- Sports and Recreation»
- Individual Sports
The Effects of Creatine
A Detailed Study of Creatine and its Effects on Human Body
Creatine is a substance that is usually found in living organisms, and in the human it’s concentrated in themuscles. Creatineiscomposedofthreeamino acids:arginine,glycineand methionine. The liver has the ability to mix up these 3 substances in order to produce creatine. Another great source of creatine comes from food products (meat, fish, etc).A man of 70Kg has about 120 grams of creatine in his body.
What is the main purpose of creatine?
Creatine is a source of energy for the muscles.
This source of energy comes from a substance called ATP. Whenever muscles cells use up this substance (ATP), another chemical is formed (ADP). Creatine has the role of transforming ADP back into ATP, and thus providing the cell energy it needs.
Creatine makes the muscles retain more water and increase in size. This, however, does not increase the strength with the same ratio.
It counters the storage of the lacticacid
After a period of physical exercises, the muscles create “the lactic acid”, a substance that can reduce the endurance of a person. You probably have experienced it after doing a lot of exercises at the gym (it can feel like a muscle burn). Recent studies have shown that creatine can partly prevent this from happening. The same effects are produced bybetaalanine.
Creatine can accelerate the process of protein creation in your body and helps reduce their use. This makes you more efficient and can improve your strength
Not only stronger, but taller
It was observed that 20 grams of creatine can stimulate the secretion of 80% more growth hormones that normally. This worked only for young people, and it’s now suggested by doctors for kids which are short of stature.
Creatine can also reduce the level of badcholesterolandtriglycerides. These substances are responsible forcardiac and circulatory diseases.
Are the 120g produced by the body sufficient?
If you have a normal lifestyle they can be, but if you work out and do many exercises then your body will ask for more. The whole philosophy behind the creatine supplements takes into account the fact, that the reserves of creatine in our muscles are limited. Taking creatine gives the muscles more energy, and if the muscle is used more frequently, it becomes bigger and stronger.
The excessive creative in the body is transformed by the kidneys into a substance that is eliminated thoroughurination. This process uses the kidneys so, it’s not recommended for people that have problems with it. A high level of creatine is normal for athletes, but a small quantity means that the person has some health problems.
The creatine industry
Creatine is the highest sold product to athletes. In 1998, total sold value of creatine products was $200 million. Nowadays, creatine is even more popular and total sales exceed $2billlion. The success can be explained by good advertising campaigns and real benefits.
These benefits are mainly related to higher endurance, which can make you less tired during physical exercises. This makes you to better work your muscles and to increase their strength.
Do we need to practice in order to make the use of creatine more efficient?
Creatine lets you work more, but doesn’t work your muscles for you. This is the starting point were many sales people wrongly inform the consumer. There are other important elements like nutrition, practice, etc that must be taken into account. The most important effect of creatine is a higher endurance. It allows you to practice often, thus working your muscles more, and developing them faster.
The energetic effects of creatine use come from just after the pills are taken. The increase in muscles comes after several days and muscle growth starts only after a couple of month of practice. It can also depend on the metabolism of the person and frequency of doing physical exercises.
In what forms does creatine come?
Creatine can come aspowder(mostpopular),liquid,pill,gumoreffervescentpowder.
It is the most used form of creatine. It is mixed with watercarbohydratesor juices and it’s drinkable. It is the cheapest form, but it has its disadvantages:
- A strange taste that can only be eliminated usingmicronizedcreatine
- A somewhat inefficient absorption rate 40%. Therefore, if you take 4g you will get only 2g in your blood.
- A rare side effect is stomach problem (indigestion).
- Makes you thirsty. It is known that creatine absorbs a lot of water and you should drink regularly.
- It can be harder to take an exact quantity of substance because it is hard to measure the quantity of powder with a spoon.
The main advantages are:
- Price – the best
- It is easy to take and requires only water
- It’s been tested and approved
The biggest advantage of taking liquid creatine is its efficiency (65%), but it’s also more expensive. This method also can turn your creatine into another product that is useless for the body. Only a few tested companies proved that the liquid contains only creatine. Therefore, it’s better not to buy it.
These pills have the same effect as powder. They are easier to take and you don’t need to mix them with water and other substances. You can have them with you at any moment in a special pillbox. The dosage can be a disadvantage because the pills may be of 5g and you would want to take only 3g.
Bubble gum with creatine
When you chew the bubble gum, the creatine in it releases gradually which becomes dissolved with saliva and can be absorbed by the body directly from the place under your tongue. The advantage is that it has better absorption rates (75%).
Creatine as Effervescent Powder
It’s the most efficient with 90% absorption rates. It is also packed with other energizing substances, like those used in Red Bull.
Which form is the best?
It all depends on your priorities: the best price is of creatine powder while the most efficient is effervescent creatine. No matter what you take, you must ask for the purity. Some merchants sell cheap creatine, but you only get half of the real substance. It’s recommended to take creatine with over 90% purity.
Types of creatine
There areseveraltypesofcreatine:monohydrate creatine,phosphatecreatine(the form thatisstoredinmuscles),citratecreatine,pyruvatecreatine,ethylatedcreatine,etc.Every year new combinations are made. Some argue for citrate creatine that has an absorption rate of 90% as opposed tomonohydrate creatinewhich has only 50%. The supporters ofphosphatecreatineargue that this is the form used by the body, and thus this is what people should take. There hasn’t been a conclusive study which is the best, but the most used one iscreatinemonohydrate
Creatine and Health Issues
Creatine is a safe product if people don’t take more quantities then needed. On the short term the creatine has been proved to be safe and there are rare cases with minor side effects such as stomach problems and dehydration. The side effects can be avoided if they are taken with a lot of water. Creatine doesn’t make you impotent and doesn’t affect your state of mind.
There aren’t long-term effects either, but creatine can interact with certain pharmaceutical products and can be stressful for a weak kidney. To avoid the kidney problem you should always take the recommended dose.
You must take the minimum necessary quantity for improving your performance and muscle gain. If you double de dosage you won’t be able to increase your muscle mass with the same rate. The recommended amount that a person should take is 5g-6g workout. If you take a more efficient form, then you should take a smaller amount.
Other substances can improve the efficiency of creatine. The most used substance is dextrose (40g for 5g of creatine), which should be taken 20 minutes after creatine, because it has faster effects. You can also take juices that contain sugar. Other substances that increase the insulin level can help, but should be taken by people that have low amounts of insulin in their body.
Your body shouldn’t be given creatine all the time. It is recommended that you take a week brake after one month of usage. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Creatine should be taken 15 minutes before the workout and it stays in your body for 2 hours. Therefore, you should work harder during those 2 hours and then take a brake.
Alcohol shouldn’t be taken with creatine because it lowers the effects. You can also get hurt in the gym if you handle weights after drinking… Also coffee reduces the creatine effect.
How to maintain results
People that take creatine must not suddenly stop working out or taking creatine. If you want to stop using creatine, but maintain the same muscular mass, you should gradually decrease the quantity of creatine taken and increase the gym time. If you don’t work out and don’t take creatine for more than 3 months your muscles will become as they were before you started taking creatine.
The rules of taken creatine are:
- 5g daily dosage for maintaining your creatine level
- At least a daily walk in the park to maintain physical activity
- Take daily: simplecarbs(20-90g)andproteins(10-50g)improvescreatineabsorption,at leastinthe first daysofadministration. Also alphalipoicacid(ALA),taurine,ribose,beta-alanine,can alsohelp improving the efficiency.
- Creatine should be taken before the workout. In the days that you take a brake, you can take it anytime of the day.
- It is useless to combine creatine with natural juices
- Never take more than the recommended dosage.