CreatineWhen you are at the gym surrounded by people with muscular bodies or robust physique, it is normal to get curious.
“Is he on steroids or multivitamins?”
“Is he working out 8 hours a day or even more?”
“Is he eating all the junk food to gain those extra calories?”
These questions pop up in the mind of all aspiring bodybuilders. But remember all the average Joes started their journey at some point because gaining a substantial amount of muscle is no easy task. It requires proper training, generous amount of effort, a nutritious diet and power-packed supplements. Since there is a lot of information available on the internet regarding the exercise, training, and diet, in this article we will discuss one of the most researched supplements that doesn’t have a lot of published literature about its safety and benefits: Creatine.
Creatine is a type of naturally occurring amino acid. It can be produced by the pancreas, kidney, and liver in the human body or found in food sources such as fish and meat. It is then converted into creatine phosphate or phosphocreatine. These compounds are stored in the muscles and transformed into an energy source called Adenophosphone Triphosphate (ATP) during high-intensity workouts. In simple terms it enables the body to produce energy rapidly.
BenefitsHow exactly does Creatine help your body?
Creatine helps in muscle gain:Apart from Whey protein and BCAA, it is one of the supplements which is very effective in short-term and long-term muscle growth for both untrained individuals and elite athletes. It is also highly effective in elevating your strength, promoting fat-free mass and increasing performance.
Benefits skeletal muscle endurance:As already mentioned before, it converts to phosphocreatine which in turn produces ATP. The increased endurance of skeletal muscle and improvements in the performance is due to this parallel resynthesizes of the ATP while dispensing for the strenuous training.
Positive effects on the brain:It increases brain power by boosting working memory as well as intelligence. The main link between the brain and its augmented brain power is, again, ATP. Increase in amount of ATP in brain boosts brain output and hence, improved cognitive performance.
Improves Cell signaling:It can help in improving the satellite signaling to the muscles. These signals ideally help in repairing the muscles and helping in the growth of new muscles. This regenerating trait is of utmost importance for the bodybuilder to get their ideal type of body!
Promotes cell longevity:Apoptosis is a programmed cell death that occurs in a multicellular organism. It plays a role in reducing apoptosis rates. It preserves cell integrity and promotes cell longevity. To put it simply, Creatine is a Life Extender.
Increases Cell hydration:Creatine is known for its ability to increase the water content within the cell. This causes cell volumization which in turn contributes to volumizing the muscles. But this might act as a side effect too for the bodybuilders who are taking part in any competition and need lean and clear-cut biceps and muscles.
Preserves age-related muscle loss:The ATP produced by Creatine avoids the loss of muscles. Even in old age, it acts in the same method and saves your muscles while spending the currency called ATP.
Side EffectsOf course, it is an amazing supplement. But as it is said, Too much is too bad, Consuming too much of Creatine could pose a few side effects which are not severe, yet should be aware of.
Water Retention:Water retention is inevitable. The water enters the muscle cells along with the Creatine. And the result? You might look a little bulky. But this side effect is not a serious medical issue and it is not long term too.
Stomach Distress:Too much of Creatine might cause stomach or gastrointestinal distress when facilitated with an empty stomach. The remedy to treat this side effect is to increase the intake of food and water when you ingest Creatine and limit the amount of Creatine intake.
Diarrhea:Creatine monohydrate consumed in large quantities can’t be absorbed in the body and this could lead to osmotic diarrhea. The remedy for this side-effect? Take a small dose of Creatine throughout the day instead of one large dose at a time.
TypesNow that you are aware of how Creatine could benefit your physique and your overall health and how it could affect your body if taken in large quantities, it is best to know the types of Creatine available in the market.
The various forms of Creatine are:
Creatine monohydrate:It is the most effective and original form of Creatine. The positives of this form of Creatine is, it boosts muscle development and strengthens muscle recovery. However, the negative element of this form is it is not very soluble in water. Hence, it is difficult to drink this product. The low surface area of this product lowers the amount of absorption into the body to 1%.
Creatine serum:It is the convenient and the regular creatine supplement but it is the most debated one too due to the different results it offers to the different individuals.
Micronized creatine:It is a micronized Creatine monohydrate. This helps in increasing the absorption into the body but it is far more expensive than the original product.
Creatine ethyl este:This Ester attached Creatine molecule facilitates 99% absorption of the Creatine into the body. But the downside of this product is its taste. According to users, it is the worst tasting Creatine ever.
Creatine phosphate:You are already aware of what this is – A converted form of Creatine and as a result, the absorption of this form of Creatine is a lot quicker. Again the downside of this product is its cost.
Creatine Kre-alkaline:This is a type of Creatine where the Creatine is protected from converting into useless products before absorbing into the muscle tissue. Negatively, this is far more expensive than the simple Creatine Monohydrate.
Effervescent creatine:If you want a better tasting creatine and are willing to pay the extra bucks, this is the one for you. This creatine is combined with Sugars or Sodium and as a result, this product creates bubbles when mixed with any liquid.