Building muscle is a complex process that requires more than pumping weights and eating right. There are a lot of factors that go into building muscle, and one of them is creatine. People looking to improve their physical activity levels, athletic performance, or alter their muscular appearance probably need not search too long before coming across creatine. It is a nitrogenous organic acid naturally found in the muscle cells that plays the important role of supplying energy throughout the body. When ingested as a dietary supplement, it increases the pool of creatine in muscle, therefore improving muscular adaptation and boosting training performance.
Creatine is a widely researched and effective dietary supplement. It is a popular ergogenic aid among professional and recreational athletes, bodybuilders, college athletes, and even high school students, thanks to a growing body of evidence supporting its therapeutic benefits. Furthermore, the popularity of creatine can be linked to its accessibility. Its various forms are obtained easily over the counter at health and fitness stores, supermarkets, and on the Internet.
However, there still exist some reservations over creatine supplements (which is, of course, welcome – nobody should put anything into their body without weighing the benefits and risks). This is why we’ve compiled this article to assist you in clearing the air around creatine. You know we’ve got your back! This article discusses creatine, its sources, mode of action, effectiveness, benefits and how to safely take it. But first,
Creatine is a naturally occurring nitrogenous organic acid that is produced endogenously within the human body and consumed exogenously through food sources such as red meat, fish (particularly salmon), poultry, eggs, and dairy products (such as milk).
It is primarily stored within skeletal muscle tissue – accounting for 95% of its totality – in the form of phosphocreatine. A 70-kg person’s total creatine intake is estimated to be around 120 g. When a part of the body requires energy, creatine supplies it in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the most basic form of energy. With more ATP produced, you get to exercise better. The average human being makes use of 1.5 to 2 per cent of the stored creatine daily. About half of this is replaced through dietary sources, and the remaining is synthesized by the body.
Studies have however reported vegetarians to have lower levels of creatine. They do not eat meat, fish and the like. Their diets have low protein content which the body needs to synthesize creatine. This population, therefore, turns to supplementation to also reap the benefits of creatine.
Creatine is endogenously synthesized from the glycine and arginine amino acids in the liver, kidney, and pancreas. The product of this synthesis is transported to the muscles where creatine is phosphorylated to form phosphocreatine. This accounts for…/ this is the form… and this is what is used to generate ATP used for cellular work. Research has it that Phosphocreatine can only be used for about two to three seconds to produce short bursts of energy. This implies that depletion and reproduction continue as the body demands.
However, it is well-researched that exogenous creatine supplementation strategies can help increase internal phosphocreatine stores by 15–40%. this facilitates more ATP production resulting in various performance-related benefits when used in isolation and in conjunction with structured exercise training programs over time.
The discovery of Creatine is dated back to 1832 and its first use case wasn’t until the 1960s when a professor of exercise biochemistry conducted research on creatine supplementation in elite athletes. His research was believed to have contributed to the Soviet Union’s extraordinary success in the Olympic Games from 1964 through 1994 in the sports of powerlifting, wrestling, and gymnastics. Since then, numerous studies examining the effects of creatine supplementation on physical performance have been published.
Since creatine is a non protein compound, its metabolism leads directly to greater energy gains. Supplementation for as little as three to five days usually give an ergogenic advantage with improvements in exercise capacity, anaerobic capacity, and power, leading to higher levels of performance. When combined with a structured training program, supplementation that lasts for many weeks has been shown to enhance training adaptations, yielding larger gains in strength and lean body mass.
Some other benefits may be derived when creatine is supplemented with other nutrients, such as carbohydrates and/or protein. This combination, according to Chilibeck et al. and Green et al., improves the replenishment of the body’s glycogen stores – an organic compound that induces muscle tissue repair and adaptation. Cooke et al. discovered that creatine supplements assist in the recovery process after intense exercise as well as when recovering from an exercise-induced injury. Overall, individuals experienced less muscle soreness, inflammation and damage.
Kreider et al., in their report, outlined the consistency of these results across genders; equally in adolescents, young adults, and older people. Even vegetarians tend to experience these benefits more than individuals with already high creatine levels.
Quality supplements are good for a healthy body. A cohort of research proves creatine’s safe and effective profile. Thus, if used appropriately (as directed), creatine supplementation delivers on its promise of increased muscle mass and strength. Creatine monohydrate is the most popular form of supplement. It is the most researched and also the least expensive when compared to others (such as creatine ethyl ester, creatine dipeptides, etc.)
In most cases, supplementing with creatine begins with a loading phase in which you take a greater dosage to rapidly raise your phosphocreatine reserves. Take 15-20 grams of creatine every day for 5-7 days to load up on it. Divide this into four 5-gram portions and consume them throughout the day. To sustain high levels in your muscles after the loading period, lower the dose to 3-5 grams per day. While it is not necessary to initially go through the loading phase, it is reported to be the most convenient and safe route of creatine dosage. However, if you decide not to load, you can simply take 3-5 grams daily. This way, it may take 3-4 weeks to optimize your stock. Because creatine draws water into your muscle cells, it is best to take it with a glass of water and keep well hydrated.
Experts and professional organizations do not shy from recommending and promoting creatine supplementation as one of the best ergogenic aids. However, if you are taking creatine, or considering it, discuss it with your physician, who knows your medical history and the type of medications you are on.
As always, stay safe and healthy will allow you to train better and longer, and you won’t have to risk illness pursuing that little edge. For more information, don’t hesitate to contact us.
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