You’ve probably heard of creatine, but you’re unsure of what it can do for you. You may have friends who frequent the fitness centre to work out and tell you that it has done wonders for them. All of a sudden, you want to know more about creatine and how it can help you achieve you fitness goals. Here is a simple guide which will break down important creatine facts for you.
Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid that’s found in meat and fish, and also made by the human body in the liver, kidneys and pancreas. It is converted into creatine phosphate or phosphocreatine and stored in the muscles, where it is used for energy. During high-intensity, short-duration exercise, such as lifting weights or sprinting, phosphocreatine is converted into ATP, a major source of energy within the human body.
Creatine is considered to be an important component in building powerful muscles. It is one of the most widely-used sports supplements in the market.
Benefits of Creatine
Creatine offers a wide array of benefits for your body. Check them out:
1. Creatine fuels ATP development—this translates to sustained energy and high-powered workouts, more energy for muscle contraction and vastly improved power and muscle size. By taking creatine, you can work out for a longer duration.
2. It stimulates muscle growth—creatine allows you to perform more work in the gym as a result of additional energy. Because of this, increased protein synthesis is stimulated. Increased protein synthesis along with training will lead to muscle growth.
3. Muscle volumization—this means that when your muscles are on the receiving end of creatine, they attract and retain water giving them a fuller appearance.
4. Muscle recovery—there is also scientific evidence that supplementation with creatine causes muscle tears to repair themselves quicker.
5. Cellular energy production—creatine helps protect cells and tissues from damage and injuries. It also lengthens the life span of cells.
6. Treatment of serious diseases—creatine benefits patients who have congestive heart failure. This is because creatine lessens heart spasms and increases the function of the heart.
Creatine also used to treat muscular dystrophy, hardening of the arteries, stroke and other neuromuscular disorders. Moreover, this supplement is also known for treating Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), which is a fatal disease that disables motor neurons (the nerves which send signals from the brain to the skeletal muscles).
7. Cholesterol reduction—what most people don’t know is that creatine plays an active role in balancing your body’s cholesterol needs by lowering the bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol.
How to Take Creatine
The initial stage is known as the creatine loading stage. If you are a new user of creatine, the idea is for you to consume 20-25 grams daily split up into two to four servings for the next seven days. As an example, you can choose to consume 20 grams of creatine today and split that up into four servings of five grams each. This loading phase will speed up your body’s ability to use creatine, and that translates to faster results.
However, you can take creatine at a more leisurely pace and eventually do away with the loading phase if you are not in a hurry to see results. Studies suggest that even if you take a smaller dosage of creatine daily over a longer period of time, you will still get the same results. Ultimately, the choice of whether to load up on creatine or not is up to you.
For those who want to do creatine loading, you will now make the transition to what is known as the maintenance phase. People who choose to begin with smaller doses of creatine can begin with this stage. The suggested amount of creatine in this phase is five to ten grams daily. Start with five if you have never tried it before.
There is a lot of debate going on regarding the best timing for taking in creatine. Most studies suggest that creatine is most effective when taken after a workout.
Creatine is known for not having major side effects but there have been reported cases of weight gain, muscle cramps, muscle strains and pulls, upset stomachs, diarrhea, dizziness, high blood pressure, liver dysfunction and kidney damage among some users. People with high blood pressure as well as kidney and liver diseases should not take creatine. For best results, consult with your physician before you take creatine.
Now you know why creatine is an important component in maintaining a healthy body. By keeping its benefits in mind, you are sure to give your workouts a much-needed boost!