Most of you have taken Creatine Monohydrate or know of someone that has. No matter how you use creatine, it’s the most researched supplement on the market.
Creatine comes in many different varieties, not just monohydrate. Throughout this article I’ll give you a very brief overview/science, different types/dosing protocols, athletic impact, and health/precautions.
What Is Creatine?
We know creatine monohydrate is a supplement. But, what exactly is creatine ? It’s a natural occurring amino acid that’s found in red meat and fish. However, we’d have to eat a huge amount of food to reach the recommend daily dosage (to be discussed a bit later). Creatine is produced in the human body in the kidneys, pancreas, and liver. These organs are very critical within the human body for day-to-day functionality. Creatine converts in the body to phosphocreatine. At that point, it is deposited in the muscles to be used for energy.
You would think at this point, creatine phosphate would be the last step in the process for the muscles to utilize this amino acid… but it’s not. The human body converts creatine phosphate to ATP to fuel short duration sports and high-intensity activities such as weight lifting and sprinting. ATP is the primary source of energy that the human body uses to function with movement.
Creatine Monohydrate Supplements
Creatine is by far one of the most popular products used by the sport supplement industry. The most common form of creatine used as a supplement is creatine monohydrate. Typically you’ll find anyone interested in body building or athletics benefiting from using creatine. It’s an attractive product because of the years of research. Also, it’s very reasonably priced. You can experience the following: strength, lean muscle, enhanced performance, and water retention, or muscle fullness. It’s estimated that creatine purchased in America last year in its raw form (not added within a multiple ingredient pre-workout) averaged $14 million in 2011.
What Type Of Creatine Should You Purchase?
Google “creatine” and within 0.13 seconds you’ll get a return of about 19,400,000. Your search results will cover creatine as a raw ingredient to every pre-workout that contains it. There’s quite a few creatine varieties to choose from, including kre-alkalyn, creatine phosphate, creatine malate, creatine ester, creatine citrate, and creatine monohydrate (Creapure). Which one do you choose? The one that started it all: creatine monohydrate.
Let’s Look At Creatine Monohydrate
Creatine Monohydrate has been the foundation and most researched form of creatine. Creatine Monohydrate has a proven history to give results and has been clinically tested. Do you want something that has been put to the test and gives results at a reasonable price? if so, then creatine monohydrate is the route to go. Creatine comes in many different forms such as powder, liquids, tablets, capsules, fruity chews, pre/post workout, and proprietary blends.
Powder Or Capsules?
To make sure you’re getting the recommended daily dose, I highly recommend purchasing powder. If you prefer, you can also use capsules. This will allow you to gauge the exact amount you need for the “loading phase”. This is a high dose for about 7 days – 4x a day, 5g servings) or keep a consistent 5g (grams) a day. In addition, you may also see advanced users using 5-10 grams per day over several weeks. Standard protocol is 5g per day.
Creapure.com Dosing Schedule
According to www.creapure.com, these are the dosing recommendations: With normal activity, 2 to 4 g of creatine are used per day. Depending how physically and mentally active an individual is, this requirement can increase to 5 g per day. The body produces half of the creatine needed daily, and the rest needs to be ingested through food. Depending on the individual’s lifestyle and diet, a recommendation of 3 g per day could make sense.
Always take creatine should with caffeine-free beverages. This includes water, fruit juice or warm tea (which improves solubility). Make sure you take the creatine with enough fluids (rule of thumb: 1 g creatine/100 mL fluids). Prepare and consume your creatine drink immediately. This is because creatine does not stay stable for long in liquids. I’m a firm believer in testing the dosing. Not everyone will respond to supplements at the suggested dose. As for myself, I like to use 5g with my pre-workout drink and 5g post-workout (both containing some form of carbohydrates). My theory behind this is that creatine helps pull nutrients into the muscles at a higher rate.
Cycle Your Creatine Monohydrate
I also like to use it for about 6 weeks on and then 4 weeks off. This is just to give my body a break and not adapt to the use of creatine. You’ll see all over the forums that there’s no need to cycle creatine. Still, I’ve found it to be a good practice for any supplement that you are consuming. I even use this method with my protein powder products twice a year. The trick to any supplement plan is knowing your body and learning what works best for you.
Health Benefits & Precautions?
Like any item you may purchase over the counter, there are benefits and precautions. The American lifestyle of eating has a major impact on heart disease and other conditions. Creatine may help reverse these.
Heart Disease –In a preliminary clinical study, patients supplementing with creatine had lowered their triglycerides over a period of time. Patients that have been dealing with heart failure, found an increase in the amount of exercise they could perform before reaching exhaustion. During another clinical study patients suffering from high levels of homocysteine (associated with stroke & heart attacks) took part in using creatine. It will lower these levels over a period of time. As you can see, creatine assists with helping the main muscle that keeps everything functioning in our body.
Muscular Dystrophy –Scientific studies show that people with muscular dystrophy have lower levels of creatine in their bodies. Supplementing with creatine has shown some increase in muscle development. However, this is still an ongoing process to assist these individuals.
The two areas above just scratch of the surface. Additionally, creatine has an impact on related to critical health related issues. Creatine can impact the human body in many positive ways.
Possible Side Effects:
There are some precautions that you want to consider:
Muscle cramps, muscle strain/pull, weight gain, upset stomach, bloat, and diarrhea.
Possible Interactions with other medications/supplements: Be careful when you’re taken NSAIDs & Naproxen pain relievers while on creatine (Motrin, Advil, & Aleve). These items have a huge impact on the kidneys. Ingesting creatine may put more strain on them.
I never understood why companies combine creatine and caffeine in the same pre-workout. In theory it sounds like a great concept. Caffeine give you the energy to workout and creatine to pull nutrients into the muscles. However, caffeine is a diuretic. Using the two in conjunction without enough water may increase the risk of dehydration. Additionally, the same effects hold true for diuretic pills taken by some bodybuilders before shows. Their body is already at a state of depletion. Using any form of diuretics and creatine can run the risk of dehydration and kidney damage.
Creatine Monohydrate Final Thoughts…..
In closing, creatine monohydrate is one of the most researched sport supplements in the industry. Research ranges from its impact on patient recovery within the health system to athletes pursuing the ultimate dream. Like any supplement or FDA approved product, there’s always a list of pro’s and con’s. If you’re using sport supplements, creatine monohydrate should be a foundation product. This is a proven supplement to give results. In addition, when following a proper exercise plan, you’ll exceed your expectations.
Be smart about your health and do some research. Always consult a health care profession before taking part in any sport supplementation and/or fitness plan.