We always try to find new things that can help us boost up our fitness regime. You can get several kinds of supplements that can amplify your fitness needs but nothing is better than something your body can naturally build up. Now, what is that substance? How does it work for our body?
Creatine is a substance that is naturally formed in muscle cells. Its main purpose is to help your muscle produce the much-needed energy during heavy lifting or high-intensity exercise. It is considered the best supplement for improving your performance in the gym among athletes and bodybuilders to gain muscle, enhance strength and improve exercise performance.
Apart from this, it has other health benefits like shielding itself against neurological disease. It has several similarities with amino acids as your body produces it from amino acids glycine and arginine.
Your body’s creatine storage is affected by many factors like meat intake, exercise, amount of muscle mass, and levels of hormones like testosterone and IGF-1. Our body stores around 95% of the creatine in our muscles in the form of phosphocreatine, the remaining 5% is present in your brain, kidney, and liver. You can increase the stores of phosphocreatine by taking your supplement.
ATP is a high-energy molecule produced with the help of a kind of stored energy in the cells. Also known as the body’s energy currency, ATP can provide more energy and help you do better in the gym.
It is understandable to raise a question with such an amazing substance as few people find it unsafe with several side effects. However, these claims are based on a lack of evidence and are considered one of the best most tested supplements in the whole wide world.
If you are still confused about it then let’s explore this article. We at HealthLink.News will try to provide in-depth details about creatine making it more explicable.
Creatine is believed to be efficient for cramps and dehydration. It also promotes hair loss. Therefore, people who are already suffering from hair loss should avoid it.
Creatine is great for vegetarians and older adults.
How does it work?
Creatine is best for improving health and athletic performance in quite a few ways.
It increases the phosphocreatine stores in your muscle during high-intensity exercises. If you have more creatine stored in the body than requires then you can produce more ATP.
Creatine also helps you gain muscle in the following ways:
- Boosted workload: Creatine enables the amount of work or degree of training in a single session, which is vital in long-term muscle growth.
- Improved cell signaling: It is capable of increasing satellite cell signaling, that can repair your muscle and provide aid for new muscle growth.
- Raised anabolic hormones: According to some resources after consuming creatine, it is seen a significant rise in hormones like IGF-1.
- Increased cell hydration: It is great to boost up water content within your muscle cells that leads to a cell volumization effect, a vital component for muscle growth.
- Reduced protein breakdown: Possible for an increase in total muscle mass by reducing muscle breakdown.
- Lower myostatin levels: A protein called myostatin, when elevated can slow down or stop muscle growth. However, if you consume creatine supplements then you can reduce the level and see a potential increase in growth.
It is proven that creatine is beneficial not only for muscle growth or building a new muscle but also increases the phosphocreatine stores in your brain, that it is effective in making your brain healthier preventing any neurological diseases.
Effects on muscle gain
The efficiency of creatine does not only limit itself to short-term muscle growth but also long-term muscle growth.
Creatine is widely used by different people consisting of sedentary individuals, older adults, and elite athletes. A 14-week study that took place in older adults reflects that combining creatine with their weight training program significantly increased the strength in their leg muscle mass.
According to a 12-week study, it was concluded that creatine increased muscle fiber growth 2-3 times more than training itself in weightlifters. The higher level in total body mass also doubled alongside one-rep max for bench press which is a common strength exercise.
Effects on strength and exercise performance
If you are looking for improving your workout or strength then creatine is great for you. It provides strength, power, high-intensity exercise performance.
These outstanding benefits occur due to the body’s increased capacity to produce ATP. ATP tends to deplete after 8-10 seconds of high-intensity activity, however with the aid of creatine your body produces more ATP that can make your optimal performance lasts longer.
As per some studies, you can increase your strength by adding creatine to your training program. It was concluded that creatine was successful; in increasing strength by 8%, weightlifting performance by 14%, and bench press one-rep max by up to 43%, compared to training itself.
With 28 days of consuming supplements, elite athletes could increase their bike-sprinting performance by 15% and bench-press performance by 6%.
What impact does it have on your brain?
Our brain is also capable of storing phosphocreatine like our muscles, it requires lots of ATP for most advantageous function.
Creatine supplement may improve the following conditions:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Ischemic stroke
- Brain or spinal cord injuries
- Motor neuron disease
- Memory and brain function in older adults
Creatine is considered beneficial for treating neurological disease with some great potential, however, the test and study is only conducted on animals till now.
Creatine is proven to be effective in children affected by any traumatic brain injury. The study conducted was for six weeks and it was concluded that it was efficient by 70% reduction in fatigue and a 50% reduction in dizziness.
Vegetarians are a bit unlucky as they usually have low creatine stores as they consume creatine sources like meat which is the key natural dietary source. Creatine is not only excellent for vegetarians but also for older adults and others who are at risk of neurological diseases.
Around 20% improvement in intelligence test scores and 50% improvement in a memory test were observed in vegetarians when they consumed the supplement.
Creatine is best to reduce symptoms and slow the progression of few neurological diseases. It works efficiently for older adults and those with reduced stores; creatine exhibits no effect on brain function in healthy adults.
Other Health Benefits
Research also reflects that creatine may:
- Lower blood sugar levels
- Improve muscle function and quality of life in older adults
- Help treat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
However, more research in these areas is considered necessary.
Different Types of Supplements
Creatine has its kind and the best form of creatine you can consume is creatine monohydrate which has been researched and tested for decades.
Creatine has other forms as well but comparatively creatine monohydrate tops the list, though others are promoted profoundly. Till now no subsequent claims have risen so it can be considered the best option. It is a cheap and efficient option.
Dosage varies from person to person as all kind of body works differently. If you are new to the supplement and you begin with the loading phase then you can see a rapid increase in muscle stores of creatine. To load creatine commence with the consumption of 20 grams each day for 5-7 days which is vital to be split into four 5-gram servings throughout the day.
Intake of carb- or protein-based meals can improve the absorption significantly when insulin releases.
If you wish to maintain your muscle, then continue taking 3-5 grams each day after the loading period.
If the loading phase is not for you then you do not need to worry as you can take a dose of 3-5 grams each day but it will take around 3-4 weeks longer than the loading phase to maximize the stores.
Hydration is the most important if you are consuming creatine as it pulls water into your muscles. Therefore always stay hydrated and take creatine with a glass of water.
Safety and side effects
Creatine is a fantastic supplement that is most researched and tested with no negative marking in 4 years of research.
No evidence of any harm to the liver and kidney in healthy people was found with an intake of moderate doses. However, if a person has some liver or kidney problem history then consulting a doctor is most suitable for them before consuming it.
In a study, it was revealed there was not even a single adverse effect in 52 blood markers with a follow-up of 21 months of intake of creatine supplement.
Apart from dehydration and cramps, no side effects are exhibited by creatine. However, studies have suggested the opposite fact that it reduces cramps and dehydration during endurance exercise in high heat.
“HealthLink.news does not have any intention to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide its users and/ or the general public with information to better understand their health. All content (including text, graphics, images, information, etc.) provided herein is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, care, diagnosis, or treatment. HealthLink.news makes no representation and assumes no responsibility/ liability for the accuracy of the information, advice, diagnosis, treatment provided herein or on its website. NEVER DISREGARD PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY IN SEEKING TREATMENT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ IT HERE OR ACCESSED THROUGH THE HealthLink.news WEBSITE.”