Creatine is one of the most well-researched and tested supplements on the market, and I take it every day, as do several other fitness buffs. Because there are a lot of myths regarding creatine, I’ve condensed the research and separated fact from fiction.
First off, what is creatine?
Creatine is a molecule that is produced in the body from amino acids. Creatine supplies energy to your muscles. Its name comes from the Greek word for meat. About half comes from your diet (in animal-based foods, especially meat and fish); the rest is produced in your liver and kidneys and then delivered to the skeletal muscles for use. Creatine helps to maintain a continuous supply of energy to working muscles by keeping production up in working muscles. Small amounts are also found in your heart, brain, and other tissues.
What does creatine do?
95% of creatine is stored in your body’s skeletal muscle and is used to increase strength and power. Creatine helps athletes do more work over a series of sets leading to more significant gains in strength, muscle mass, and performance.
Creatine has also been shown to enhance recovery, prevent and reduce injury, and improve cognitive function, making a person feel sharper.
These benefits have been shown in adolescents, younger adults, older adults, and men and women.
Is creatine safe, and who should take it?
Creatine is safe for any healthy individual of all ages!
Over 1,000 studies on creatine have been conducted on infants to the elderly at doses ranging from 0.3 to 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day for up to five years.
The research has consistently shown zero adverse health risks and many performance and health benefits. Despite anecdotal claims, no study has demonstrated an increased risk of musculoskeletal injuries, dehydration, muscle cramping, GI upset, or renal dysfunction. The only consistently reported side effect in some individuals is weight gain due to water retention (but again, it is not body fat, it’s water weight).
Supplementing with creatine can increase creatine content in the brain by 5 to 15%. This can help improve working memory, reduce mental fatigue, and increase cognitive performance in response to sleep deprivation.
During pregnancy, creatine supplementation has been found to promote fetal growth, development, and health.
In aging individuals, it can help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, reduce fat accumulation in the liver, enhance glycemic control, minimize bone loss, and more.
And vegans and vegetarians see excellent benefits from taking creatine because they have lower intramuscular creatine storage.
.How do you take creatine?
There are two ways to take creatine.
The first is to load it. Loading creatine saturates your body’s cells more quickly.
This entails ingesting 20 grams of creatine daily for 5–7 days. This dose is typically divided into four 5-gram servings throughout the day.
After the loading phase, you can maintain your creatine stores by taking a lower dose of creatine, which ranges from 2–5 grams daily indefinitely.
But, the truth is, you don’t need to load creatine. You can take a 3-5G per day indefinitely, and within a few weeks, you’ll get all the benefits of creatine.
When should you take it?
Studies show that taking creatine immediately post-workout instead of pre-workout is more beneficial. Taking it with a carb or a carb and protein increases your muscular uptake of creatine.
But, taking creatine consistently is far more important than timing. If you’re more likely to take your creatine consistently at a specific time of day that’s not post-workout, then do it. Taking creatine daily, regardless of timing, will be more beneficial than not taking it.
What brand should you take?:
The brand doesn’t matter; what matters is the type of creatine. You want to get creatine monohydrate because it is less expensive than other forms of creatine and more effective than other forms of creatine, compared to creatine ethyl ester & buffered creatine. These are full-on scams that do NOT work as well as creatine monohydrate.
So why do companies sell them? Because everyone sells creatine monohydrate, it is very inexpensive & unsexy. By hyping up’ new and improved’ creatine, companies can try to charge you more. Don’t fall for it.
Creatine isn’t just for guys. I take creatine monohydrate daily and notice I am stronger and feel sharper. I strongly believe that 5-10 years from now, creatine will be marketed as a health and wellness product for everyone of all ages.
You don’t need to take it, but it is extremely beneficial to anyone that wants to get stronger and build muscle; plus, it’s inexpensive as far as supplements go.