Creatine use - What does it do and how safe is it?

Creatine use - What does it do and how safe is it? EXPLAINED

What is Creatine?

Creatine is a molecule that is naturally present within the body and has been used by athletes for years to improve muscle performance. Creatine Monohydrate is made up of a series of amino acids and the molecule can be found in high concentrations within the bodies muscle tissue. It plays an important role in energy production and cell function, as well as supplying fuel for muscle contractions. 
 
Creatine Molecular Formula
 

What does Creatine do? 

The body produces its own supply of creatine in the liver, kidneys and pancreas. However, the rate of production is limited, and supplementation may be necessary to meet increased demands during periods of increased physical activity. Many people choose to supplement their diets with creatine to increase their overall strength and muscle mass or to reduce fatigue during exercise. In recent years, there has been increasing interest in the use of creatine supplements among younger adults who want to improve their performance in sports such as bodybuilding and powerlifting. The health benefits of supplementing with creatine include improved muscle function and performance, weight loss and increased energy levels.  
 

How safe is Creatine? 

This chemical has been well-researched and has been shown to enhance athletic performance in a number of different ways. It can increase energy levels and help to shorten recovery time after intense exercise. It can also increase muscle strength and endurance, helping you to train harder for longer. 

The benefits of taking creatine as a supplement have been widely studied and a number of different studies (including this one by the highly reputable PubMed Central) have demonstrated significant improvements in strength and performance in test subjects who are taking it. That being said, many people still choose to take general supplements as opposed to pure micronised creatine monohydrate because they are more likely to contain additional nutrients such as vitamins and minerals than that of a pure creatine supplement. If you would like to find out more about creatine, we recommend that you talk to a nutritionist or doctor for advice. 
 

How does creatine work? 

As most people know, the body uses glucose as the primary source of energy for cellular activity including respiration and muscle contractions. However, during the repeated contraction and relaxation of the muscles needed when participating in athletic activities, the limited stores of glucose in the body are depleted and require replenishment from external sources such as food supplements or sugar-rich drinks during exercise (intra-workout drinks). 
When energy is required to build muscle cells or repair tissue, creatine is converted to phosphocreatine (PCr) by a process known as Creatine Kinase (CK). PCr provides an additional source of energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which is used by the muscles to help perform physical tasks such as running or lifting weights. The ATP is then regenerated back to creatine by the enzyme Adenosine Triphosphate Dehydrogenase (A-TPD) during the recovery period.

Jeremy Ethier does a great job explaining how creatine works in this video:
 

How much Creatine should I take? 

Although there is no specific recommended dosage for creatine supplements, most individuals take between 5 and 20 grams per day. ‘Loading’ of Creatine is safe although not essential. Loading is the process of consuming relatively high amounts (approximately 20 grams) for a period of time (usually 1 week) with the aim of quickly saturating muscle fibres. 

Certain health conditions may make it dangerous to take creatine, including kidney disease, liver disease and poorly controlled diabetes. You should consult your doctor before starting a creatine supplement.
 

Creatine – round up.

So, in simple terms, Creatine is already naturally produced within our bodies and is stored in muscle fibres. It helps by providing an extra bit of energy after glucose sources have been used up. In context, it helps to take your muscles that extra mile during training sessions and reduce the on-set of fatigue. Increasing your bodies levels of Creatine through supplementation offers you the ability to exploit your muscles for that additional period of time which in turn means that they will grow quicker, and strength will increase at a faster rate. There is also a small element of increased water retention within muscle fibres, helping the muscles look ‘fuller’. I personally often refer to creatine as ‘the closest, and safest legal alternative to steroids’ and so if you’re serious about fitness – creatine is a must!

If you're interested in learning more about creatine and receiving the best creatine deals directly to your inbox, make sure to sign up to our Newsletter. Alternatively, if you have any additional questions related to creatine, please don't hesitate to get in touch here.


 
By: Ethan Wright | Founder
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