Creatine Article


What is Creatine?

Creatine is a nitrogenic organic acid produced in the liver, derived from the amino acids glycine, arginine and methionine. Creatine helps supply energy to all cells in the body, primarily muscle. The skeletal muscle contains around 95% of all the body’s Creatine, the other 5% being found in brain, heart and testes.

Because of Creatine's ability to supply energy where it is demanded, the chemical is mainly used by athletes to increase their ability to produce energy rapidly, improving athletic performance and allowing them to train harder.

Creatine replenishes ATP, a molecule which when broken down allows the muscle to contract at work.

Benefits of using Creatine

Creatine enhances the body's capacity to perform high intensity work. Creatine is used to supply the type 1b muscle fibres (fast-twitch muscle fibres; the ones that get largest in size) with immediate energy, ensuring these muscles do not prematurely fatigue. This strengthens muscular contraction of these fibres, and enables the athlete to achieve more reps, sprint at a faster rate, or engage more forcefully in whatever sport or type of exercise they take part in. Supplementing with Creatine allows the muscles to store more of this high-energy molecule to provide greater gains in strength and muscle.

Another important benefit for bodybuilders and strength athletes is creatines’ muscle volumizing effect. Creatine has a property that causes muscle cells to inflate, which produces a more ‘muscled’ appearance, and, more importantly, serves as a stimulus for protein synthesis. Up to six pounds of added bodyweight in the first few weeks is commonly reported in those who begin Creatine supplementation, this is mainly due to water moving rapidly from the bloodstream into the muscle. Creatine will also help with recovery by reducing cell damage and inflammation.

As we age there is a natural decline in the production of muscle building hormones such as testosterone, growth hormone and the insulin like growth factors. As a result there is a natural tendency as we age to progressively lose muscle mass.

As mentioned, fast twitch fibres respond well to supplemental Creatine in the sporting world. These fibres are also the first to be sacrificed by the effects of aging. The powerful anabolic hormone, IGF-1, has been shown to store in the fast twitch fibres and this is the hormone most likely to dwindle to a greater degree as we age. Creatine supplementation later in life might slow the negative effects of age related muscle wasting as it enhances fast twitch muscle fibber integrity, and, in turn, should help to maintain levels of IGF-1.


Types of Creatine:

Monohydrate: The most common and most widely used form of Creatine, virtually tasteless and one of the cheaper Creatine options on the market. Can be taken in powdered or capsule/tablet form.

Micronized/ Creapure: Micronized Creatine is essentially Creatine monohydrate, but with much smaller molecules (this Creatine has been micronized, which means its molecules have been cut up or divided). This dividing or cutting reduced the surface area of the Creatine, making it easier to absorb and lessening any potential stomach discomfort. It also reduces the unwanted bloating effect - one of monohydrates drawbacks. It is also thought to be purer to monohydrate and more effective as a result.

Creatine Ethyl Ester: Widely thought of as the future of Creatine supplementation, CEE is thought to have absorption rates up to ten times higher than Creatine monohydrate due to its solubility. This solubility improves its transport over biological membranes such as muscle. CEE is thought to pull nearly all the water into the cell, whereas regular Creatine that is no so well absorbed leaves much of the water sitting outside of the cell, which causes the bloated appearance.

Kre-Alkalyn:  Kre-Alkalyn, a buffered form of Creatine that is processed at higher PH levels than regular Creatine monohydrate, is believed to have one of the fastest absorption rates of all. Regular Creatine is broken down into a waste product called creatinine before the active compound is absorbed - this lowers the absorption rate. With Kre-Alkalyn, this conversion to creatinine is halted and the absorption rate is enhanced as a result. Reported benefits include, faster absorption rate, no loading phase, no Creatine bloat, and immediate results.

HCL: The biggest difference with Creatine HCL is water solubility. According to studies, it has been shown to completely dissolve in water. This is good news because the body is 60-70% water, allowing the Creatine to completely dissolve in the body meaning no waste.

Smaller doses are needed; no loading phase and no need to cycle are other benefits of HCL.


When to use:

There are different opinions of when to take Creatine; personally I use 5g pre workout, and 5g post workout.

The argument for taking Creatine before a workout usually follows these lines: More Creatine equals more ATP, the primary currency of cellular energy. More ATP means more power available to the muscles. More power means more activation of muscle fibres and more weight lifted. More weight means more muscle.

On the flipside, the argument for Creatine after a workout often focuses on how your muscles are depleted of nutrients after a workout, and are ready for a big influx of nutrients. Throw Creatine in there along with your protein and carbs, and your body will supposedly soak up the powerful supplement and receive all of its benefits.



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