Creatine is one of the most popular nutritional supplements on the market today, widely used by bodybuilders and athletes. Many claim they feel better after including it in their diet and believe it helps them get in shape and build muscle.
While some believe these supplements can be controversial, there is plenty of scientific evidence behind taking creatine, especially for exercise. Studies suggest that creatine can help improve your performance during workouts, which, in turn, can help you get in shape.
Creatine is a natural substance produced by the body. It is also found in foods such as red meat and seafood. Creatine also plays a vital role in cellular regulation
and helps to quickly regenerate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), an organic compound in our body that gives cells the energy they need to function.
In humans, the majority of the creatine in our body (about 95%) is stored in our muscles. As such, it helps give our muscles on-demand energy when needed.
The more creatine stored in our muscles, the more energy we can draw when exercising. This may explain why taking creatine supplements can result in better quality workouts with less fatigue.
But while creatine can help your workouts and the energy available to working muscles, it doesn’t suddenly make you fitter – especially if you already have naturally high reserves of it.
That said, a lot of research indicates that take creatine next to exercise can enjoy your training). In some cases, this can improve the amount of weight you are able to lift up to 32% and increase muscle mass by 7.2%, especially in the upper body, compared to those not taking creatine. More recently, it has been shown that water uptake into cells as a result of creatine supplementation can trigger genes associated with muscle growthleading to more lean muscle gains.
Although widely disputed, a few studies have also shown that creatine can slightly reduce overall body fat especially when taken immediately before and after exercise. There is also evidence to suggest that creatine may support exercise recoveryespecially if consumed with a protein drinkand help to Injury Prevention.
But it’s not just about physical gains. Around 5% of body creatine is stored in other tissues, including our brain. It has been shown that taking creatine improve cognitive function and decision making, especially among vegetarians. Around 8 grams of creatine taken daily for five days has been shown to reduce mental fatigue associated with task repetition, and higher doses (20 grams) may improve brain and muscle fatigue. This further highlights that creatine could be beneficial for improving the quality of your workouts.
How much to take?
The average adult needs approximately 1-3 grams per day of stored creatine to support normal body functions. However, people who exercise may need to consume between 5 and 10 grams per day to maintain body reserves.
However, research has shown that consuming 20 grams of creatine daily for about a week may actually be optimal to start with, as it increases the amount of creatine stored in your body. about 26%. It can be enhanced by even more if consumed alongside regular resistance training. Beyond that, creatine stores can be maintained at lower doses from 3 to 5 grams per day, maintaining the availability of creatine.
Although you can probably get enough creatine as part of your diet by eating large amounts of animal and dairy protein, you will need to consume a lot to increase creatine stores (for example, a 1 kg steak could provide five grams of creatine). This is where creatine supplementation can come in handy.
But be aware that supplements can still cause minor side effects, such as nausea, cramping, and bloating, especially during the initial stages. Be sure to consult your GP before taking creatine to ensure it is safe for you.
Although creatine can have many benefits, unfortunately it may not work for everyone, especially people who already have high levels of stored creatine in their muscles, such as trained athletes or people who regularly diet. rich in protein. But people new to exercise or those following a low-protein or plant-based diet can benefit from consume more creatine dailyto improve the quality of their training.
However, there is still a lot we don’t know about creatine, especially given the majority of studies were conducted with healthy male participants. A 2021 review, however, suggests that creatine could be just as effective or even more so for women – and may also support their bone health, mood, and cognitive function when combined with resistance exercise.
The evidence seems to be mounting in favor of creatine for training, especially those starting a new program. But while this supplement can help you get energy fast and help you exercise, don’t expect it to be a quick fix for getting in shape.