%20keep%20their%20minds%20sharp. Accessed 30 June 2023.

K.P. Prokopidis, et al. Effects of Creatine Supplementation on Memory in Healthy Individuals: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Vol. 81, no. 4, 19 Aug. 2022, pp. 416–427, academic.oup.com/nutritionreviews/article/81/4/416/6671817, https://doi.org/10.1093/nutrit/nuac064. Accessed 30 June 2023.

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