It is a substance found in the bodies of animals and humans.
Creatine is not considered a dangerous drug, and it is not a steroid.
Creatine is a nitrogenous organic acid found primarily in skeletal muscle that helps muscles get the energy they need to contract.
Your body makes about 1 to 2 grams of creatine per day from amino acids, and in general, your body is made up of about 1% creatine.
You also take creatine every time you eat meat from other animals, such as beef, chicken, or pork. The higher the percentage of creatine in a piece of meat, the higher the quality.
Of course, the creatine you buy as a supplement is manufactured synthetically in a laboratory. Still, its molecular profile matches that found in the body, and as we will see, it is pretty safe to take.
To understand what creatine does, you need to know a little about the cellular energy cycle. All the cells in your body run on adenosine triphosphate or ATP. When you walk, you are using ATP.
ATP can be produced in three ways:
Through oxygen-dependent metabolism using fatty acids (oxidation). This is how most of the ATP you use throughout the day is created. When you breathe, oxidation converts fatty acids to ATP.
Through non-oxygen-dependent glucose metabolism (glycolysis). If you are doing strenuous exercise like running or lifting weights, your body switches from oxidizing fat cells to produce ATP to burning glycogen/carbohydrates to replenish ATP stores.
Glycolysis produces large amounts of ATP, but the accumulation of hydrogen and lactate ions makes their production unsustainable for long periods.
By recycling previously-stored ATP. This is the most crucial ATP production mechanism.
When ATP transfers energy to cells, one phosphate is broken down and converted to adenosine diphosphate (ADP).
The more creatine you have in your system, the more ADP can be recycled into ATP. The more ATP you have, the more weight you can lift or the faster you can run. Creatine, therefore, can help you get bigger, stronger, and quicker.
Not all nutritional supplements are created equal. Most of the things sold as magic muscle and strength builders are a total waste of money.
But one supplement has been intensively studied for the past 35 years and consistently shown to be safe and effective – that’s creatine.
Creatine is, in fact, one of the best-researched nutritional supplements on the market.
Below are some of the benefits that studies have shown come from this supplement:
Creatine can help you get stronger.
Several studies have shown that creatine supplementation produces strength gains. In a meta-analysis of 22 studies on creatine, researchers found that people who use it show an 8% increase in strength compared to those who don’t.
Creatine can help your muscles grow bigger.
Creatine makes your muscles look more prominent, while it makes them more significant too. First, creatine causes muscle cells to store more water, making forces appear more prominent and fuller.
You may notice that the size increases a few days or weeks after starting creatine supplementation. Keep in mind that if you are looking to lose weight in preparation for a wrestling weigh-in, this water retention may not be something you want.
The other way creatine can help your muscles grow to help you lift heavier weights with more volume. Over time, your muscles will grow from this increased intensity.
Creatine can help you speed up faster.
Research has found that creatine supplementation can increase running speed.
So if you want to be faster, you can supplement with creatine.
Creatine can speed recovery.
Intense exercise causes your muscle fibers to tear and creates inflammation. Some research suggests that creatine supplementation can reduce cell damage and inflammation during intense training, speeding recovery.
The faster you can recover, the quicker you can achieve those profit goals.
Creatine can help strengthen your brain.
While most of your body’s creatine resides in your muscles, smaller amounts are also found in your testicles and brain.
It takes a lot of energy to fuel your brain, and, just like your muscles, that energy transfer takes place through ATP. Creatine has been found to play an essential role in ATP levels in the brain.
One study found that higher concentrations of creatine in the brain resulted in improved mental performance and that this concentration can be increased substantially through supplementation.
Creatine is less expensive.
Creatine is more effective than almost all other supplements; it is also much cheaper.
Creatine is safe.
After 35 years of testing in babies, athletes and adults. Creatine is entirely safe, even after years of use. It will not harm your kidneys or liver. It does not cause dehydration. The only problem you may have is nausea or diarrhea, but that only happens if you take too much.
How to take creatine
Creatine is a safe, very beneficial, and cheap supplement. If you regularly engage in intense athletic training, there is no reason not to supplement with creatine.
Here are answers to some of the most common questions people have about getting started with this supplement:
What Kind of Creatine Should I Take?
Different types of creatine are marketed and sold. Stick with creatine monohydrate. It’s the cheapest, and it’s the kind proven to work.
How much creatine should I take per day?
It would be easy to think that “if creatine helps me recycle ATP, the more creatine I have in my body, the better.” But that is wrong. Your muscles can only process and store much of it.
There are all kinds of answers to that question. The standard daily dose recommended by companies that sell creatine is 5 grams per day.
Other sources recommend customizing the creatine dosage based on body weight. The most common recommended dose is .03 g of creatine per 1 kg of body. So if you weigh 200 pounds, your daily dose would be 2.72 g of creatine per day (90.7 kilograms of x .03 g).
Can I get enough creatine from eating meat without supplements?
It is possible, but to get the recommended dose of 5 grams of creatine per day, you need to eat about 2 pounds of beef or 3 pounds of chicken.
Should I start taking creatine by doing a “loading phase”?
Your muscles can store approximately 3 grams of creatine per kilogram of lean muscle mass.
So if you’re a 200-pound guy, your body can store around 272g of creatine in your muscles.
However, that is a potential if you have ingested enough creatine to saturate them to that level.
With this in mind, companies that sell creatine powder recommend that when you start taking it, you start with a ‘loading phase’ that involves taking a high dose of 20 grams per day (taken four times a day in 5g doses). For a week or two.
Once your muscles have been “saturated” with creatine, you go into a “maintenance phase” in which you take the usual of the day, 5 g.
While it is true that a loading phase will saturate your muscles with creatine quickly, it may not be necessary.
Research has shown that taking 3-5g a day from the start will eventually result in creatine saturation. It just takes longer for saturation to occur.
So whether you charge or not is up to you. Mega-dosing during the loading phase will not cause ill effects, except for some nausea or diarrhea.
Should I take creatine forever?
You don’t need to take creatine forever. You can stop supplementing anytime you want. But the creatine levels in your muscles will start to deplete about two weeks after you stop taking it.
In 4-6 weeks, the extra creatine will be completely removed from your muscles, and your body will return to producing its baseline level of 1-2 grams per day.
According to one study, even when continuing to supplement with 2g per day of creatine after a loading phase, instead of the recommended 5, the creatine in participants’ muscles still fell to baseline levels within two weeks due to their routine strenuous exercise.