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Should I take Creatine?

Should I take Creatine? – A majority of sports nutrition supplements, as you may have noticed, contain creatine.

Its improving properties on improving muscle mass and strength are why it is a favorite in bodybuilding and fitness supplements.

But how exactly does it do that?

Here’s all you do need to know before you decide on getting the supplement that getting
contains it.

In this article, you get a deeper insight into creatine and muscle gain. There is a thorough explanation of how it works, its uses, legality in professional sports, safety and side effects, dietary sources and how to use creatine for best results.

What is Creatine?

Before embarking on understanding its magical powers, there is a need to understand what it is first. Creatine is one of the chemicals that naturally exist in the human body. Its majorly found in the muscles (95%) as phosphocreatine while the brain, liver and kidneys have 5%.

Your body produces it from amino acids which include arginine and glycine. Its function is to help muscles produce energy during high intensity exercises. Supplementation aims at improving this function in the body by increasing its concentration besides several other benefits.

 

 

Its concentration does vary depending on several factors including:

Eating of meat – Where stores are low in vegetarians

Exercise -Hormone levels of IGF-1 and testosterone

Your muscle mass

Uses of Creatine

Now that you know what it is, it’s now time to focus on its applications. The following are the popular uses and benefits of creatine.

1. Improving Athletic Performance

Most of the sports nutrition supplements contain creatine because of its boosting ability on the athletic performance. Studies done show significant improvement in muscle strength in the users which allowed them to do more high-intensity exercises.

Those who benefit the most include athletes involved in jumping, soccer and rowing. Cycling, sprinting and swimming performance also improve after using a creatine supplement.

2. Increasing Muscle Mass

The ingredient also increases lean muscle mass that is crucial for athletes, bodybuilders and the general fitness community. Adults suffering from age-related muscle loss also benefit from this use.

The above two uses are what this article will focus on; however, there are other uses. These uses include:

• Treatment of creatine deficiency syndromes

• Improvement of brain conditions like Alzheimer’s diseases, Parkinson’s, epilepsy, Ischemic stroke and others

• Lower blood sugars for diabetes patients

• Treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

There is a list of many other health problems for which creatine is helpful.

However, there is a need to take caution and limit the use to those with concrete scientific evidence which are athletic performance and muscle mass unless advised by a doctor.

If you have any of the conditions that you would want to attempt managing using creatine, please consult your doctor and discuss it thoroughly before you decide to start.

How Does it Work?

Why is creatine a powerful ingredient of most supplements? There’s a need to delve deeper into how exactly it works to answer these questions.

There are five ways through which the substance works when used as a supplement.

1. Increases Energy Production

ATP is the in simple terms the energy currency in your body. It drives every process that requires energy in the body from metabolism to muscle function.

The ATP is stored in the body for only about 8 to 10 seconds during high-intensity exercises, and your body will need to make more ATP to sustain it.

That is the reason why you can only do high-intensity exercises like sprinting in a few seconds before burning out. At this maximum intensity, you will be utilizing a lot more ATP than your body can produce.

That is where creatine comes in.
When you supplement with creatine, you can produce new ATP during the high-intensity exercise thus having enough ATP throughout the period.

Creatine does that by increasing your body stores of phosphocreatine which is used to generate new ATP in the high-intensity exercise period.
The result is that you will gain an extra amount of energy that allows you to go further before fatigue finally sets in.

2. Increase in Muscle Cell Water Content

Creatine has been shown to increase the water content of the muscle cells. It stimulates drawing of water from the rest of the body to the muscles. This effect results in swelling or cell volume. The outward appearance is an increase in the muscle mass and size.

Because of the water-drawing properties, you will, therefore, need to drink a lot of water during workouts to keep re hydrated and also avoid hot places during workouts. All these efforts help prevent dehydration.

3. Muscle Growth Hormones

The ingredient also stimulates the increase of muscle growth hormones like IGF-1 which stimulates the formation of new proteins and consequent increase in muscle mass. Therefore, contrary to what many people may believe that creatine increases muscle mass through swelling by water, actual muscle growth also happens.

 

4. Reduction in Muscle Breakdown

Usually, there is a balance between muscle growth and muscle breakdown that maintains a constant muscle size. That happens if you don’t work out and are healthy. The breakdown increases in sickness and starvation. Creatine, when taken as a supplement,reduces the breakdown of muscles.

In studies, athletes who used creatine supplements had less muscle breakdown that those who did not. The result of a reduction in the breakdown is retention of muscle and long-term increase in muscle size.


5. Better Exercise Tolerance

Another interesting finding from studies is that the compound increases exercise tolerance. Those who use it can do more reps and lift heavier weights. The better exercise tolerance directly results in better athletic performance for users.

It also means that its effects are comparable with the outcomes of supplementation with testosterone when it comes to athletic performance.

Is it Legal in Professional Sports?


You may now be wondering whether it is legal to use in professional competitions given its incredible benefits. Yes, it is totally legal, and you can supplement with it without worrying about being disqualified for doping.

It is allowed by:

International Olympic Committee National Collegiate Athletic Association Professional Sports

You, therefore, don’t need to worry about someone raising a red flag during the examination. You can enjoy the benefits of a competitive edge that you get from its use.

The reason why it is not banned is that it is a natural chemical in the human body and also does not magically produce results but requires a sensible exercise routine.

Safety of Creatine

There are 3 things to look at when it comes to the safety of its use, and they include Safe dosage, side effects and contraindications.

Safe Dosages

The established safe dosage levels for the use of creatine supplementation are as follows depending on how quick you need the results and how long you will need to use it.

For quick results, doses of up to 25g per day for up to 14 days are safe and will work within days.

Lower dosages are between 4-5g which are taken daily for up to 18 months.

Slower results but long-term doses of up to lOg taken daily are safe for as long as five years which allows for sustained results for long-term needs.

Always confirm that the dosage is right for you before you start using a supplement. High dosages may cause problems for you, and you will need to avoid them. Read the supplement label before you decide to use it to be sure of the dosages.

Side Effects

creatine muscle

Creatine is a naturally occurring chemical in your body and therefore supplementation with it is highly safe. Most people who have used it have not had any problems. However, some people may experience the following side effects: Nausea, Diarrhea, Muscle cramping

There is a need to use the right creatine supplement and in the proper dosage to prevent the above side effects. However, if side effects occur, you will need to stop using the supplement and see your doctor for advice.

As mentioned earlier, dehydration is due to the water-drawing properties of creatine from the body to the muscles and therefore you will need to hydrate adequately.

Taking enough water before and during exercises will prevent the occurrence of dehydration. Working out in areas that do not have too much heat will also help you avoid dehydration.

Always report any side effects you experience to the place where you got your supplement for product improvement and statistics.

When Should You Not Use Creatine

Although safe for most people, there are groups of people who need to avoid using supplements containing creatine.

They include the following:

Children- although safety levels for children have been established, it is not generally a good idea for children to use the supplements that have creatine.

Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers

There is not enough evidence to back the safety of creatine supplementation in expectant mothers and those who are breastfeeding and is therefore advisable to avoid using it Bipolar patients.

People who have bipolar disorders – may experience manic episodes upon supplementation

Kidney Disease

If you have a kidney disease or conditions that may cause it like diabetes, you will need to avoid using supplements that have creatine.

Parkinson’s

Studies show that combination of caffeine with creatine worsens Parkinson’s and therefore is contraindicated.

If you do belong to any of the above groups, you will need to avoid using the supplements and consult your doctor first.

With all the facts at hand, you can now decide to use the creatine. Currently, the best creatine form is creatine monohydrate. This form is highly effective and also the cheapest option. Supplements containing this form have been shown to be highly effective.

About the dosage, if you settle for a 20 gram daily does, you will need to divide it into four 5-gram servings throughout the day. Daily use for seven days will give you the desired results for the first phase. The next stage includes daily doses of 3-5 grams as a maintenance dose to keep the creatine levels optimal.

You need to note that the creatine supplementation will not work for you unless you have a sensible workout and nutrition plan. It only improves your potential, and therefore a good exercise routine will help you become better in your results. You will need to go an extra mile with the extra energy and strength to achieve the best results.

For you to optimally perform, you will also need to provide your body with the right nutrients. Being careful about what you eat allows you to get better results. Ensure you are ingesting enough proteins, carbohydrates and vitamins and balancing the diet well.

Currently, there are nutrition plans for perfect athletic performance which will help you achieve results.

Vegetarians and individuals with low levels of creatine benefit the most from supplementation and will have the best results when compared to those with normal levels.

Creatine in Diet

Besides the supplements, creatine is also found in several foods. The most common source of creatine is red meat. You will need to include meat in your diet if you need to gain creatine through dieting.

Regular intake of meat is good enough. You may, however, need to balance between the risks of increased meat intake and the better levels of creatine.

Other foods containing creatine include seafood. Once in a while, include seafood in your diet, and you will enjoy the benefits of good creatine levels in your body. Fish and shellfish are good sources.

Other foods containing creatine include seafood. Once in a while, include seafood in your diet, and you will enjoy the benefits of good creatine levels in your body. Fish and shellfish are good sources.

Creatine is also available in pork and poultry. Dairy products and eggs have less creatine content but are still good enough. However, taking creatine through the diet only allows you to have normal levels. If you need slightly elevated levels that will give you a competitive advantage, then you will need to use supplements.

creatine benefits

Choosing the Right Supplement

With every manufacturer claiming their supplement is the best, it may be challenging to select the right supplement. The sad part is that some supplements don’t work at all, but now that FDA does not regulate supplements, most people end up buying them and wasting their money.

To ensure you get a supplement that will work for you, look out for the following:

• Credible manufacturers whose supplement ingredients have a science-based backing

• Real user reviews which are best found in online stores like Amazon and other sites

• Supplements with adequate and accurate bottle labels

Conclusion

Creatine, a natural chemical within the body, dramatically improves athletic performance and muscle mass when used as a supplement. It makes these benefits possible through an increase in energy production and several other mechanisms. Being natural, it is highly safe, and you can use forms like creatine monohydrate to take your bodybuilding and fitness to the next level.

 

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