I have always been fascinated by Creatine. Not so much by its chemical nature but by the way society sees it and all the common myths that are related to it.
Some of the voices that are circulating around creatine are so ridiculous that I felt morally obliged to publish some hard truths about this amazing substance. So after much research I’ve decided to enlighten the public about the benefits of creatine as well as pointing out its downsides.
All the information I am going to list here are backed up with hard science and you can find more by visiting this website. Let’s get it started!
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Creatine is a “nitrogen organic acid”, or put in simple words an amino acid that is commonly found in red meat and fish…yes you heard me – not a steroid, not a drug, not a hormone, not some magic powder crafted by a wizard…simply an amino acid that you probably ingest daily when you enjoy your steak fillet.
1) Creatine increases strength by supporting the re-production of ATP inside muscles.
If you’re not familiar with the concept, ATP(adenosine tri phosphate) is the main molecule of energy in our body. By breaking the ATP molecule into ADP(adenosine di phosphate) and P(phosphate) energy is released.
It requires that another P molecule, that is donated by CP:Creatin-Phosphate to create a new ATP molecule.
What that means in the real world is that by supplementing creatine we will experience an increase in strength by up to 20%. If you are lifting weight you will be able to complete one or two more reps in every set. If you are a sprinter you will be able to sprint for 120 meters and so on.
It does it by buffering the lactic acid build up inside your muscles. Remember that burning feeling you always feel when you perform ten or more reps? That is the building up of lactic acid inside your muscles.
Creatine delays that feeling by a few seconds every single time. That means it would be beneficial both for sports like weight training or cycling.
3) Creatine increases muscle growth.
It has been proven that creatine draws water inside muscle cells. That increased amount of water makes the muscles look fuller and bigger. It is also shown that by having more water inside muscle cells the hypertrophy rate (muscle growth) is increased dramatically.
This is why people who take creatine look pumped and bigger. This is not to be confused with a bloating feeling but I will explain that later in this article.
4) Creatine increases brain function
The latest research shows that creatine can improve the functioning of our neuro transmitter by speeding up their signalling. That’s pretty useful if you are looking for peak performance and you need to fire your Central Nervous System at its maximum potential.
5) Creatine helps protect from concussions
Last but not least, it has been shown that creatine may help in mitigating damage from concussions of the head in sports like boxing, MMA and rugby. Pretty handy!
Now that I’ve listed the benefits of supplementing creatine let me teach you how it has to be taken properly. Feel free to use this as a practical guideline and share it with your friends.
1) Which formulation
– Creatine monohydrate is the form that has the highest amount of related studies and it has been proven to work best. But there is a gap between science and practical application.
From my personal experience with hundreds of clients I would recommend creatine monohydrate only to people that are very skinny by nature and don’t have the tendency of water retention around their stomach.
If you have by nature “a soft skin” than this kind of creatine may give you some extra water retention and bloating feelings. If you don’t mind a bit of extra water retention than this form of creatine works very well generally and it is almost unexpansive.
– Kre-alkaline: this form of creatine is binded to an alkaline ester to deliver better absorption and gives less stomach discomfort. This is my personal favorite and it never gave anyone I know bloating of any sort.
From my experience it is as effective if not more effective than every other creatine on the market.
– Creatine magnesium-chelate: this formula adds magnesium to the creatine to give a synergetic effect in producing more energy. I highly recommend it too.
2) What dosage?
Creatine is effective with a dose of 5g per day.
3) When should I take it?
Creatine gets absorbed best when we are more insulin sensitive. So definitely after a workout, and if you are having a day off training than you should take it in the morning.
4) With what should I take it?
Creatine receptors are sodium dependent so if you have a very low sodium diet it simply won’t work on you. You can take creatine with 1g of sodium bicarbonate to increase absorption.
It is also a good idea to take creatine together with some sort of high glycemic carbs in your post workout shake. Obviously you can put your Whey proteins, some sugar like Vitargo or Waxymaize and creatine all together and shake it.
5) Should I cycle it?
Yes you should. Creatine stays in the system as long as four weeks so a good idea would be to take it for four months and then have a month off. This has nothing to do with health risks but simply because your body will adapt to it and the effect will gradually decrease.
Downsides of creatine:
More than downsides this section’s purpose is to list some myths you might have heard about creatine. In fact there are no proven studies that creatine has any kind of downside if taken in the dose I recommend (5g/day), assuming that you are well hydrated.
Creatine damages kidneys and liver. There are no studies that relate creatine to liver or kidney damage. The truth is that creatine converts into a waste product called “creatinine”.
This value is a marker of kidney health but the assumption is that you are not assuming extra creatine outside your diet. Therefore a high creatinine level in blood tests will be a FALSE POSITIVE marker of your kidney health.
Creatinine gets simply expelled via the urines and cause no damage to your detoxifying system. There is only one study that proves that creatine may damage your kidneys and it is done on a group of people with only one kidney! Pay attention then, if you only have one kidney do not take creatine.
Creatine does not work. It is proven that 20% of the population is creatine non-responsive. So if you are unlucky creatine won’t work on you.
But before you get desperate I suggest you try all the three forms of creatine I’ve listed before giving up on it. Also remember that creatine is sodium dependent, so it won’t work if you have too low sodium in your diet.
Creatine makes you fat. What people may experience while taking creatine monohydrate is that “fuller” feeling due to intramuscolar water. If you feel bloated from creatine you’re not getting fat.
But In that case I suggest you try Kre-alkaline as an alternative. It also may be a potassium deficiency that’s the true cause of bloating and water retention in your skin rather than creatine.
I hope that by now you have changed your opinion about creatine and you are ready to give it a try because it is really a great and safe product and may take your training to the next level at a very little cost.
And please whenever you hear someone demonizing creatine, laugh in his face and teach him some good sense!