Creatine and Heart Health
Supplementation of creatine has been shown to have a number of benefits for muscle health and our heart is our most important muscle! In fact, creatine has been used to treat congestive heart failure, and it can help to reduce the risk of heart disease, especially for people with pre-existing conditions. Creatine also appears to lower triglyceride levels in those with high triglycerides levels, which can also benefit heart health.
Reducing the Risk of Heart Failure
The heart requires continuous amounts of energy because it is beating constantly. The heart gets this energy in the form of ATP which is required for its pumping mechanisms. The myocardial energy is stored as creatine phosphate and when those stores are reduced, muscle energy decreases and the muscles are “weakened” or more easily fatigued. Supplementing with creatine is key in maintaining or restoring energy to the heart.The heart also requires oxygen and other nutrients to stay healthy. Creatine enhances oxygen uptake and performance during exercises that require high amounts of energy.
How the Heart Uses Energy from Creatine
Creatine supplements increase your muscles' phosphocreatine stores. Phosphocreatine allows the formation and recycling of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the body’s universal energy molecule. It allows all cells to function optimally. This includes the energy the cells need for optimal heart function. However, in the event of heart failure, phosphocreatine helps prevent or minimize ATP exhaustion which causes a decrease in contractility of the myocardium.
The myocardium is the heart muscle located in the middle and thickest layer of the heart wall. It stimulates heart contractions to pump blood from the ventricles, and relaxes the heart to receive blood, producing a heartbeat. The heartbeat drives the cardiac cycle which pumps blood throughout the body to the cells and tissues.
Cardiomyocytes are the cells responsible for generating contractions in the heart, and they require creatine to function. Patients with heart failure typically have decreased levels of creatine which can impair the ability of cardiomyocytes in the body to rapidly provide energy to the systems that require it.
Since creatine supplementation increases heart muscle strength and muscular endurance, it may be beneficial for patients with chronic heart disease. Creatine also helps to promote blood flow throughout the body, which can be beneficial not only for heart health, but for overall health.