Creatine, a widely researched supplement, is a molecule that is produced in the body from amino acids. It’s mostly made within the liver and, to a lesser extent, in the kidneys and pancreas. It stores high-energy phosphate groups in the form of a molecule called phosphocreatine which is then donated to ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate), regenerating it to ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate), the primary energy source in the body. This role in energy production is needed during situations of high energy demand, such as intense physical activity and has many asking can athletes benefit from creatine.
- An improvement in strength and power during resistance exercise.
- Creatine may modestly increase lean mass.
- A small improvement in anaerobic performance.
- A reduction in mental fatigue has been seen in various situations, such as demanding mental activity, sleep deprivation and brain injury.
- Creatine may improve working memory.
Creatine is a great addition to your supplement stack for an overall performance increase and people generally interested in improving their lifestyle.
Its side effect profile is low and not many side effects have been reported.
Creatine increases the levels of creatinine in the body, which is commonly a marker for poor kidney function, however the increase in creatinine isn’t because of kidney damage, but simply because more of the creatinine is being produced in the first place.
Other than the minor possible gastrointestinal issues from excessive creatine consumption, it is probably safe for almost anyone to use!
Does Creatine Build Muscle?
We will look at the question whether or not creatine might build muscle. Below are the known mechanisms which may be involved in the apparent hypertrophic effect of creatine on muscle mass.
- Other than non-responders, creatine increases the muscle creatine content.
- Appears to retain water within the muscle, due to Increased ATP.
- May be some degree of muscle damage protection.
- Decreases muscle fatigue, possibly allowing for greater power output and more reps.
- May cause a very slight testosterone spike.
- May reduce Myostatin levels.
- May increase Growth Hormone levels.
- May improve glycogen re-synthesis.
- May increase myonuclei proliferation.
- May improve muscle blood flow.
So, it seems safe to say that Creatine may increase muscle mass for people who respond well to the supplementation of it!
There seems to be a relatively low side effect profile if creatine is used properly and that you drink plenty of water with it.
How Much Creatine Should You Take?
Creatine is usually dosed in grams and comes in the form of Creatine Monohydrate.
Most people take between 1-10 Grams per day and around 3-5 Grams is optimal, however some people take up to 25 Grams per day in the “loading phase” for 1-2 Weeks and then continue to use a “maintenance dosage” of 3-5 Grams for as long as they want.
There isn’t much of a difference between the two ways of dosing creatine, other than quicker onset of results with loading creatine, but if you have to compete in a month time you may want to load creatine to be at optimum levels for the competition, but remember, bodybuilding is a marathon and not a sprint.