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Creatine

Ever wanted to increase your performance in the gym? Or are you one of those who feel that simply working out (no matter how hard) is not giving you the results you need? If you’re nodding your head to either of these questions, then maybe you need to go in for creatine supplements. But what exactly is it? Basically, creatine supplements are used to enhance your endurance and performance in the gym. As such, it is particularly suitable for athletes, bodybuilders and anyone looking to perform better than they already are.

What is creatine?

Simply put, this is a compound that’s produced in your liver that is responsible for supplying energy to the cells in your muscles. Also known as creatine monohydrate, creatine phosphate, creatine citrate, it is made in the liver out of three amino acids, namely arginine, glycine and methionine. Although 95 per cent of the creatine produced in the body is stored in the liver, the remaining five per cent is stored in other parts including the brain, heart and testes. It is believed that your body needs plenty of carbohydrates and red meat in order to ingest and make use of this creatine. However, it is also a fact that the amount of creatine produced in the body is never enough.

Why go for creatine supplements?

Many people call creatine the king of all performance supplements. This is because it boosts your performance more than any other drug or supplement. It is actually a compound present in your body that supplies it with energy. Unfortunately, with a lot of us, the body does not produce creatine in adequate levels – and this is where a creatine supplement comes in. A creatine supplement is an external source that supplies your body with energy and also increases strength and muscle mass and is available in both pill and powder form.

Although the body produces creatine through amino acids, you can also get it from natural foods such as beef, pork, salmon and tuna. If you’re a vegetarian, your levels can be seriously low as you do not eat creatine-rich foods. In fact, it has been noticed that most non-vegetarians have tested low on this substance too. This is why it is so essential to consume supplements in the body.

Many athletes believe that it is because of supplements that their performance has improved significantly. And since it is not a banned substance, use of creatine is widespread and common, with plenty of musclemen and bodybuilders going for it. Creatine also has a number of benefits, which we shall talk about below.

The best products come from:

1. ON Creatine Powder (Creapure)

2. CellTech Hardcore Pro Series

3. Ultimate Nutrition Creatine Monohydrate

Who should take creatine?

While creatine works well for putting on weight if you are abnormally thin, it is majorly useful for athletes and professional bodybuilders who want to bulk up. And if you thought it was only useful for men, think again. Women can also benefit from creatine as it provides more energy, strength and stamina.

Benefits of creatine supplements

  1. Creatine is a great antioxidant – Your body gets a whole lot of wear-and-tear when you work out. Being an antioxidant, it repairs the muscles effectively and quickly. Besides, it also protects your body against the effects of free radicals.
  2. Creatine is particularly useful to build muscle and provide short bursts of energy – These supplements increase your muscular endurance and strength as well as increasing your energy output when you exercise. As such, they are a healthier alternative to performance-enhancing steroids and prohormones.
  3. Creatine aids in fat loss – This is because these supplements aid in muscle gain. And the more muscle you gain, the lower your fat content will be. Thus, it is an effective tool in losing fat from your body.
  4. Creatine prevents heart disease – It has been conclusively proven that supplements can stall the onset of coronary heart disease as it lowers serum homocysteine levels that are a cause of this disease. With such a large population suffering from heart disease in India, it is only advisable that you go for them.

But while creatine does offer a number of advantages, there are some things that you should be careful of when you’ve been taking supplementation.

  1. Make sure you’re not taking any prescription drugs when you’re regularly taking creatine. These include aminoglycoside antibiotics (Amikacin, tobramycin, Nebcin), immunosuppressant drugs such as cyclosporine and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), and naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve). This is because both these drugs and creatine affect kidney functions and can have an adverse effect on your body if taken together.
  2. Be clear with your doctor about your practice of taking supplements. This is so that he or she doesn’t mistakenly administer any drugs that interfere with the creatine and cause havoc in the body.
  3. Alcohol coupled with creatine supplements is a big no-no as it reduces its benefits as well as bolsters its side-effects. Also, it increases your body’s water retention which in turn leads to weight gain and you have to exercise hard to get rid of the extra flab. Alcohol behaves in a similar manner without providing the benefits of creatine. So why drink at the expense of your body’s health?
  4. Drink lots of water along with creatine intake. A large quantity of water consumed along with the supplements will ensure that it provides you with optimum benefits.

With so many benefits and next-to-nil side-effects, it may be time to give in to this ‘wonder pill’!