What Is Creatine?
Creatine is an organic compound glycine, arginine, and methionine are the three amino acids that compose creatine.
At a biochemical level, creatine serves as an neccessary part of the ATP-CP (Creatine Phosphate) energy system, also known as the phosphagen system. In layman's terms, this system is used for powering short duration, high-intensity movements such as weightlifting, sprinting, and jumping. Additionally, Creatine is used to regenerate ADP into ATP resulting in a delay in fatigue and an improvement in exercise performance.
Why Should I Take It?
Creatine is naturally produced by our body in small amounts. It is also found in animal-based protein sources such as red meat. The problem is that the amount between what our body produces and obtains through food is relatively low, which is why supplementation is suggested. Vegetarian and vegan athletes can greatly benefit from creatine supplementation because of dietary deficiencies. Populations that also participate in sports involving high intensity running and movements (track,football,basketball, weightlifting) could see substantial benefits from supplementation.
Even if you are not an athlete, creatine supplementation results in improved body composition, increased strength, and brain boosting performance. As a result, creatine may be an excellent option for any and everyone with athletic or just simply general health goals.
Does Creatine Cause Muscle Cramps?
A common myth surrounding creatine is the idea that it increases risk of muscle cramps or injuries. In fact, it's been observed that creatine may actually contribute to reducing muscle cramping and injuries.
Is Creatine Bad For Your Kidneys?
There is the common misconception that creatine is bad for your kidneys. This could be because of the confusion between creatine and creatinine, which is a metabolic byproduct. Studies have found that creatine is perfectly safe with no negative changes in renal biomarkers, unless a preexisting disorder has not been identified.
Is Creatine A Steroid?
No! Steroids are in a totally different category of performance enhancing substances and while creatine is capable of improving athletic performance, it is not a performance-enhancing drug or anabolic steroid.
Is Creatine Recommended For Females?
Creatine has been found to have positive effects in both male and female populations. Deciding whether or not you should take creatine has less to do with your gender and more to do with your goals. If you are trying to improve your strength, power, and body composition, creatine is certainly worth considering. With that being said women have shown in some cases to have a better response to creatine.
Which Form of Creatine Is The Best (Monohydrate, Ethyl Ester, HCL, etc.)?
Creatine monohydrate still appears to be the best for results. It also typically happens to be the least expensive version as well. If water retention is an issue perhaps Creatine HCL would benefit you more if you can stand the taste of that particular form.
How Do I Take Creatine?
Most research suggests 3-5 grams a day, but there is emerging research indicating the actual dosage may be more dependent on the person's body weight. Some thoughts are that taking creatine post-workout appears to produce better results. I would say though for general nutrition purposes I would have a scoop first thing in the morning with your favorite fruit juice (Orange Juice is mine) since it may have better absorption rates when taken with a simple carbohydrate drink. Suggestions by some is also to do a “loading phase” of 20 grams a day for 5-10 days and then reduce the dosage to 5 grams daily. Personally, I do not see this as necessary and just having the 5 grams of creatine monohydrate daily will do the trick.
Is There A Brand You Recommend?
I like Nutrabio's unflavored creatine. But any pure creatine should do the trick.