Over 900+ researches confirm that Creatine is powerful in enhancing performance during workouts.
The guaranteed benefits are enhancing your muscle mass, exercise performance and strength. (1, 2).
There are some studies that discussed Creatine’s benefits in preventing neurological diseases. (3, 4, 5, 6).
You can find many arguments where to get creatine from. Many say Seafood & red meat is the best natural source. Others say it’s better to drink it in shakes for faster absorption and muscle gains (7, 8).
Athletics and bodybuilders use Creatine. If you are starting out in this journey. It’s better to read this article to understand all the things you might not be aware of.
What Is Creatine?
It’s a substance that are found in your muscle cells. Muscle fibers relay on it to create energy in any intense workouts.
Any bodybuilder would advise with Creatine as one of the fundamental supplement to take post workouts (1).
Skeletal muscles store around 95% of creatine in your body. The rest 5% goes to your brain (9).
During your daily activity, your body uses 2% of your stored created and covert it by kidneys and pancreas (10).
There are major two forms of Creatine in supplements: Creatine Monohydrate and Creatine Nitrate.
You can read this article on why Creatine Monohydrate is the best option & which brand provides 100% pure Creatine Monohydrate.
I have to mention that FDA considers Creatine as an OTC supplement, which means it’s not regulated or approved by FDA as a drug. This creates the risk of finding terrible quality of Creatine supplements on the market.
Creatine is a supplement that can be found in Seafood and red meat. It enhances your muscle mass and energy production.
How Does Creatine Work?
During your intense workouts, Creatine starts to enhance your phosphocreatine stores in your lean mass.
The more load you have, the more ATP produced in your body.
ATP is behind all the energy required during weightlifting and intense workouts (11).
But that’s is not it…
Creatine plays on 5 ways to get your lean mass enhanced, and they are:
1- Cell Hydration: Increase water in your muscles. This will lead to temporary enlargement of muscle cells. (12, 13).
2- Increases Your Workload: It gives you the ability to break your limits. If you were used to doing 3 sets & 8 reps. You’ll find with Creatine you can reach 5 sets and 10 reps with same muscle (14).
3- Decline of Myostatin: There is a type of protein called Myostatin. It slows down muscle cell generation, and thus less muscle growth. Creatine makes sure that Myostatin is lowered in your body (15).
4- Boosts Cell Signals: Creatine increases the satellite cell signals which leads to new muscle growth (16).
5- Anabolic State: One of the major hormones responsible for Anabolism is IGF-1. Consuming Creatine leads to enhancement in IGF-1 which leads to an anabolic state.
Creatine targets muscle cells and leads to more energy and generate new muscles.
How Long Does It Take To See Muscle Gains?
Many assume that Creatine is a short-term supplement. Science shows that it is effective and safe on long-term (17).
There has been a 12-week study on bodybuilders, it concludes that the impact of Creatine on their muscle growth was at least 3 times in muscle growth. Compared to solo training without Creatine. It also shows that compound & resistance exercises are the best to enhance Creatine’s impact (18).
Another 14-week study conducted on old adults over 50, adding creatine to their weight-lifting program. They managed to boost their leg mass and strength significantly (19).
It takes 3 months to see significant growth in muscles, however after one month usage you’ll start to see initial mass gain results.
Required Dosage Per Day
An average individual will need 1 to 3 grams of Creatine per day (20).
You’ll find you are consuming 1 gram of creatine without even knowing it. Creatine is found heavily in beef, and seafood.
However, when you start weight lifting you’ll understand you have to measure your creatine intake.
The easiest and cheapest way is to buy a creatine supplement. It makes life easier to keep track of the amount consumed.
According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), larger athletes who train intensely “may need to consume between 5 and 10 g of creatine a day” to maintain their stores (21).
It’s vital for weightlifters and athletics to take at least 5 grams of creatine per day.
Can Creatine Increase Your Performance Levels? And To What Degree?
Yes, it can and you’ll see this almost instantly on the first day of taking creatine.
A study shows consuming 5 grams of creatine increased body strength by 8%, and weight lifting by 14% compared to training solo (22).
There was another study focuses on bikers who consumed creatine for 28 days. Their bike-sprinting performance increased by 15% (23).
I also recommend if you want to maintain your muscle gains & strength, to take Creatine on smaller doses 3 grams instead of 5 grams (24).
All the improvement you’ll notice is due to the high production of ATP. Creatine turns your body into an ATP production machine (25).
Creatine gets your body to produce ATP which leads your body to have a higher performance for high-intensity exercises.
How Creatine Affects Your Brain?
Well, guess what, with the plenty of ATP produced in your body. The brain gets its share (26).
Supplementation of Creatine improves the following conditions in the brain:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Ischemic stroke
- Brain or spinal cord injuries
Vegetarians are at high risk of having neurological diseases. Consuming Creatine will prevent this issue (27).
They are at high risk because the less red meat consumption, their natural creatine consumption can go below .5 grams per day. The normal range should be 1-3 grams. And 5 grams for bodybuilders.
There is a study to support this:
Vegetarians who consumed creatine had 50% improvement in their memory exam and 20% in their intelligence test scores (28).
Creatine gets your brain to be more fueld with ATP and thus you’ll feel better focus and ability to memorize faster.
Are All Creatine Supplements The Same?
No, not at all.
The market is flooded by thousands of brands claiming wild claims for commercial purpose.
The researched form of Creatine is called Creatine Monohydrate.
And all you need is only this component. You don’t need fillers or additives to make it better. There is no scientific evidence to support any addons claims.
Science and practical evidence support Creatine Monohydrate and it’s the best and cheapest for you can find on the market. Here is a recommended brand that only uses it in their componenets.
The last 5 years of researches and studies show that Creatine has no adverse effects (29).
There have been many articles on the web promoting that Creatine might harm your kidney and that’s far from facts (30).
The longest study was done on 21 months of Creatine usage. And it evaluated 52 blood markers and observed no side-effects. This means supplementing Creatine for 21 months (almost 2 years) will not lead to anything but massive muscle gains (31).
I also found on some forums various claims that Creatine causes cramps and dehydration. That’s also not true. In fact, Creatine plays a role in hydrating the cells and reduce cramping (32).
There is no side-effects from Creatine. And the long term consumption of Creatine will not lead to any harm on liver, kidney or cramps.
Creatine is highly recommended for muscle making and it’s a perfect match.
It’s cheap, safe and tons of researches done to confirm its results.
Don’t buy any Creatine supplement that promotes additives, it might do harm than good.
Stick to pure Creatine (Creatine Monohydrate).