What is Creatine and will it help you get nearer to your goals? This is a question asked by many people and this article answers it once and for all!
Creatine has a number of benefits which are appealing to anyone interested in building muscle, losing fat or improving athletic performance.
Creatine provides our muscles with more energy so they can contract harder (using more muscle fibres). This additional stress causes our muscles to adapt by growing and becoming bigger and stronger.
The effects of creatine are:
- Increases protein synthesis (the process of muscle building)
- Increase in explosive strength
- Increased muscular endurance before muscle failure
- Increased muscle size due to enhanced hydration
- Increases in lean body mass
This article answers the question “what is creatine” and determines if it’s a worthy supplement for your cold hard cash!
What is Creatine?
Creatine is a compound naturally produced in the kidneys and liver and is made up of the amino acids L-arginine, glycine and L-methionine. Once created it is transported in the blood for use in the muscles where 95% of your body’s creatine ends up.
Half of all creatine stored by your body comes from our diets (primarily meat) which is why vegetarians hoping to gain muscle and strength often supplement with creatine powders and pills.
How Does The Body Use Creatine?
Your muscles store a substance called ATP which provides a short, sharp burst of energy (around 3 seconds) when your muscles contract (e.g. when lifting things!).
Once the ATP has been used your muscles turn to using the creatine stored in your muscles, this is called creatine phosphate. These stores provide an extra 10-20 seconds of energy.
This means you’ll be able to sustain only approx 15–30 seconds of maximum muscular contractions.
When you consider how many seconds a set lasts and how many sets you do its easy to see why increasing creatine levels could be beneficial.
Scientists at Harvard University realised back in 1912 that supplementing with creatine increased the amount stored within the muscles which in term vastly enhanced athletic performance.
Is Creatine safe?
Creatine is possible the single most research bodybuilding supplement there is and it has been proven to be safe in multiple long term studies on healthy individuals.
Millions of bodybuilding enthusiasts have been taking creatine for years with no signs of negative side effects being reported and creatine has long been the number one supplement since its release.
All of this should assure you that creatine is safe to supplement with.
Does Science Support The Effects of Creatine?
As mentioned, creatine has been studied extensively and the good news is that the benefits of creatine are widely accepted as proven.
Here’s some notable conclusions from studies seeking to discover what is creatine and how does it affect your body:
- Creatine use can increase maximum power and performance in high-intensity anaerobic repetitive work (periods of work and rest) by 5 to 15%
- 1 rep max bench press and total body mass increased
- Improved performance in cognitive and memory tests
- Hydrates your muscles to keep them full (even during low carb diets)
- Increased muscle protein synthesis
Types of Creatine
There are many types of creatine all claiming to be better than each other but the most common three are:
- Creatine Monohydrate
- Creatine Hydrochloride (HCL)
- Creatine Ethyl Ester (CEE)
So what’s the difference?
What is Creatine Monohydrate?
Creatine monohydrate is the most common and is cheap as well as effective. It is creatine combined with a molecule of water (hydrate, get it?) and it is the most studied and recommended form of creatine.
What is Creatine Hydrochloride (HCL)?
Creatine HCL is a synthetic variation of creatine containing sarcosine and cynamide and it is said to be 59 times more soluble than creatine monohydrate. The benefit is said to be that you therefore need smaller doses to get the same effect.Usually the price of creatine HCL is more expensive so you usually don’t benefit anyway so I recommend you stick with monohydrate.
What is Creatine Ethyl Ester (CEE)?
CEE is another man made creatine and like creatine HCL it’s said to have higher absorption rates which some claim means no creatine loading phase is required.
However studies show this not to be true and that creatine monohydrate is far superior.
Creatine is the single most researched sports nutrition supplement and it’s been proven multiple times to be effective and safe.
Don’t spend extra money on creatine HCL or CEE, stick with plain old creatine monohydrate and you’ll be fine.
Final verdict: 5/5
The best, low priced supplement for anyone involved in lifting weights who wants guaranteed results for their money.
Return from What is Creatine to Best Diet Supplements
Return to Free Workout Plans For Busy People