Why do I need creatine?
Creatine is one of the most popular types of sports nutrition. Regular use of this additive increases the strength of athletes and helps them to gain muscle mass - also due to the fact that creatine causes fluid retention in the muscles, from which they become more voluminous.
An important advantage of creatine is that according to scientific studies and reviews, it can positively influence the level of testosterone( 1).This sports supplement is presented on the market in the form of numerous variations, however, creatine monohydrate wins in the ratio of price to quality.
What is creatine?
In fact, creatine is a molecule obtained by the body from ordinary food or from special sports nutrition, and stores energy in the form of creatine phosphate( 1).During exercise, creatine phosphate acts as an additional source of energy for cells - along with glycogen and ATP.
Creatine does not act instantly - its effect is manifested gradually with regular use, since it has the property of accumulating in the tissues of the body( primarily in the muscular and nervous).The main food source of creatine is meat( about 1-2% of the total mass), eggs and fish( 2).
How does creatine work?
Before the body uses the energy of proteins, fats or carbohydrates, it must convert their calories into a special compound, the ATP molecule, which is the main carrier of energy for the body. Presence of creatine supply in cells reduces the consumption of ATP molecules and accelerates their regeneration( 2).
Also, creatine helps neutralize acids produced by physical activity - this reduces muscle fatigue. Muscles from creatine become more voluminous, as it increases the amount of fluid stored in the sarcoplasm. The total weight gain can be up to 3-5 kg.
Effects of taking creatine
When doing strength exercises, creatine is the primary choice of the body as a source of fast energy. This allows both saving ATP and glycogen stored in muscles - which affects both the strengths and accelerates the processes of muscle recovery after training.
As we mentioned above, the intake of creatine monohydrate can increase testosterone levels in men - one scientific study showed an increase in the level of this hormone by 22% during the first 10 weeks( 4).This fact, again, has a positive effect on muscle growth and weight gain.
What creatine works best?
"Creatine with a transport system" hides the same creatine monohydrate with the addition of carbohydrates and a list of vitamins to create the appearance of a complex composition. There are no advantages to such supplements - we recall that creatine accumulates in the body, and does not act instantaneously.
Advanced forms of creatine are several times more expensive than conventional monohydrate, but do not exceed it in efficiency. Rare benefits of taking kre-Alkalyn( Kre-Alkalyn) may be a decrease in swelling, bloating and unpleasant sensations in the abdomen - a reaction to creatine monohydrate in some people.
How to consume creatine?
Some studies recommend starting the use of creatine from the "loading phase"( up to 25 g per day in the first week), but such a regimen does not have tangible advantages compared with the use of smaller doses - in any case, creatine will start functioning only in a week or two.
It is recommended that athletes take 2-4 grams of creatine daily( 1).It is best to assimilate creatine in the carbohydrate window, and the ideal will be the reception of a heiner( protein-carbohydrate cocktail) and 2-4 g of creatine immediately after the training. At the same time, creatine can be perfectly absorbed without carbohydrates.
Creatine: minuses and side effects
To date, creatine monohydrate is considered the most researched sports supplement. Regular use of doses up to 3 grams per day is categorized by the European Food Safety Agency as "minimal risk of side effects to health"( 5).
However, despite all the safety of creatine, people suffering from chronic diseases( especially asthma and various kinds of food allergies), as well as prescribers, are advised to consult their doctor before taking the supplement.
Creatine is a sports supplement for increasing strength, increasing body weight and muscle volume. To achieve a positive effect, a daily daily intake of 2-4 g of creatine is recommended, preferably after strength training and as part of a carbohydrate-protein cocktail.
- Creatine, An Article at Examine.com, source
- Creatine Content as of Index of Quality of Meat Products, source
- Buford TW, et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation and exercise, source
- Effect of creatine and beta-alanine supplementation on performance and endocrine responses in strength / power athletes, source
- Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to creatine and increase inphysical performance during short-term, high intensity, repeated exercise bouts, source