About Creatine 101
Creatine has been extensively researched as one of the most effective supplements available in the market today. So what is creatine? Is it safe? Could it be used by all athletes, or only bodybuilders? All these questions and more will be answered in this article.
What is creatine?
Creatine is an amino acid–like compound that is formed of three amino acids: L-arginine, L-methionine, and Glycine and produced in the liver, kidney, pancreas, and the brain. Athletes, body builders, and military personnel use creatine to increase strength, enhance muscle mass, and improve performance of high-intensity exercises.
Creatine-rich foods are exclusively meat, fish and dairies, but we would need to consume about 500 g of raw meat daily to ingest the optimal amount of creatine, which makes it more popular as a supplement between gym goers and athletes. While all athletes can benefit from creatine supplementation, vegans and vegetarians receive even more benefits.
What does creatine do?
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the most basic form of energy in the body’s cells. It plays an important role in muscle functioning and metabolism. Creatine helps the body to generate ATP and therefore enables an increase in physical performance in successive bursts of short-term, high-intensity exercises.
Safety and side effects
When used orally at appropriate doses, creatine is likely safe to take. Many studies have shown that it may cause water retention but luckily, the water retention happens in your muscles, so it actually makes you look a bit bigger, so there is nothing to worry about.
How should I take creatine?
Researches suggest that a creatine loading phase followed by a maintenance phase can rapidly increase your creatine stores, allowing you to get the benefits faster. What does that mean? A loading phase is simply loading your muscles with creatine by consuming 15-20g of creatine for the first 5-7 days. After having your muscles drowned with creatine, taking 5g of creatine is recommended during the maintenance phase.
Drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming overheated or dehydrated, and seek the advice of your doctor or your practitioner who is trained in the use of herbal supplements and use them as directed on the package. Do not use more of creatine than the recommended dose; High doses may cause harmful effects on your liver, heart or kidneys.