Does Creatine Help with Soreness and Impact Recovery?

Exhausted guy sipping juice

Does creatine help with DOMS and impact recovery? From our research, although studies claim that creatine does not reduce muscle soreness or damage, there are desirable qualities of creatine that boost recovery efforts in the human body. Many claim that taking creatine supplements has positively impacted recovery and decreased soreness. Let’s dive into the benefits of creatine for recovery and soreness! 

Quick Takeaway:

  • Although studies reveal that creatine supplementation does not benefit muscle soreness, the supplement does provide other recovery attributes that can be desirable for exercising individuals. 
  • Creatine’s natural functions in the body support glycogen synthesis, energy production, and muscle protein synthesis and protect against oxidative damage. All features are necessary for the body’s recovery processes. 
  • Other methods to promote recovery while taking creatine supplements include stretching, heat and cold therapy, and a well-balanced diet. 

Does Creatine Help with Soreness – The Truth Revealed

Creatine and post-workout soreness
Creatine's role in easing sore muscles
Source: Everflex Fitness 2024

Does creatine make you less sore? Or does creatine make you more sore? It’s time to reveal the truth about creatine supplementation and its effect on the muscle recovery process!

Our survey revealed that 64% of responders were interested in taking a supplement that could reduce recovery time and decrease exercise-induced muscle soreness. Athletes and fitness enthusiasts use supplements like creatine monohydrate to boost muscle growth, improve muscle strength, and enhance exercise performance. Some even use it to promote recovery after an intense workout, but does the research show that creatine supplementation is effective for recovery? 

Unfortunately, studies show that creatine supplementation is not an effective choice for recovery or reducing muscle soreness. Though this may be the case, creatine has some benefits that can improve recovery after exercise. 

The Recovery Benefits of Creatine Supplementation

Creatine survey insights
Soreness relief and Creatine: Survey findings
Source: Everflex Fitness 2024

Though 48% of our survey respondents revealed that they do not take creatine supplementation, 43% claimed that they noticed improvements in muscle recovery and reduced muscle soreness. Here are some benefits creatine can provide to boost and support recovery! 

Supports Healthy ATP Production

Creatine is responsible for stimulating the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a source of energy in the body. ATP is then transported to the muscle cells to act as fuel to support everyday physical activity and functionality. 

Formed from creatine and ATP, a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a nucleotide that acts as an energy buffer to maintain ATP concentrations. Supplementing with creatine or consuming creatine-rich foods, especially when engaging in high training intensity in workout sessions, can support ATP concentrations to improve recovery and enhance exercise performance. 

Promotes Muscle Synthesis

One of the effects of creatine supplementation is the promotion of muscle protein synthesis. This action supports skeletal muscle health and increases muscle mass with resistance training. 

Specifically, creatine stimulates the synthesis of two contractile proteins, the actin and myosin heavy chains in skeletal muscle. And though creatine can impact the rate of muscle synthesis, it cannot reduce the degradation rate. 

Muscle protein synthesis is linked to muscle damage recovery, especially when induced by exercise. The rate of muscle protein synthesis can impact recovery. Enhancing this process results in an improved recovery process. 

Increases Glycogen Synthesis

Creatine supplementation has been linked to increased glycogen storage and synthesis in the human body.

This attribute of creatine is crucial as glycogen stores in the muscles need to be replenished after intense or prolonged exercise since glycogen acts as the primary fuel source in the muscles. Glycogen activates muscle tissue repair in the body. When stores are low, this results in fatigue, poor performance, and lackadaisical recovery in athletes. 

Protects Against Oxidative Damage

Studies have shown that creatine helps protect the body against oxidative stress and damage. 

The natural antioxidant properties of creatine also prove helpful in demoting oxidative stress placed on the human body. However, more research needs to be done to understand these qualities of creatine better. 

Reducing oxidative stress can promote a faster recovery post-exercise and minimize muscle injuries like muscle strains. Over time, oxidative stress can negatively impact physical health. Decreasing stress on the body actively reduces the risk of potential injury or health concerns. 

How to Boost the Recovery Impact of Creatine Supplementation

Creatine supplementation can do wonders with its benefits, but it’s important to implement other methods to support post-workout recovery. Hydration, stretching, and a well-balanced diet are often overlooked as a form of recovery, which can also boost the effects of creatine’s benefits in the body. Find out more about how to boost the recovery impact of creatine supplementation below! 

Incorporate a Well-Balanced Diet

Although creatine is a popular dietary supplement, it is also naturally synthesized by the human body and can be consumed through food. 

Consuming amino acid-rich foods will naturally boost the production of creatine in the human body. Eating foods high in creatine, like fish, beef, and poultry, will also boost creatine stores and aid recovery. 

Emphasizing a healthy lifestyle by incorporating nutritious whole foods will enhance recovery and physical performance by providing the necessary nutrients for the human body and its different muscle groups. This is especially important after resistance exercise and intense workouts as the body needs to replenish its energy stores to repair the muscles. 

Stretch It Out

Stretching is one of the most overlooked tools that can significantly impact recovery. 

Dynamic stretching pre-exercise and static stretching post-exercise are active methods to prevent injury, strengthen range of motion (ROM), and reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Other methods, such as hot and cold therapy, foam rolling, and massages, are other productive forms of recovery to mitigate soreness, decrease joint pain, and reduce the risk of injury. 

Organize Your Rest Days

The body needs time to rest from physical activity to recover and grow stronger. Without rest, the body will continue being repeatedly damaged without the proper replenishment and repair time, significantly increasing the risk of injury. 

Organizing your rest days will productively provide your body time to replenish, repair, and recover properly. Prioritizing quality sleep, hydrating with water, and eating nutritious foods are all additional components that can influence recovery and should be incorporated on rest and active days regardless. 

Creatine & Recovery – Final Thoughts 

Taking creatine supplements may not actively decrease muscle damage or soreness, but this naturally occurring substance provides support behind the scenes to improve recovery overall. 

Our surveyors noted a positive impact on recovery time and reduced muscle soreness while using creatine supplements. If you’re interested in boosting your  recovery, we recommend giving creatine supplements a try to see how this powerful supplement can support you and your goals. 

Top Creatine Supplements for Muscle Recovery

Creatine supplementation can incredibly impact your fitness progress, from recovery to growth. Here are some of the top creatine supplements for muscle recovery to implement into your routine! 

Transparent Labs Creatine HMB – Best Formula for Muscle & Strength Building

Transparent Labs Creatine HMB Bottle

Overview

Notorious in the supplement world for its dedication to transparency and no hidden ingredients, Transparent Labs boasts only the highest quality in its products! 

Transparent Lab’s creatine HMB supplement is free of artificial ingredients and additives. It boosts endurance, strength, and lean muscle mass while supporting recovery. This is a quality supplement to add to your supplement regimen to promote recovery, boost gains, and improve athletic performance. 

Highlights

  • No artificial sweeteners
  • No artificial coloring
  • No artificial preservatives
  • Gluten-free & Non-GMO
  • There are many delicious flavor options to choose from, including:
    • Blue Raspberry
    • Hawaiian Splash
    • Peach Rings
    • Sour Grape 
  • It incorporates the widely researched creatine monohydrate for its incredible health benefits
  • Benefits from this supplement include:
    • Increased endurance
    • Enhanced strength
    • Promotes lean muscle mass 

Price

PRODUCTAMOUNTPRICING
Transparent Labs Creatine HMB297g/0.65lbs$49.99
Transparent Labs Creatine HMB594g/1.31lbs$89.99

Bottom Line

Do you want to up your progress in and out of the gym? Then this creatine supplement by Transparent Labs has the quality ingredients to support you and your fitness and recovery goals! 

Jacked Factory Creatine Monohydrate – Best for Muscle Recovery & Performance

Jacked Factory Creatine Monohydrate Bottle

Overview

Jacked Factory doesn’t play games when creating supplements that enhance gains and recovery!

This creatine monohydrate supplement by Jacked Factory promotes numerous desirable benefits, from enhanced athletic performance and recovery to strength and muscle growth. Jacked Factory’s unflavored pure creatine monohydrate can easily be mixed into your favorite drink or smoothie so you can control the flavor and reap the recovery benefits! 

Highlights

  • Features 5,000 mg of pure, unflavored creatine monohydrate in each scoop
  • This creatine supplement naturally increases:
    • Powder
    • Strength
    • Endurance 
  • Sold at an affordable price with a 100% hassle-free money-back guarantee 
  • Contains one ingredient:
    • Creatine Monohydrate 
  • This creatine supplement:
    • Boosts strength
    • Supports muscle growth
    • Improves muscle recovery
    • Enhances athletic performance 

Price

PRODUCTAMOUNTPRICING
Jacked Factory Creatine Monohydrate14.99oz/425g$34.99

Bottom Line

Are you ready to up your game by speeding up recovery? Jacked Factory’s creatine monohydrate supplement provides the benefits of pure creatine without hidden or filler ingredients, so you can have less downtime and more grind time to hit your fitness goals! 

Elm & Rye Creatine – Best Supplemental Form Options

Elm & Rye Creatine Packet

Overview

Centering its brand on sustainability and quality ingredients, Elm & Rye guarantees customer satisfaction by third-party testing every one of its products. 

Elm & Rye’s creatine supplements are offered in gummy, powder, and capsule forms, so you can find one that best suits your preferences. Importantly, the gummies do not have an adequate dose of creatine in each serving. However, between the pills and powder forms, you can relish the benefits of improved athletic performance, muscle growth, and recovery. 

Highlights

  • Contains sustainably sourced ingredients
  • This supplement is free from:
    • Gluten
    • Sugar
    • Milk
    • Eggs
    • Fish
    • Crustacean shellfish
    • Tree nuts
    • Wheat
    • Peanuts
    • Soybeans 
  • Each batch is tested in a third-party lab
  • This product promotes:
    • Lean muscle mass
    • Muscle recovery
    • Energy 
    • Better athletic performance 
  • Featured by Forbes, Men’s Journal, & The Salt Lake Tribune 

Price

PRODUCTAMOUNTPRICING
Elm & Rye Creatine CapsulesSingle Pack (30 Servings)$44.99
Elm & Rye Creatine GummiesSingle Pack (60 gummies)$64.99
Elm & Rye Creatine Powder450g/1lb$44.99

Bottom Line

Take your pick of the highest quality creatine by purchasing Elm & Rye’s creatine pills or powder. Reap the recovery and performance benefits of this powerful creatine supplement today! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does creatine help on recovery days?

As creatine supports muscle protein synthesis, taking creatine can be beneficial on recovery days, just like how one’s diet should be prioritized every day, whether it’s an active or recovery day. The same should be said for creatine supplementation. They should be taken daily for active individuals looking to promote benefits from their use. 

Can creatine help with pain? 

Some research has suggested that creatine’s anti-inflammatory and anti-catabolic qualities could be effective in disease-state populations of elevated inflammation like type II diabetes, older adults with sarcopenia, osteoporosis, and exercising individuals. This quality can be productive in reducing pain caused by inflammation. 

Can creatine help with injury recovery? 

One study examining peripheral nerve injury found that creatine was effective in promoting repair through the polarization of macrophages. There is not enough research on creatine and its role in injury recovery to solidify its impact on the body’s healing processes to promote this aspect. 

What happens if I take creatine and don’t workout? 

Honestly, there’s not much of a point in taking creatine if you don’t workout. Though creatine does promote numerous health benefits, many of them are correlated with usage while implementing resistance training to reap more significant progress in muscle growth, recovery, and performance. If you take creatine and don’t workout, there’s not much of an impact.

Kaelyn Buzzo | ISSA CPT & Nutrition Coach

Kaelyn Buzzo | ISSA CPT & Nutrition Coach

I am an ISSA-certified CPT and Nutrition Coach with a BA in Creative Writing and a Minor in Nutrition.

Learn More About Kaelyn

More posts from Kaelyn Buzzo | ISSA CPT & Nutrition Coach

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