Among my work duties as a consulting arborist, I also function as the team’s “wellness coordinator.” This is not as in-depth as a true wellness coordinator at a large corporation but gives me a good incentive to keep abreast of the latest health news/research. Within my role as wellness coordinator, I write a small weekly newsletter that I have given the corny, yet descriptive title “Wellness Wednesday.” Topics have ranged from “the health benefits sauna” to “testing your microbiome.”
Last week I wrote a short article about “hydration,” which I expected to be another snoozer simply reminding my fellow arborists to “drink enough water.” What I learned while researching the topic actually quite surprised me.
To very quickly summarize what I learned about hydration, the part of you that needs to be “hydrated” is your cells. Your cells don’t need water per se, they need hydrogen. (Hydrate/Hydrogen, get it?) More specifically, the mitochondria in your cells need hydrogen to produce ATP. (Adenosine triphosphate) ATP allows cells to produce, store and transport energy within your cells, thus powering the cellular power grid of your entire body. This effects endurance, strength, hormones, and cognitive function.
My conclusion: The cellular hydration process and ATP production is very, very, important.
There are many action items that can be implemented as a result of this new revelation, but I wanted to just talk about one here. There is a very inexpensive, widely available supplement call Creatine Monohydrate that’s main function is to up-regulate water to muscle and cells and increase ATP production within cells.
I only knew creatine to be used by weight lifters, who use it to increase power output while weight lifting as well as enhance muscle size due to the increased water being up-regulated to muscle. (Making them SWOL)
With this understanding of creatine, I was surprised to now be seeing it in hydration research.
Seeing creatine now being mentioned in hydration research as well as endorsed by fitness guru Ben Greenfield for non-weightlifters. (Most of my health advice is just a regurgitation of whatever I heard Ben say on his podcast, the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast) I decided to cruise down to my local Whole Foods to pick up a bottle for myself.
Placebo effect aside, I am seeing better running times, increased pull up count, and more muscle mass. (Just added water in muscle tissue, but I’ll take what I can get)
There is plenty of good research on creatine, but a meta-analysis published in 2012 found that Creatine:
- Boosted effects of resistance/weight training.
- Increased benefits and performance of HIIT training.
- Increases performance in endurance exercise.
- Increases muscle mass and possibly neurological function in some test subjects.
Proceed with caution with creatine, or just dive right in because it’s well researched and found to be generally safe. At any rate, I’m not a doctor and this shouldn’t be taken as medical advice.
Also, if you are into this kind of stuff I recommend you check out Ben’s podcast The Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.
Blessings to you all,