Creatine is one of the most popular supplements among bodybuilders and athletes. It’s been used for decades in sports such as weight lifting, wrestling, boxing, and even in medicine. However, there are some common misconceptions about creatine supplementation that need to be addressed before taking it seriously.
The Benefits of Taking Creatine Supplements:
1) Creatine increases muscle mass (and strength).
2) Creatine improves athletic performance (increases endurance).
3) Creatine reduces fatigue during training.
4) Creatine may help prevent age related degenerative diseases such as osteoporosis.
Why Take Creatine?
Creatine is a naturally occurring compound found in animal products such as meat, fish, eggs, milk and dairy products. It is also present in many vegetables and fruits including spinach, kale, broccoli and cranberries.
It is a highly concentrated form of phosphate which means it contains all three forms of phosphate, phosphoric acid, citric acid and methanol. Phosphate plays an essential role in energy production within cells.
It helps maintain normal cell function and provides the fuel needed for muscle contraction.
Phosphocreatine is another type of stored phosphate that acts like a reserve energy source when not required or available for other functions such as glucose or fatty acids. This type of phosphate is found mainly in muscle tissue and the brain.
Most research on creatine has focused on monohydrate, which is a special form of phosphocreatine that can readily donate its high-energy phosphate groups to regenerate ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the universal energy “currency” of cells. This ultimately results in greater energy production and increased athletic performance.
You can also obtain creatine from foods containing animal flesh and organs, but the amount of creatine you can obtain from this is limited because your body will either use it up in other processes or just excrete it. The only way you can increase the amount of creatine in your body is by taking it in supplement form.
Hence the reason why most people take creatine supplements.
Does Creatine Supplementation Hurt You?
There is no evidence that creatine supplementation has any negative side effects in the short term. It has been proven to be safe for both healthy individuals and people suffering from certain diseases.
However, there are some health risks that have been suggested in rare cases, but more research needs to be done to find out if these are actually valid concerns or not.
There are also some misconceptions about creatine that still persist today. Some people believe that creatine causes dehydration and can lead to cramping or even cause a person to overheat and die.
In reality, there is no evidence that creatine causes cramping or heat-related illnesses. The belief that creatine causes cramping may be due to the fact that when a person takes it, they tend to increase their water intake so they are staying hydrated more than they normally would, which in turn makes them more susceptible to cramping.
Some people are concerned about the safety of taking creatine due to the fact that it has been known to cause kidney and liver damage in some animals. It is important to note that not all animals will suffer these negative effects and there appears to be a dosage-dependent relationship.
In other words, the higher the dosage the greater chance of suffering liver and kidney damage. Due to this fact, many supplement manufacturers have reduced the recommended dosage of creatine.
There are also people who believe that creatine supplementation leads to early onset of osteoarthritis. This has yet to be proven and studies have shown it to have no effect on people suffering from arthritis or any other joint-related diseases.
What Does Creatine Do?
As briefly mentioned before, creatine is normally found in relatively high quantities in animal foods. It is a component of a protein complex called CPK which is involved in the creation of energy. It is also found in smaller quantities in meats as well as fish and seafood.
Nowadays, most people do not eat enough foods containing creatine and it is these people that tend to benefit from creatine supplementation the most. By using a creatine supplement, you bypass eating foods containing creatine and are able to increase your intake of it through supplementation.
How Does Creatine Increase Muscle Mass?
Sources & references used in this article:
Before, After, Or Whenever: The Best Time To Take Creatine by A Bornstein – Bodybuilding. com – bodybuilding.com
Is Creatine Good for You by M Enders – hesca.org
Creatine Dosage by A Franco-Obregón, M Phase – healthystealthy.wordpress.com
Get the Facts: Creatine by A Heilmann – Get the Facts series, 2017 – vtechworks.lib.vt.edu
The Athlete’s Kitchen Exercise, Injuries & Creatine: Updates from ACSM by MS Nancy Clark – wondersofwalking.org
Effect of creatine supplementation and sleep deprivation, with mild exercise, on cognitive and psychomotor performance, mood state, and plasma concentrations of … by RA Bassit, CH da Justa Pinheiro, KF Vitzel… – European journal of …, 2010 – Springer
Does creatine cause bloating, water retention? by T McMorris, RC Harris, J Swain, J Corbett, K Collard… – …, 2006 – Springer