What is Creatine and How Does it Work?

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“What is Creatine?" and "How to take Creatine?” are commonly asked by people who take creatine supplements or are confused with creatine myths.

Creatine supplements are consumed by many bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts. Be it professional bodybuilding, or intense sports or just being a fitness freak, creatine is quite commonly used in its various forms. But many are many creatine myths that confuse people on how to take creatine and how does it work. Many also debate about it’s Creatine benefits and it’s side effects.

Let’s have a look at some important information on understanding what is Creatine and how does it work. And we will throw light on Creatine benefits and side effects in another upcoming article.


What is Creatine?

Creatine is a natural source of energy for muscle contraction. Found in human body, creatine helps for the supply of energy to muscle. The body produces creatine in liver, kidney and pancreas. Fish and meat are also good sources of producing creatine. 
Creatine is commonly sold as powders, liquids, tablets, capsules, energy bars, fruit-flavored chews and drink mixes.

Different forms of creatine

There are different forms in which Creatine supplements are available: 

  1. Creatine HydroChloride
  2. Creatine Monohydrate
  3. Creatine Blends
  4. Creatine Ethyl Ester

 

Creatine - Bodybuilding and Sports

Image Source: Bodybuilding.com


What does Creatine Do?

In a human body, creatine is stored in skeletal muscle and is consumed during the physical activity. Apart from that creatine is also used by heart, brain, and other tissues.
According to a research, when creatine supplement is consumed a body is expected to generate and enhance the energy levels of a human muscle at a faster pace. In early 1920’s, scientist discovered that eating large amounts of creatine may lead to higher storage within the muscle mass.
Creatine can also be termed as ‘energy boosting’ supplement used to enhance the athletic performance of athletes, bodybuilder, weight lifters, sprinters etc. 


How Does Creatine Work?

During a workout or any kind of physical activity, blood transports creatine to our muscles. An enzyme called Creatine Kinase works on ADP (Adenosine Di Phosphate) and converts it to ATP (Adenosine Tri Phosphate) or energy.
Consumption of creatine helps to produce more of Phospho Creatine which is stored in muscle. During a workout, these two i.e. Creatine Kinase + Phospho Creatine, combine to make more of ATP out of ADP or energy, helping you for a more strenuous activity.

In 2010, a study revealed that an 8 week cycle of creatine with continuous workout results in lower myostatin levels in the body. Myostatin is a protein that limits the growth of skeletal muscle.

In 2009, a study experimented that a 7 day loading cycle, followed by a 14 day maintenance cycle, led to increased DHT (dihydrotestosterone) levels. This DHT is usually synthesized in the body via testosterone (usually 5% of testosterone is converted to DHT) and is a more potent androgen.

There are numerous other studies also that have demonstrated the relevance of Creatine. 

How to take Creatine?

Image Source: T-nation.com


How to take Creatine?

There have been different opinions on when to take Creatine. The truth is that Creatine supplements should be taken as per requirement and as advised by your trainer. There is no one particular time at which everyone should take creatine for better creatine benefits. 
And as far as the question of “How much creatine should I take?” is concerned - 
Creatine supplements should be taken only under the supervision of a doctor. Take 5g of creatine monohydrate, 4 times daily (20s total daily) for 2 to 5 days. Maintenance dose in exercise performance (for adults ages 19 and older): Take 2g daily. For best results take it with carbohydrate foods, such as fruits, fruit juices, and starches.

Stay tuned for the upcoming article on Creatine Benefits and Side Effects.

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