One of the most common sports supplements used by athletes and bodybuilders is the powerful supplement Creatine. It is responsible for an individual’s muscle development which in turn results in massive gains as well as leaner and stronger physique.
We are all looking for that one nutrition and fitness supplement which will enable us to get positive results fast with next to no downside!
With all the buzz surrounding the potency of creatine supplements in producing significant muscle gains, you may be wondering if this supplement can actually live up to its hype. Gaining an understanding on how creatine supplements work in the body will definitely help you in making an informed decision and you’re in the right place.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is a three amino acid peptide that was initially discovered as part of the energy systems on a cellular level. Through time and curiosity, serious body builders discovered that creatine was actually very useful in enhancing muscle building capabilities.
The finding was so groundbreaking that news circulated around the bodybuilding community like wild fire, so much so that creatine became and, is still a very integral part of muscle building. It is one of the first non-steroid types of anabolic ever found. A great number of bodybuilders include creatine in its many forms into their diet or workout regimen.
How Creatine Works:
Creatine is an energy supplement that body builders use to build lean muscle. Creatine in small concentrations can be found in food items such as fish, chicken, and beef. Creatine is also produced naturally by the human body, specifically by the liver, as it drives muscle contractions by fueling ATP, which is what produces energy in the muscle. ATP (otherwise known as high energy molecules) contains three strong phosphates, wherein when one of the phosphates break through, bodybuilders can expect a surge of energy production. Creatine functions to replace the phosphates and induces muscle growth. Supplemental creatine increases the sheer volume of available fuel that powers ATP in the muscles.
Creatine and Exercise
Since ATP is depleted during intense workouts, the supplementation of creatine will prove itself to be crucial. With this conclusion, you can see that creatine will be of little to no use for individuals looking to improve their endurance only, but will prove to be highly useful when performing anaerobic activities found in weight training and resistance training.
Benefits of Taking Creatine
Creatine supplementation, with the end result of boosting one’s ability and strength, can lead a person to gain increased endurance to stand the rigors of body building. Furthermore, in taking this supplement, a person can improve performance and efficiency in working out, as he will be able to work out all body parts with great ease and flow. Creatine also promotes anti-ageing as people lose muscles and strength through the years.
Creatine and its medicinal properties
People with neurological conditions such as neurosclerosis and Parkinson’s disease can greatly benefit in taking creatine, as their nerves are strengthened and nourished adequately. Creatine will not cure the disease but it will help them function better and ultimately slow down the ugly effects brought about by the disease. The same effect goes for people with congestive heart failure, where creatine helps to strengthen the heart by enhancing the heart’s muscle. People who have suffered from bone fractures can benefit from creatine supplementation. Creatine helps rebuild the muscle during healing while ensuring integrity and flexibility in joints.
Creatine also helps those who suffer Type 2 diabetes as it promotes glucose formation and regulation, thus loss of vision and kidney damage are greatly reduced altogether.
Creatine and the Brain
Medical research studies discovered that creatine features brain-stimulating properties, too. Older adults were introduced to creatine supplementation and showed significant improvements in mental functioning with continued intake. Scientists entered nursing homes where there are many old people who are suffering from motor and mental degeneration. The scientists added creatine to their diet and assessed changes that may be a result of creatine supplementation. The findings pointed out that before the addition of creatine to their diet, the subjects tested poorly in basic mental functions such as that of solving crossword puzzles. After the addition of creatine to their diet, the subjects show improvement in their mental overall mental functioning.
Another test that scientists conducted was done to younger people who suffered from brain damage. After the addition of creatine to their diet and upon careful observation, some symptoms of brain damage disappeared overtime.
Creatine has also been tested on mice suffering from brain damage. Results reveal that creatine helped in shrinking the damaged brain cells in mice.
In creatine supplementation, there are two phases: namely loading phase and maintenance period. As the name implies, the loading phase simply means to nourish the muscles with creatine by taking up to 300 grams per day. It is crucial to provide large doses of fluids during the loading phase by taking water or non-acidic fruit juice into the equation. The loading period typically runs from four to seven days which is then followed by regular intake of up to 15 grams of creatine per day that which is called the maintenance period. There is no need to add more creatine after the loading phase, as the first seven days are already saturated with creatine. The creatine levels will remain high so long as you stay physically active, performing weight training routines on a daily basis.
There are two ways on how you wish to continue supplementation:
Cycling – this process involves the intake of up to 15 grams of creatine supplementation for six weeks and then a two week break before starting a new loading phase.
Non-stop supplementation – there is no two-week break therefore this process involves six weeks of maintenance and then a loading phase on the seventh week followed by six weeks maintenance and so forth.
Creatine Powder or Pill
Creatine comes in powder and pill form. The choice between the two will depend on your lifestyle and personal preference. However, fitness experts recommend bodybuilders to take it in powder form for faster absorption which in turn leads to better results.
*Individual results may vary. Please speak with your doctor or physician before undertaking any new weight reduction, supplement, or exercise regime.
[Updated: February 2019]
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