Creatine is the most popular aid for athletes, it seems that everyone that lifts weights is consuming creatine. It has great benefits, one the most researched supplements and it’s beneficial in many aspects of health and sport like resistance, muscle growth and more. But not all need it and will get a benefit from it, so let's get into basics and see if creatine is you.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is a nonessential nutrient, it's consumed throug out the diet, you can mostly find it in meats and fish and you can also consume by supplementing.
We store creatine in the muscle and forms phosphorylated , this helps provide energy to muscle when exercising, When supplementing this will help to perform better at resistance exercises.
The most common is creatine monohydrate, the difference with creatine micronized is minimal, the molecule of creatine monohydrate has been micronized or divided into smaller molecules to increase absorption and reduce stomach discomfort.
MUSCLE BENEFITS. Creatine consumption mixed with an adequate training and meal plan helps with increasing muscle strength,endurance and muscle size.
MUSCLE RECOVERY, if your muscle is disused because of an injury or immobilization, will help maintain a percentage of muscle where decrease in creatine and muscle is typical.
PERFORMANCE. Helps to have a better performance and endurance during your exercise.
Other health benefits.
BRAIN HEALTH, consuming creatine has been shown to improve cognitive processing, reduce damage, enhance recovery in any traumatic brain injury, help with emotional distress, memory and a protector possible
METABOLIC BENEFITS. If consumed regularly creatine will help to regulate glucose levels by stimulating insulin sensitivity and promoting glycogen synthesis.
oTHER. Hospitalized patients with sarcopenia will benefit from regular consumption. As well, it has been shown there will be potentially benefits on pregnancy support, fertility treatments in depression, etc.
There are many benefits of the consumption of creatine and it should be always mixed with an adequate meal plan, exercise and adequate rest to see any benefits.
Weight water gain , there will be a weight gain that's around1 to 2 kg of water retention. This is normal when consuming creatine and might not help in performance depending on the sports.
Stomach discomfort. The most common creatine is monohydrate but it may cause discomfort, so another option in creatine micronized witch is more scarce. And things that you can do to reduce the effect: Split the dose, longer loading protocol and avoidance of high fiber food with the ingestion of creatine.
Not for people with low consumption of water or kidney problems
Is it for me?
Even though everyone is taking it and recommending it, not everyone will benefit, It's more recommended when you have do:
High Intensity workouts
Sports with repeated high intensity efforts like team sports or racquet sports.
High intensity sprints efforts in the end of the endurance exercise
It's recommended to benefit your health and recommended by a nutritionist or doctor.
How should I take creatine?
With a MEAL. Creatine is insulin mediated so it has a better absorption when consuming after a meal.
30 Minutes before. The best combination is fruit or sugar or cereal + yogurt or meat or cheese or milk + creatine.
Mix well and don’t let it rest. When consuming, mix just with water or yogurt. If you mix it with a juice or other supplements it must be consumed immediately, when mixed don’t let rest much time in a high level temperature this will have an effect on the pH levels converting creatine to creatinine, discarting by kidneys and providing no benefit.
How much should I take?
There two basic recommendation when you want to start supplementing with creatine
Creatine loading. For the first 5 days you will consume 5 g of creatine (standard measurement in supplements) 4 times a day. On the rest of the days you will consume a single dose daily (even if you don’t work out that day) around 3 - 5 g a day.
Maintenance consumption. This is more simple, during the time you are planning on consuming creatine you will consume a 5 gr donde daily before working, out mixed with water or food daily, even if you don’t workout.
There is a formula to now how much your body need depending on your weight:
( 0.3 g creatine * kg body mass ), this will result in how much you will consume during a day divided by 3 to 4 doses on the day, this will be done for 5 days.
Example: a 60 kg man will have to take 18 grams of creatine each day, divided on 4 doses he will take around 4.5 grams of creatine on each dose.
Then for the rest of the time you are planning on consuming creatine you will follow the maintenance formula.
(0.03 g creatine * kg body mass) this will result in how much creatine you have to consume according to your weight daily.
Example: a 60 kg man will have to take 1.8 grams of creatine daily.
Is my Creatine real?
There are also to many creatine brand now a days, so to know if the creatine you have is the real deal, here is a simple list to know:
So as we saw, creatine has many benefits on health and sports. And before starting taking any creatine it should be reviewed by your nutritionist or doctor. Remember it's a supplement it's not a miracle or magic pill, to see better benefits it should be convinced with exercise and a meal plan.