Creatine is a metabolite found in the body, which is composed of 3 amino acids: 1-methionine, 1-arginine and 1-glycine. It is found in the skeletal system in 2 forms, creatine phosphate and free chemically unbound creatine. Creatine monohydrate has been clinically used in improving plasma creatine concentrations by as much as 50%. Creatine is found naturally in red meats and some types of fish. The biggest reason why creatine supplementation is necessary for some athletes is because the creatine content found in these foods is usually destroyed when cooking the meats. Supplementing with creatine allows the athletes to get the correct dosage and compensate for what is lost when cooking meats.
A sedentary person metabolizes 2 grams of protein per day, which is one of the reasons why creatine has become such a popular supplement for bodybuilders and athletes alike. Research shows this substance to be effective in improving training intensity and recovery. It is able to pass through the gut wall and into the bloodstream intact, and upon entering the muscle cells, is converted into creatine phosphate.
Creatine works while being stored inside the muscle cell and increasing the water that surrounds the cell. This results in increased strength and fuller muscles, which are the desired effects of creatine. This also helps athletes because creatine enhances the body’s ability to produce ATP, which in turn results in faster recovery time between sets and increased weight or workload. Taking creatine also allows the ATP system to be extended longer then 10 seconds. This limit is usually reached because the lactic acid builds up which in turn stop your muscles from contracting. When you change the ATP configuration you can end up working out harder and longer. Another effect of creatine is better pumps during the workout. It has also been shown to help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
One of the other positive benefits of creatine is that the side effects are minimal; in fact most people do not even experience them at all. Sometimes creatine causes upset stomach and excessive gas especially in the first couple of weeks. It is also very important to stay hydrated while taking creatine and to limit the intake of caffeine.
One other note for those interested in taking creatine is what happens after you stop taking it. After a few weeks creatine levels return to normal and your strength will decrease because your ATP is system returns to normal. Fast recovery times also begin to diminish and become longer but this is ultimately inevitable because no one is going to take creatine forever.
The Journal of applied physiology did a study on the benefits of long-term creatine intake during resistance training. They concluded that short-term high dose creatine elevated muscle creatine stores. In addition the study showed that creatine improved a person’s capacity to perform intermittent exercise however this did not affect high intensity or endurance exercise.
The benefits of Creatine have been shown to allow you to exercise longer and harder. It also gives you better pumps during your workout, and faster recovery time. Contrary to what some believe creatine is completely safe to take. As stated earlier the only real side effect is an occasional upset stomach, which is most common when taking creatine with other ingredients. To eliminate this, take Creatine monohydrate and ignore all the ads for these other types of Creatine. There are literally hundreds of creatine products in the market today but there is no miracle supplement and taking creatine with extra ingredients such as dyes and food coloring greatly increases the likelihood of upset stomach, nausea and bloating. If you are looking to gain weight and add muscle mass safely and effectively then creatine along with your high protein diet is going to be the best way to do just that.
Some other benefits of creatine are promotion of lean-muscle mass, reduce muscle wasting in post-surgical patients, increases muscle cell volume by increasing water and increases glycogen re-synthesis. Another often-overlooked aspect of creatine is how it helps in the treatment of various diseases and illnesses. Some of these include treatment of muscle weakness associated with congestive heart failure, treatment of ALS- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and helps treat people suffering from neuromuscular disorders such as muscular dystrophy and stroke.
Creatine is most commonly taken in powder form and mixed with grape juice. There are a few guidelines that should be followed while taking creatine. Creatine can quickly dehydrate a person therefore higher quantities of water are needed to help prevent dehydration and nausea, which are two potential side effects of taking creatine. Creatine is best taken with protein, which will help one’s body to absorb and retain the creatine. Alcohol and caffeine are diuretics and should be limited while taking creatine as this can lead to dehydration faster. Creatine should also not be taken with acidic drinks such as orange juice as this converts creatine into waste products.
An article found in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that overall creatine is a scientifically proven way for athletes to enhance and improve their performance during exercise of high to maximal intensity. It is also shown to greatly help athletes who continually must endure high-intensity exercise.
According to Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise a study concluded that a certain dosage of creatine each day had positive effects on short-term exercise for endurance athletes participating in endurance events. The study was done using triathletes in endurance sports. The athletes were given 6g of creatine per day. The results were that creatine had no effect on the cardiovascular system, oxygen uptake, and blood lactate concentration. Power performance increased greatly but endurance performance did not change.