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Creatine is considered a sports supplement staple and is the most popular and commonly used supplement in today’s marketplace. Added strength, quicker muscle building, and faster recovery, the effectiveness of creatine is well known and is backed up by numerous scientific studies. Along with creatine, when used correctly, being completely safe, it’s easy to see why it’s a best-seller.
1. What is Creatine?
The discovery of creatine happened way back in 1835 by a French scientist; he found creatine was a natural component of red meat. Since then creatine has been found to be manufactured within the human body using the amino acids glycine, methionine and arginine. This all happens in the liver, pancreas, and kidneys.
As creatine is produced in the human body and can be consumed when eating red meat it is obvious that it is completely safe. It is also a legal supplement that you will find in every supplement retailer. Supplementing with creatine is needed because although the body does produce creatine it doesn’t do it at a high enough dosage, and it is impossible to eat enough meat to make up for this shortfall because most of the creatine is destroyed while cooking.
- Creatine Monohydrate
- Creatine phosphate
- Creatine citrate
- Creatine Ethyl Ester (CEE)
- Effervescent Creatine
- Micronized Creatine
- Liquid Creatine
- Creatine Capsules
- Creatine with Glutamine
- Creatine with protein
- Creatine with sugar
Creatine is a compound that is involved in the production of energy, which is vital in strenuous workouts, in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The vast majority of the body’s creatine, 90 percent plus, is stored in the skeletal muscles with the remainder being stored in the brain, heart, and testes. Once the body has used creatine it is converted into a waste product called creatinine and then excreted in urine.
2. Creatine Dosage
First and foremost, you have to understand there is no perfect dosage of creatine that is right for everyone. But there are some very good general rules to follow before tweaking your dosage routine to best suit your body. Creatine dosage all depends on the variety of parameters including your body weight, body fat percentage, fitness goals, time of dosage and the intensity of your training.
The most important rule to follow is “Don’t not over the supplement!” Consuming more creatine than is needed to top up your muscular stores will place unwarranted stresses on your kidneys and livers cleansing and detoxification systems. This is also a waste of creatine, and obviously and more importantly, a waste of money.
3. Creatine Loading Phase
The loading phase has a duration of just five days. Its purpose is to quickly fill your muscular creatine stores. During the loading phase, it is recommended to take no more than 0.3 grams of creatine per kilogram of body weight (approximately 2.2 pounds of body weight). It is not recommended to take this amount of creatine in one go, but instead, divide your loading dose into four equal portions to be consumed throughout the day, taking one roughly every four hours.
Don’t load for more than five consecutive days, after this time your muscular creatine stores will have reached their maximum capacity. Once these stores are loaded, any extra creatine ingested will not be absorbed by your muscles but excreted in your urine.
Don’t consume the entire loading does at once. This will not only result in stressing out your kidneys and liver but most of the ingested creatine will be excreted in your urine and not absorbed by your muscles. The latest scientific research shows that the body can only absorb between five and ten grams of creatine at one time, depending on total body muscle mass.
4. Creatine Maintenance Phase
The maintenance phase should last no longer than a month. Its purpose is to maintain a full muscular creatine store; this can be achieved by consuming 0.03 grams of creatine per kilogram of body weight.
5. Creatine Washout Phase
The washout phase allows your body to recover from the abnormally high creatine, for complete washout to occur you should stop supplementing with creatine for at least a month.
Although this three-phased creatine dosage routine is by far the most popular, many people question whether a loading phase is necessary. Well to benefit from creatine supplementation a loading phase isn’t absolutely necessary. Scientific research has shown that supplementing with as little three grams of creatine a day for up to four weeks increases muscle creatine stores to the same level as when employing a loading phase.
Of course leaving out the loading phase avoids the added stress to your kidneys and liver as well as averting incidences of stomach distress. But keeping the loading phase when supplementing has the advantage of muscle volumizing appearing quicker. The choice is yours.
The best time to take your dose of creatine is immediately after your workout as this is when your muscles are most receptive to the anabolic effects of insulin.
6. Effect of Creatine
Creatine promotes muscle growth in the principle ways, by increasing protein synthesis, and by volumizing muscles.
Muscle volumizing is the most rapid form of muscle growth associated with creatine supplementation. It involves the movement of liquids from the blood stream into skeletal muscle, which results in a swelling of the muscle.
Protein synthesis is a process that involves the production of new muscle proteins and will not be realized until later in the creatine supplement cycle. Scientific research indicates that by stimulating muscle volumizing itself will increase protein synthesis, but of greater importance is the extra energy, power and increased exercise capacity that creatine gives, as this will result in increasing protein synthesis.
7. What is Micronized Creatine
Micronized Creatine is simply creatine monohydrate, except being micronized means the creatine particles are finer. These microparticles can be 20 times smaller than regular creatine powder. Micronized creatine is now the standard for most high-end supplement companies.
Micronization increases the surface area of your creatine dosage and therefore results in a complete mix with the beverage you choose to add it to. It also aids in faster absorption into the body, which means less chance of getting stomach upsets as the creatine isn’t sitting in your stomach for long.