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Benefits of Creatine for 40+ Athletes and Older Adults

Today, we are discussing the many and ever growing benefits of creatine supplementation for adults over 40 years of age.

If you are in this category, which I am, maintaining physical and cognitive vitality becomes increasingly important. 

Creatine is an intriguing supplement that has been extensively studied for its potential benefits not only for those who perform in athletics for a living, but also for the majority of us who are looking to enhance and maintain our life fitness across the board year after year. 

In recent years, studies have started to unearth the benefits of creatine beyond performance improvements in sports and shown that it can help with maintaining muscle mass, improve strength, enhance cognitive function, and bone density.

Please note: Before we go through 8 points of awesomeness related to creatine, I just want to remind you that this blog post is for informational purposes only and even though I am a practicing physician, I am not your physician and it is always good to consult a qualified health professional before starting new supplements or exercise routines.

  1. Creatine affects Muscle Mass and Strength: As we age, there tends to be a natural decline in muscle mass and strength. However, this trend across culture doesn’t mean it is a required part of aging.  I know for myself at age 42, my legs are stronger now than when I was playing college basketball at age 20. However, the research is clear that strength is more challenging to gain and maintain with each passing decade. Thankfully we do have help.  Creatine has been shown to enhance muscle protein synthesis and improve strength.  It does this by stimulating muscle fiber hypertrophy. When muscle fibers grow in size they permit us to produce more force. Creatine also slows muscle breakdown during a workout. This helps muscle recovery to be more efficient.  With intense exercise, there is an increase in inflammation which can produce excess muscle damage. Creatine has been shown to mitigate and clear this inflammation more efficiently. 
  1. Creatine and Bone Health: Creatine supplementation may also have positive effects on bone health. Studies suggest that it could enhance bone density and reduce the risk of age-related bone disorders like osteoporosis, which becomes increasingly important as people get older. Creatine does this by increasing the activity of osteoblasts (cells involved in formation of bone) and reducing bone resorption/loss.  Preliminary evidence also shows that creatine may have a beneficial effect on IGF-1, which also has a role in bone formation.
  1. Creatine and Cognitive Function: This is one of the coolest effects of creatine. Beyond its benefits for physical performance, creatine has shown potential in supporting cognitive function. It can help improve memory, attention, and executive function, which is particularly relevant for individuals over 40 who may be concerned about age-related cognitive decline. But the thing is when creatine supplementation was utilized in the studies, those who had the greatest mental fatigue, sleep deprivation or were under the greatest stress load, seemed to have the greatest benefit.
  1. Creatine and Energy Capacity: Creatine plays a crucial role in the body's energy production system, supplying ATP (adenosine triphosphate) for quick bursts of energy. This is extra important for those over 40 years of age whose mitochondria are not creating energy as efficiently but yet are still wanting to live life to its fullest. By increasing the availability of ATP, creatine can support better muscle performance during resistance training and other strength-based activities like hauling your child on your back on a long hike. By supplementing with creatine, older adults may experience increased energy levels and improved endurance during physical activities. 
  1. Creatine and Sarcopenia Prevention: Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass and strength associated with aging.  It is essentially the description given for diseased, under-functioning muscle. Creatine's ability to enhance muscle mass and strength can be a powerful tool in preventing sarcopenia and maintaining functional independence as people age. Creatine supplementation can lead to higher intramuscular phosphocreatine levels, this is the storage form of energy that helps rapidly regenerate ATP during intense repetitive muscle contractions. Unfortunately, these stores dwindle with age, so having more available, allows muscles to perform at a capacity that is much more youthful than the person's actual age.
  1. Creatine and Heart Health: Some studies suggest that creatine supplementation may have positive effects on heart health by improving cardiovascular function and reducing certain risk factors for heart disease, such as blood pressure. This is because creatine supplementation may increase nitric oxide production, which acts as a vasodilator.  This improved blood flow to the heart, improves the heart’s efficiency and takes stress off the circulatory system.  On top of that, creatine through its mitochondrial energy production also reduces oxidative stress. You heard that right, creatine also works as an antioxidant.
  1. Creatine Combined with Exercise: Creatine is not a steroid or even a heavy dose of protein. It requires exercise to enable it to promote change in the body. The combination of creatine and exercise is a massive boon for both physical and mental health. For young athletes, no doubt there is benefit but for each passing decade of life, the benefits only expand with creatine supplementation, combined with a strength training program.
  1. Creatine Safety and Side Effects: Creatine is one of the most extensively researched supplements, and it has been found to be generally safe for most people when taken within recommended dosages.  The standard recommended dose is between 3-5 grams. I know some will say 20 grams a day is perfectly fine but almost universally all the benefits of creatine are found when supplementing between 3-5 grams. As with most all supplements, just because something is great, doesn’t mean more of it makes it better.

Try Creatine Today!

For recommendations on how to take Creatine, check out this post, When Should Creatine Be Taken?

What has your experience been like with creatine? Has it helped you reach your fitness goals? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.



  1. Chilibeck, P. D., Candow, D. G., Landeryou, T., Kaviani, M., Paus-Jenssen, L., & Vandenberg, A. (2018). Effect of creatine supplementation during resistance training on lean tissue mass and muscular strength in older adults: a meta-analysis. Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine, 9, 411-421.
  1. Antonio, J., & Ciccone, V. (2013). The effects of pre versus post workout supplementation of creatine monohydrate on body composition and strength. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 10(1), 36.
  1. Gualano, B., Macedo, A. R., Alves, C. R. R., Roschel, H., Benatti, F. B., Takayama, L., ... & Junior, A. H. L. (2011). Creatine supplementation does not impair kidney function in type 2 diabetic patients: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 111(5), 749-756.
  1. Rawson, E. S., & Venezia, A. C. (2011). Use of creatine in the elderly and evidence for effects on cognitive function in young and old. Amino Acids, 40(5), 1349-1362.
  1. Dalbo, V. J., Roberts, M. D., Stout, J. R., & Kerksick, C. M. (2008). Putting to rest the myth of creatine supplementation leading to muscle cramps and dehydration. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 42(7), 567-573.


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