All About Creatine

Creatine is one of the most controversial supplements in the history of health and fitness, though it is a naturally occurring amino acid but gained a bad reputation over the past many years. In this blog, we will try to break the shackles and myths around creatine supplements. Just like BCAA, it is also made up of three amino acids, i.e. Glycine, Methionine, and arginine. A good quantity of creatine is present in dairy, meat, poultry, and fish, mostly in non-vegetarian sources. This is also true you don’t get a huge amount of creatine from meat either, 1.4 to 2.3 grams of creatine per pound of meat. This is why supplementing with creatine for both vegetarian and non-vegetarian folks is a must.

Where is creatine stored?
Over 90% of creatine is stored in skeletal muscle, and the remaining is stored either in the brain, kidney, or the testes. According to a study, an average 70kg young man has a creatine pool of 120g – 140g in the muscle depending upon the muscle fiber distribution and quantity, which means individuals with more muscle will have a bigger pool of creatine.

How creatine is helpful?
Creatine is extremely helpful in two cases, folks who are trying to increase performance, Elderly individuals experiencing muscle loss. ATP (Adenosine Tri-Phosphate) is the energy currency of our body, while performing in the gym the ATP provides potential energy so that you can finish sets/reps. ATP is broken down into two parts, ADP (Adenosine Di-Phosphate) and a Phosphate molecule. Now the free-floating creatine in your bloodstream attaches with the Phosphate molecule and reforms ATP. The depletion of ATP is higher during high-intensity training, and this is why we exhaust it way too early when compared with low-intensity training.

For Example – When you perform reps at heavier loads, your ATP stores deplete faster because more ATPs are needed to create such force.

There is no match to creatine supplements, no other supplement can work as efficiently as creatine monohydrate when it comes to increasing high-intensity training capacity. It is also one of the most researched supplements in the world!!!! Many researchers have confirmed that supplementing creatine with resistance training has shown to increase strength than just resistance training alone. Some studies confirm that these individuals didn’t improve significantly after ingesting creatine for weeks, and many more pieces of research confirmed that athletes have shown significant performance improvement. So if you are consuming creatine supplements either you gain, or you say neutral (which has already been challenged by many studies) but there wouldn’t be any negative performance outcome.

The performance you get after consuming creatine varies from person to person, individuals with lower content of creatine may get more benefits when they would supplement with it. Folks who already have decent creatine stores might not get significant benefits.

Should I load creatine?
It’s not mandatory to load creatine, like I have mentioned before that there are individuals especially vegetarians people whose creatine stores in the muscles are already low, so, loading creatine multiple times a day will increase creatine stores rapidly. It is recommended to a dose of 0.03g per kg of body weight of creatine per day appears to be effective. If you weigh 70Kg then 2.1g of creatine per day can be effective. The loading phase would be 10x of 0.03g per kg of body weight per day. So a 70kg man should load 21g of creatine per day.

If you don’t want to load then consume ~5g of creatine per day! You will eventually fill your creatine stores.

Is it safe to consume Creatine?
This is another misconception about creatine, creatine is considered to be safe even at higher dosages. An experiment conducted by Roger Harris and his colleagues confirmed that there are no side effects seen when creatine was dosed at ~20grams per day. One study also confirmed that there are no adverse effects of creatine in Renal function when dosed ~25g per day, people with a history of kidney diseases should consult a doctor before use, because all these experiments were conducted on healthy individuals only. A very interesting study (PMID: 10449011) finds out that there are no side effects of creatine when dosed for 5 years, the dosage ranged from 1g-20g per day! The sample size (N=9) of the experiment was really small, which makes the claim a little unreliable, but if most of the studies are pointing out SAFE USAGE then we cannot ignore the fact that CREATINE IS 100% SAFE.

1- If you are loading creatine, then there are good chances that you will gain weight as the intracellular water level increases.
2- An increase in strength will contribute to higher training volume, which results in muscle growth.
3- Creatine is not magical, you won’t gain muscle overnight.
4- Higher dosage of creatine is safe.
5- If you are a bodybuilder and planning to get on stage then we advise you to stop the consumption a few weeks before the comp.
6- Creatine is effective in elderly individuals too.
7- Beginners can also consume creatine.
8- Women can also consume creatine, it will not make them manly.
9- Creatine is the king of the supplement line and has zero side effects on healthy individuals.

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