After whey protein, creatine is the supplement most bodybuilders care to have in their supplements arsenal. The abundance of creatine products is enough to hint at its importance. But why does creatine hold such a high status in the bodybuilding universe.
What is it?
Creatine is an organic acid that is naturally formed in vertebrates.
What Does It Do?
Creatine helps in the supply of energy to all body cells. This fact was verified by a research conducted in the early 1920’s in Harvard that demonstrated how creatine plays a role in increasing the metabolism of skeletal muscle. There has been enough evidence since, which has demonstrated how ingesting a surplus amount of creatine helps increase strength and power when performing repetitive athletic tasks. It also encourages muscular hypertrophy by accelerating the recovery of those muscle fibers damaged during intensive exercise.
From this, we can deduce that creatine helps increase strength levels, and supports muscle gain. While the exact effect of creatine on the body’s composition has yet to be established, there is enough evidence to show that people who perform repetitive anaerobic tasks such as weight lifting gain from taking increased amounts of creatine.
How Much Is Enough?
Despite its role in muscle building, there is a debate on higher limit of how much creatine is safe. The specific amount you should take is subjective, and will depend on such factors as gender, body size, and activity level. There is a consensus that supplementing orally with 5-20g if creatine is beneficial and will not culminate in any undesired side effects. Any additional amounts might increase myostatin levels leading to a catabolic state. It can also overwhelm the kidneys which are the organs primarily responsible for creatine excretion.
For a fitness enthusiast or a bodybuilder at any level, there is much to be gained by supplementing with creatine. If not for the muscle building effects, do it for the testosterone-boosting effects that it has been shown to have.
It is hard to measure the magnitude of change in muscle mass you can expect while supplementing with creatine. But it is entirely possible to put on as much as 1-2lb of muscle a week if coupled with resistance training. Given the quick elimination of creatine, you need to take it every 4 hours for maximum gain.
The best way to take creatine is with high glycemic carbs as this promotes insulin release and increases creatine retention. Creatine monohydrate supplements are believed to be the best kind.
Check out my reviews of Creatine that I’ve tried personally.
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