Creatine is a nitrogenous organic acid that is created in our body by the kidneys and liver, and is obtained via the diet from animal sources or created directly in the body from the amino acids: L-arginine, glycine, and L-methionine.
Creatine (creatine monohydrate) is a crystalline, colorless substance which is used by the muscles for the production of phosphocreatine, a vital factor needed in the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the direct energy source for muscle contraction and several other important body functions.
What does creatine do in the body?
Inside the body, creatine gets converted into phosphocreatine, which acts as a storage reservoir for quick-release energy. Phosphocreatine is important within the tissues of the nervous system and muscles which require large amounts of readily available energy.
Why do people take creatine?
Several studies have shown that creatine increases performance of athletes when they require quick bursts of energy, such as when sprinting or weight training and also helps with muscle recovery speed.
With more energy available to your muscles and a faster recovery time, athletes can train harder and more often, producing faster results.
Chad kerksick, Ph.D., and assistant professor of exercise physiology at the University of Oklahoma says “If you can lift one or two more reps or 5 more pounds, your muscles will get bigger and stronger.”
Creatine is also used by professional bodybuilders because it helps to increase muscle mass. It’s not well-suited for endurance exercise since it doesn’t effect muscle endurance. However, the increase in muscle mass might be due to water retention rather than an actual increase in the muscle tissue itself.
What is the connection between creatine and neuromuscular disorders?
There are 2 studies that suggest creatine might have a beneficial effect on neuromuscular disorders. The first, conducted by m. Flint Beal of the Cornell University Medical Center showed that creatine was twice as effective as Riluzole (a prescription drug) in extending the lifespan of mice with the degenerative neural disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease).
The second study, conducted by researchers at the McMaster University Medical Center in Canada discovered that creatine causes a noticeable increase in strength in people with certain neuromuscular disorders. Their findings were published both in the Nature Neuroscience and Neurology magazines.
Creatine may also be helpful in slowing the progression of Parkinson’s disease. In mice, creatine was able to prevent the loss of cells that are typically affected by the condition.
Is it safe to take a creatine supplement?
Recently, there’s been a couple reports of kidney damage linked to creatine use, but for the most part, there hasn’t been any adverse side-effected experienced by athletes. There has also been no consistent toxicity reports on the studies done on creatine supplementation. There is however, a problem of dehydration being reported while taking creatine supplements.
So if you do choose to take creatine, remember to drink enough water to prevent dehydration, especially if you are engaging in sports or other intense physical activity.
Professional athletes typically take a “loading dosage” of around 20 grams a day of creatine for 5-6 days and then continue with a maintenance dose of between 2-5 grams a day thereafter.
What are the side-effects of taking creatine?
Not much is known about the long-term side effects of taking creatine. In one study, diarrhea was the most common reported side-effect followed by muscle cramps.
Other reports have shown that liver and kidney functioning were not affected by short-term use of creatine in higher amounts or by lower amounts taken long-term in healthy young adults.
One small study of people consuming 5-30 grams of creatine a day showed no change in kidney function after up to 5 years of supplementation. Muscle cramping was anecdotally reported in some of these studies.
Other side-effects from using creatine that have been reported in rare cases include weight gain, anxiety, difficulty breathing, fatigue, fever, headaches, nausea, rash and stomach upsets.
Creatine supplementation is not recommended for people with liver or kidney disease, or diabetes. It should also be avoided by people under then age of 18 and women who are pregnant or nursing.
Where Can I Buy Creatine?
We recommend Muscle Advance Creatine Monohydrate. It contains 4500mg of creatine in every serving which will promote an increased workout capacity and supports healthy gains in lean body mass. You can order it online here: