Have you ever been to a gym and heard guys there talking about creatine supplementation? I’m sure you have, and I’m also sure you have thought about doing it yourself too. It’s supposed to bring great benefits in strength and muscle mass, so why shouldn’t you, right?
We’ll be talking about the benefits and risks of creatine supplementation here and at the end of this article, you will know all the necessary facts to be able to decide for yourself if you want to use creatine or not.
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What Is Creatine?
Creatine is the best supplement to gain muscles and strength, it’s a must among bodybuilders and anyone who is into fitness. Our body actually produces creatine on its own from the protein we eat, the process is happening in our kidneys and liver. But that is not enough for serious gains and that is where supplementing comes into play. Creatine can be in powdered, liquid, or pill form.
Supplementing with creatine can double your strength and muscle gains when compared to training without creatine. This supplement has no calories and no effect on metabolism, which means you won’t get fat if you use it, even if you don’t exercise.
Creatine makes it possible for the body to produce more energy, it fuels our muscles and increases phosphocreatine stores. Phosphocreatine helps the production of adenosine triphosphate, the molecule our cells use for energy and life functions. When you exercise adenosine triphosphate gets broken down faster than the body can reproduce it, thus your energy and strength diminish.
Creatine supplementation enhances the restoration of adenosine triphosphate much faster and that gives us the ability to perform better. That is very important for HIIT training where high and explosive energy is needed to be able to perform at the levels HIIT training requires.
Creatine has great effectiveness in gaining muscle mass. It also helps our body in the creation of protein from food, very helpful in the recovery after a good workout because the recovery time is when muscles get to be built. The additional benefit that creatine provides is the reduction of myostatin molecules which prevent muscle growth.
Speed Of Muscle Growth
Creatine supplementation is the most effective way in muscle growth, a week of using creatine can significantly increase lean body weight and muscle fiber growth. In a month and a half of good training with the usage of creatine it is possible to gain 4.4 pounds of muscles more than in a training without the usage of creatine, significant, don’t you think?
Creatine And Diseases
Reduction of dopamine is the reason for Parkinson’s disease, creatine can help in this case also because it can prevent 90% of the typical drop in dopamine levels.
Creatine can restore the brain’s phosphocreatine, the cause of Huntington’s disease. Research on animals has shown that creatine can help also in the case of Alzheimer’s disease, ischemic stroke, epilepsy, and brain or spinal cord injuries.
Some research suggests that creatine and exercise have a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels and diabetes. Creatine increases the function of glucose transporter type 4 (GLUT-4).
Creatine plays a major role in brain health and function. Vegetarians often have a problem with that since meat is the main natural source of creatine, consuming creatine supplements can help them a lot.
Creatine supplementation can help a lot with the problem of fatigue, tiredness, and sleep deprivation since it boosts energy and dopamine levels.
Ease Of Use And Price
In addition to the wast number of benefits that creatine provides to its users, there are yet a few others. This supplement is easy to use and it is not expensive, it has a wide selection online and in the stores as well. Creatine is the most researched supplement on the market and numerous studies are showing it is absolutely safe to use it.
Forms Of Creatine
There are two main forms of creatine supplement, pills, and powder. There is also liquid creatine and creatine ethyl ester (CEE). The powder is the way to go because during the loading period it is easier to get to the necessary level of intake. You can use pills too, but you will have to take a ton of them, at least in that loading period.
For better uptake into muscles mix creatine powder with sweet fruit juice, sugar raises insulin levels and that makes the uptake easier. Alternatively, there are products that are already sweetened and flavored for a nicer consuming experience.
The good quality powder has to completely dissolve when you’re mixing it, if there is residue it’s poor quality.
Risks Of Creatine Usage
According to numerous studies, creatine is the safest supplement on the market today. Researchers are continuing to do studies on it to ensure that. There have been some reports of kidney damage, blood sugar concerns, heart problems, muscle cramps, dehydration, diarrhea, in addition to other negative side effects.
But, it has been such a small number of those that it’s even less than with the majority of medications we all use every day. To be on the safe side it is recommended to use creatine only if you are healthy and don’t have any problems with kidneys.
Is It For Everyone?
Well, it is hard to say with absolute certainty. While it is very beneficial for the majority of people, some people are just not getting any results, it is a matter of genetics. But, it’s not that hard to know if it is working or not. If you have been taking it properly for a week and your strength and volume of training haven’t increased at all then you are one of those people that are not responding to this supplement and there is no point to continue to use it.
Also, an important thing to know is that only creatine will not make you get a ton of muscles on its own, your nutrition has to be right and healthy too. If you are eating junk, you will feel and look like junk, that’s just a fact no matter the creatine.
So, in the end, it all comes to exercise regularly, eating healthy natural food, and then taking creatine as a supplement to your nutrition and adding some whey protein to help you in muscle recovery after training.