- What is creatine?
- What is the creatine loading phase?
- How does creatine work?
- Uses and benefits of creatine supplement
- Is it safe to use?
If you don’t know what creatine is or how much of it should be used daily and whether to use it at all or not then this article, is just for.
Creatine is one of the most commonly used supplements used in the athletic world.
To improve their performance, many athletes and bodybuilders use various types of drugs and other kinds of supplements. And one of the most effective and widely used supplements is Creatine.
Creatine supplements are used by older athletes to improve their performance and to build their muscle mass. It is also used when a body can’t metabolize creatine fully.
But before going into its usage and whether it is safe to be used or not, first, let’s start with what is creatine?
What is creatine?
Creatine is an organic compound found in vertebrates. About 95% of the creatine produced in our body is stored in the muscles in form of phosphocreatine and 5% of it is stored in the brain.
This phosphocreatine helps in recycling adenosine triphosphate(ATP) which provides energy to the muscles. It is mainly used by athletes to increase their muscle mass and for energy.
ATP is also known as the energy source of cells. This is why it is highly used in order to gain muscle mass, increase energy, enhancing strength, and to improve performance.
What is the creatine loading phase?
The creatine loading phase is the first 5-7 days when a high amount of creatine is taken to super saturate the muscles. Taking creatine loading will enable you to maximize your creatine storage as fast as possible. Which will help you in gaining muscles and improving performance faster than compared to a normal dose produced by your body.
The normal creatine storage in our body varies between 60-80%. But taking creatine supplements will increase it to the maximum which will be beneficial for training and also while performing.
The loading phase is important as it helps to saturate our muscle’s creatine quickly. Avoiding the loading phase can delay the period by several weeks before our creatine storage to become fully saturated.
After the loading phase is completed you can maintain your creatine store by taking small doses of the supplement which may vary from 2-10 grams per day.
The general amount of creatine used is 15-20 grams daily for the first week. This should be distributed throughout the day in 5g. The timing can vary but it is recommended to use before and after workout.
Throughout the loading phase, the dose generally drops to 3g daily. Which means you have to take just one supplement per day. Consuming a high dosage of creatine is not harmful as it is safe to use and will reduce the time of supplementation and experiencing results.
It is also safe to take a 20-30g per day too without any harmful effect on the body. Even if you use a high dose of creatine it is still harmless. Though a few people have reported digestive issues but it is still unusual and rarely happens.
As creatine stores water in our muscle cells, it is recommended that you take it with water and be well hydrated.
How does creatine work?
If you don’t know how creatine works on your body and helps in gaining muscle mass then here it is for you.
Creatine is the most effective way to gain body muscles. It helps in improving your performance as well as your health.
As it has been mentioned before that creatine helps in the production of ATP which provides energy to our muscles helping us in improving our body’s muscle mass.
The primary role of creatine supplement is to increase the amount of phosphocreatine in store. This extra amount is then used to produce more ATP, which is the main source of energy for intensive exercise and athletic works.
Creatine supplement also increases the phosphocreatine stores within the brain, which improves your brain health and also prevents various neurological disorders and diseases.
Uses and benefits of creatine supplement
Creatine supplements are used for various reasons. One of the most common reasons for creatine usage is for improving athletic abilities and to gain muscle mass.
There are many other uses of creatine and some of them are listed below –
Improves your performance-
Creatine supplements are commonly used by athletes and body-builders since it is effective in a high intensity workout.
Creatine helps the body to produce more energy which helps the athletes to work harder and improve their performance.
Increases your body mass
Our body’s muscle mass is related to the amount of creatine in our body. It increases muscle mass by reducing breakdown.
It is also said that creatine helps in holding water which increases the muscle mass.
Helps in recovering/preventing injury
Creatine supplements help in recovery and also prevent injuries that one might get during training or performing.
It also helps to prevent cramping after a long day of workouts.
Improves your brain health
Creatine has also been useful in increasing brain health and also prevents from various neurological diseases.
Helps muscle cells in producing more energy-
Creatine supplements increase phosphocreatine in our muscles. This phosphocreatine then helps to produce more ATP that in turn creates more energy which is then used by us.
Natural sources of creatine:
Some of the natural sources of creatine are-
- Dairy products like milk and cheese
- Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds
- Walnut, Almond, etc
- Beans, peas.
Non-veg sources –
- Salmon, Pork,
- Chicken Breast,
- Tuna, Sausage,
- red meat, fish
Is it safe to use?
Creatine is the most safest supplement to gain muscle and provide energy with no negative effects proven.
Some people have reported having some digestive problems. It is even said the creatine can harm your liver and kidney but nothing has been proven yet.
But people with existing liver or kidney problems should consult a doctor before using these supplements.
People often associate creatine with cramps and dehydration but studies have found it to help reduce the cramps and also help in staying hydrated throughout the day.
Even though nothing is concerning about creatine usage it is still recommended to be used cautiously and not to overuse it. As the long-term effects of taking creatine supplements have still not been found.
Side effects of creatine supplements-
Some of the most common side effects of creatine that has been on the internet are
- Kidney Damage
- Liver Damage
- Weight Gain
- Muscle Cramps
- Digestive Problems
Though none of these have been proven yet, but still some people believe that creatine can cause more harm to our health than benefits. But researchers have found creatine to be a lot more helpful for our health than causing harm to it.
According to the Society of Sports Nutrition, Creatine is one of the best and the most useful supplement for athletes to gain muscles.
Creatine is also used to treat various diseases and health related problems. It is also used to treat neurological problems as well as other health related issues. So it is considered to be one of the best and most effective supplements and is highly used by people all around the world.
Creatine is one of the most cheapest and useful supplements for athletes and sportsmen.
It is also found to be one of the most effective and safest supplements for you to take.
It not only helps in producing muscle mass and energy but is also effective for other health and neurological diseases.
It helps in recovery from injuries and often prevents them from occurring.
Even if there is no side effect scientifically found Creatine is still a chemical and as mentioned before should be used cautiously.