is made up of the three amino acids: arginine, glycine and methionine. Our body produces creatine (it is made in the liver) and we also can get creatine from our diet. At any given time the average person has about 120 grams of creatine stored in their body. However, the human body only produces about 3 grams per day, naturally.
Studies have shown that creatine supplements can provide additional energy for your muscles, volumize muscle cells and buffer lactic acid build-up. As you can see all of the above are very beneficial to anyone who is working out. Let's examine each point in a little more detail...
In your body you have an energy containing compound called ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate). What is important to know about ATP is that the body can very quickly get energy from a ATP reaction. You have other sources of energy such as carbohydrates and fat - but they take longer to convert into a useable energy source. When you are doing an intense quick burst activity such as lifting a weight or sprinting, your muscles use ATP for a quick burst of energy.
In order for ATP to release its energy it must give up a phosphate molecule and become ADP (adenosine di-phosphate). Unfortunately, we do not have an endless supply of ATP. In fact, your muscles only contain enough ATP to last about 10-15 seconds at maximum exertion.
Here is where the creatine comes in to play. When creatine enters the muscles it bonds with a phosphate and becomes creatine phosphate (CP). CP is able to react with the ADP in your body and turn "useless" ADP back into the "super useful" energy source - ATP. More ATP in your body means more fuel for your muscles.
This is the process by which creatine provides more energy for your muscles.
Volumization of your muscles
Creatine also pulls water into your muscle cells. This gives you a "pumped" look because your muscles have expanded with the increase of water that is trapped in your muscles.
Buffer lactic acid build-up
We all know that terrible burning you get in your muscles when you reach the fatigue point. New research has shown that creatine can help buffer lactic acid that builds-up in the muscles during exercise.
Creatine is found in foods such as meat, chicken and fish - but you would need to eat a very unhealthy amount of those foods to get 5 grams of creatine a day. By taking a creatine supplement you are able to increase your creatine levels without overdosing on foods that are very high in fat and calories.
There is a vast amount of research that indicates that taking 5 grams of creatine a day is not dangerous to your health. While there is the need for more long term studies, new studies have shown that creatine does not have long term negative effects.
On November 12, 1999 at the 19th Annual Southwest American College of Sports Medicine Meeting, two long term creatine studies were presented from the Exercise & Sport Nutrition Lab at the University of Memphis*. Both studies showed that 9 months of creatine supplementation (taking an average of 5 grams per day) in athletes had no negative effects on markers of renal function or muscle and liver enzymes in comparison to athletes not taking creatine.
You should always consult with your doctor before starting any new supplementation program. Also remember too much of anything can be dangerous. Taking 20 grams of creatine a day for a long period of time can lead to medical problems with your liver and kidneys.
Most people do not have any problems with creatine. Some people can get an upset stomach and/or diarrhea. You should always make sure to drink plenty of water to avoid any chance of dehydration.
The Best Creatine Monohydrate
is a molecule of creatine bound to a water molecule. Creatine Monohydrate is actually made up of 88% "free creatine" and 12% water. You can not take just "free creatine" - it needs to be bound to something. Creatine Monohydrate is the most popular and effective way to supplement with creatine.
Studies have shown that the best way to get creatine absorbed into the muscles is by spiking the insulin levels. For this reason, we recommend you mix creatine with a grape juice or some other drink that has sugar. Stay away from citrus juices as they may effect the creatine.
We find it is best to take it at least 1 hour before your workout. Most people take creatine everyday - even on the days they do not workout. Studies are divided on if this is necessary. Many of our customers report good results just taking it on days that they workout. Others still swear by taking it everyday. In either case, do not worry if you miss a few days - your creatine levels will quickly rebuild.
Creatine is most beneficial for any quick burst activities (weight lifting, sprinting, etc.). Creatine is not as beneficial for endurance sports (marathons, swimming, etc.). Creatine does help buffer lactic acid buildup - which is good for endurance sports. However, the quick energy burst effect of creatine will not come into play as much with endurance sports.