Creatine is a natural substance found in meat and fish. It helps build muscle mass and improve athletic performance.
There are two types of creatine: Creatine monohydrate and Creatine HCL. Both are safe and effective.
The recommended dosage varies depending on whether you are taking creatine for strength training or bodybuilding purposes. So, what exactly is creatine?
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is an organic compound that occurs naturally in foods such as beef, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, fish, shellfish, eggs, milk, and cheese.
In addition, it can be synthesized from l-arginine (a non-essential amino acid) using arginine kinase.
How Does Creatine Work?
Creatine is used by muscles during exercise to produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the energy source required for muscular contraction.
During intense physical activity, your muscles use creatine to convert into phosphocreatine, which stores large amounts of chemical energy in the form of adenosine diphosphate (ADP).
This allows you to continue exercising longer than if you were not consuming creatine.
When you stop exercising, your muscles will release their stored creatine back into your bloodstream.
Your liver then converts this creatine into creatinine, another waste product.
However, most of the creatine remains in the muscle cells where it is converted back into phosphocreatine.
Benefits Of Creatine
Creatine has been shown to increase lean muscle mass, endurance, power output, speed, and agility. It also improves recovery time after strenuous workouts when taken before, during and after exercise.
In one study, athletes who took creatine supplements experienced greater gains in muscle size and strength compared with those who did not.
In another study, participants who consumed creatine had increased levels of free fatty acids in their blood. These fats are released from fat tissue during periods of intense exercise.
As long as these fats remain in the bloodstream, they may contribute to weight gain. However, studies have shown that creatine supplementation does not cause any adverse effects related to high levels of free fatty acids.
Here are some of the documented benefits of creatine supplementation:
Enhanced Athletic Performance
The amount of creatine needed depends on the type of sport being performed. Bodybuilders typically consume 2 grams per day, whereas strength trainers usually consume 5 grams per day.
Improved Performance In Strength Training
For maximum benefits, creatine should be taken at least 30 minutes prior to a workout.
Studies show that ingesting 10 grams of creatine just before performing a set of squats increases squatting performance by about 20%.
Studies show that creatine ingestion can improve the rate at which muscles grow.
One study found that supplementing with 8 grams of creatine daily for 12 weeks resulted in significant increases in lean muscle mass.
Another study showed that 6 grams of creatine daily for 3 months significantly improved body composition measurements.
Increased Muscle Mass
Studies indicate that creatine helps build muscle mass. One study found that supplementing with creatine resulted in significant increases in both leg and arm muscle mass.
Creatine helps replenish depleted energy reserves in the muscles following a workout. Therefore, it is important to consume creatine immediately after a workout.
Some research suggests that creatine may help reduce appetite and promote fat loss.
A recent study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine & Physical Fitness found that men taking creatine lost more weight than those who did not.
The researchers concluded that creatine could potentially be an effective tool for weight loss. 3 grams of creatine a day would be a sufficient dose for weight loss.
Studies indicate that cycling performance is enhanced by ingesting 6 grams of creatine 30 minutes before each ride.
While there is no evidence that creatine helps healthy aging, research suggests that older adults can benefit from creatine supplementation.
In fact, some experts believe that creatine could help prevent or delay age-related conditions such as osteoporosis and sarcopenia.
Creatine is an important nutrient for brain health. Research shows that it supports brain cell growth and function. It may also reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
Creatine plays a key role in maintaining normal cardiac function. It improves muscle contractility and oxygen uptake.
It has been used successfully to treat patients suffering from heart failure.
Muscle Strength & Endurance
Creatine is essential for building strong muscles and increasing endurance. It enhances the body's ability to store energy and recover faster between workouts.
Research indicates that creatine may play a role in reducing appetite and promoting weight loss.
However, more studies need to be conducted to determine whether creatine supplements will aid in weight loss efforts.
Side Effects Of Creatine
How Much Creatine Should I Take?
So, how much creatine should you take? Have a look at our dosage guidelines below.
2–5 grams daily
Avoid use if you have any of the following health conditions:
Kidney disease, heart failure or congestive heart failure, diabetes, and gout.
Do not exceed recommended dosage. Avoid alcohol. Do not use it if you are pregnant or nursing.
Consult your physician before using this product if you have any medical condition.
Keep all medications and vitamins away from your mouth. Store in the original container.
Creatine is one of the most popular sports nutrition products on the market today. While many athletes swear by its benefits, others find it ineffective.
There is currently insufficient scientific evidence to support claims that creatine increases strength, power output, speed, stamina, or recovery time.
However, research does show that creatine may improve athletic performance in certain situations. For example, it may enhance sprinting, jumping, and throwing events.
Athletes who want to increase their muscle mass may benefit from creatine. However, those looking to build lean muscle mass may not see results with creatine alone.