Creatine is a body supplement that not only helps your muscle produce more energy but also improves performance in the gym and during exercising.
Moreover, Creatine is naturally produced in the body and is found in muscle cells.
Here, we highlight how to take creatine, when to take it, who should take it and who is exempted, the dosage, side effects, the benefits of this supplement and how it helps in bodybuilding and exercising.
Taking creatine supplement is popular among bodybuilders and athletes. They use this supplement to enhance strength and muscle growth.
How does creatine work?
The science behind creatine is that when your muscles produce more energy with the help of creatine, you will work harder, which will eventually boost your muscle growth.
When your body supplements more creatine, more energy molecules are produced, which make your body work even better.
It is estimated that 95% of the creatine in your body is stored in the muscles, while the remaining 5% is stored in the kidney and liver.
Creatine can also be found in foods like meat and fish, although the heating, cooking or frying process reduces the contents of the creatine.
Intake of creatine supplement main aim is to help muscle growth and help produce more energy in the muscles. This, in return, boosts the intensity and workload during exercising.
Creatine increases phosphocreatine in your muscles. This, in return, produces more energy through Adenosine triphosphate, also known as ATP.
Muscle Building And Creatine
Gaining muscle is a result of the following:
• Protein breakdown – Creatine reduces muscle breakdown, which increases mass; thus, muscle growth
• Increased workload – Creatine enhances workload, which is the number one reason for muscle growth. The more the workload, the more muscle growth.
• Creatine causes an increase in hormones which boost energy and muscle growth
• This supplement enhances muscle recovery, which aids in the growth
These are some of the reasons creatine is popular among sportsmen and women, and bodybuilders. Research done on creatine over the years has indicated a lot of aspects.
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What are the benefits of taking creatine?
Creatine not only boosts muscle growth and performance but also has a lot of health benefits. It is also safe to use a supplement with significant effects.
Due to its effectiveness, creatine boosts speedy muscle growth. Studies have shown that taking creating during a load of the phase of the first two weeks increase body size and weight.
This weight gain is caused by water retention. The weight is usually a result of lean muscle. When used in the long term, muscle fibres grow even further, causing the muscle to grow more.
The phosphocreatine stores created by creatine intake cause the formation of more ATP, which boosts more energy in the muscles. ATP is used faster than it is reproduced in the body.
This is the reason creatine supplement is loved by short distance athletes.
Increase in performance
Creatine enhances energy in the muscles. This alludes to the fact that performance will increase, which could easily lead to more volume, especially with high-intensity exercises.
- Sprint ability
- Muscle growth
- Brain functionality
- Counter fatigue
This supplement can also help reduce fatigue in the body. The research was done on athletes training in high heat and taking creatine. The results came in positive that creatine reduces fatigue.
This same supplement was tested to increase energy levels during fatigue moments in athletes. The result came positive that creatine really increases energy levels during tiredness. All these studies show and prove that this supplement really counters fatigue.
Creatine is believed to help the brain and its functionality in various ways. First of all, some creatine produced by the body is partially stored in the brain. The production of ATP is essential for the brain during stressful situations and strains.
Supplementing with creatine will enable the creation of more phosphocreatine stores which eventually increase dopamine levels.
This alludes to the fact that creatine intake for the aged could easily improve their brain functionality and memory. The same supplement intake can also help prevent neurological diseases like epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease and brain injuries.
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Lower blood sugar levels
Muscle strength involves glucose transportation to the muscles. Intake of creatine supplement may increase the movement of this glucose. This also means more blood sugar is used to create energy in the muscles, thus clearing sugar from the blood. This helps regulate blood sugar levels in return.
Cost-effective and safe to use
Creatine is a cost-effective supplement with numerous results. This supplement is also considered safe to use as it has been heavily researched.
More than 200 years of research has been done, and the studies still continue to date on the long term effects and benefits of this supplement.
How to take creatine?
Creatine supplementation has been proven to improve energy supply to muscle cells during and between workouts.
The best form of creatine to take is creatine monohydrate, which can be used in either beverages or other products such as capsules or energy bars.
The recommended dose per day is 3-5g for best results. It is important to note that creatine can dehydrate the body, so it is necessary to take it with sufficient fluids.
In addition, there are four options of when to take a creatine supplement.
This could be before a workout, after or both. Research has been done to determine if there is the best time to take it, but any of the options is best.
However, some experts claim for maximum benefit, use it both before and after a workout.
But, creatine is not readily assimilated into the muscle. Hence it takes time to saturate the muscle. This means that you have to take it consistently to get it to the required level.
There are two methods of doing this:
The Loading Protocol
In this method, the initial step is to take creatine in high doses for a period of time, a loading phase used to saturate the muscles fully, then shift to a maintenance phase where the creatine intake is reduced to keep it at the required levels.
Low-dose Daily Supplementation
This method requires you to take 3-5 grams of creatine supplement daily consistently for three weeks. This will get your creatine levels in the muscles to the necessary level as the loading protocol.
Who should & Should not take creatine?
Creatine supplement is used all over the world. Different people, both male and female, use this supplement.
Some of the people who commonly use these supplements are:
- Athletes – Many athletes like this supplement because of the explosive power they get after using it. This is especially seen in sprinters.
- Bodybuilders – In bodybuilding, you will need a supplement to boost your body and muscle growth. Creatine is an excellent option since it is affordable and highly effective.
- Elites and beginners – Both elites and beginners, can use this supplement. It is highly effective when used correctly.
Having listed those who can take this supplement, there are those who should NOT take this supplement.
- Anyone under the age of 18
- Those with liver and kidney problems.
- Diabetes patients
- Those who are under medication that affects blood sugar
Should Pregnant Women Take Creatine?
As for pregnant women, even though there is no direct approval from experts on whether pregnant women should take the creatine supplement, it seems safe to use it.
The benefits of creatine can apply to the unborn child too.
Research has shown that creatine can protect the brain, diaphragm and kidney of the unborn from the hypoxic insult that cuts oxygen supply.
If you are considering using it, first consult with your doctor for expert advice.
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Side effects of creatine
Creatine as a supplement has side effects. It is also important to note that creatine works differently in different individuals.
There are those who might see results almost immediately, but others will have to wait for a while before results.
The following are some of the side effects of creatine supplement:
- Weight gain- This happens due to water retention in the muscles and brings the lean muscle.
- Stomach upset- This side effect happens to some individuals and not everyone who uses this supplement. It also occurs mainly during the first stages of intake, usually the loading phase.
- Muscle cramps
- Dehydration, which occurs to many creatine users
Note that, with bloating and stomach upset, this might happen if you ingest more than the required dosage. As indicated earlier, this may occur during the loading phase, which is usually the first two weeks.
There is also a myth that creatine causes baldness. This is a myth and is false information as many studies have been conducted, and results came in negative to show that this is not true.
The research was also done on rugby players who used creatine more and had baldness. It was discovered this was not the cause of their baldness, but genes were the cause.
Many false side effects could arise with different supplements, and creatine is one of them.
Creatine supplement, just like any other supplement, has a limited intake, thus dosage. During the loading phase, which is usually five to seven days, the required dosage is 20 grams.
These grams can be divided into four portions spread out through the day. This can be done to avoid bloating as too much creatine at the same time could cause it.
After the loading phase, 5 to 10 grams of creatine is enough for a day. Three grams daily for 28 days is also another approach. All this is before or after your workouts. This supplement can be mixed with any other supplement or in a glass of water.
The loading phase is necessary in order to help the contents build up in the muscles in a short period of time. Without the loading phase, there could be a delay which might lead to slow progress in performance.
The Bottom Line
Creatine is a highly effective supplement. Be sure to take in lots of water in order to prevent dehydration. It is also essential you feed properly while using creatine in order for your results to be more effective.
Great dieting goes hand in hand with supplements, and creatine is just one of them. After all, you are supplementing your diet.
Are you a beginner who is interested in using creatine as a supplement?
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