So firstly we'll go from the start and take a look at what Creatine actually is..
Creatine is produced in the kidneys and liver from a simple combination of three Amino Acids; Glycine, Arginine and methionine. It is a naturally occurring supplement and is found in mainly fish and red meat. However, these foods only provide small amounts of Creatine (e.g. 2.5lbs/1kg of beef = 5g Creatine.. That's a lot of beef). This is the reason behind athletes supplementing with Creatine.
There are different forms of Creatine, however studies show there is no difference between the forms and Creatine Monohydrate is the most effective and cost efficient.
What's it's function?
How Creatine works can be quite scientific so we'll try not to bore you and break it down. Creatine is stored in the muscle and used as a form of energy called phosphocreatine, which helps regenerate adenosine triphosphate, also known as ATP. ATP is our body's main source of energy, ATP levels can be evidently lower through exercise. Creatine can promote the molecule Phosphocreatine which in turn encourages ATP to be produced, giving your muscles the ultimate means to support energy (ATP) production.
Studies show Creatine encourages liquid into the muscle, creating cell volumisation, making them appear larger and feel more firm. Research shows Creatine consumed with fast release carbohydrates can improve serum insulin concentrations. When taken together this results in more Creatine present in the Muscle, opposed to taking Creatine alone, helping you increase strength, power output and size.
Is timing important?
Yes, timing is in fact a big subject on this supplement. Some studies recommend Creatine before training, some just after training and others say as long as you are supplementing with it, you'll still reap the benefits. There isn't so much as a right or wrong time, but we do believe pre and post workout has the most logical approach to achieve optimum results.
How safe is Creatine?
Creatine Monohydrate is generally considered safe. For extra caution we advise buying from a reputable brand and sticking within the recommended dosages of 5-15g. Creatine has been studied and researched extensively, it is a naturally occurring supplement and studies show it is safe for the recommended purposes.
Who is most likely to benefit from supplementing with Creatine?
- Anyone training from a recreational to a professional level
- Sufferers of neurodegenerative disease
- The aging population - Increases bone density, which decreases with age.
- Vegetarians - Creatine is sourced mainly from Fish & Meat, which is a problem for vegetarians.
- Bodybuilders, powerlifters, sprinters, long distance runners, gym goers, cross fit competitors, mixed martial artists etc, Have all been known to supplement with creatine.
If you train in any form Creatine could most likely benefit you either by improving anaerobic endurance, power or strength! Vegetarians can benefit from supplementing with Creatine due to the naturally low occurring levels of Creatine in their Diet.
Creatine has also been studied in regards to cognitive function and has shown to have a positive effect on neuro degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and Huntington's disease.