Creatine is the most used and cheapest supplement compared to all other supplements available in the market. It is a dietary supplement consumed by athletes. It is especially consumed by the people who do weight training, football players, and gymnasts. So, what exactly is creatine?. How it works?. What is the creatine loading phase?. What are its benefits? and the most asked question is it “SAFE”?.
Creatine is found naturally in muscle cells. When you lift heavy weight creatine helps the muscles to lift this weight by providing energy to the muscles. The human body naturally produces creatine, however, you can get additional creatine by consuming animal protein or you have another option “Creatine Supplement”. The nominal formula of creatine is (H2N)(HN)CN(CH3)CH2CO2H, I know it’s hard to remember. Switching back to normal stuff……, organs such as the liver, kidney, and pancreas produce this compound. Later creatine is converted to phosphocreatine by the body and it is stored in the muscles. And then it is used as energy. So, the definition of creatine; is a man-made form of a chemical found in the body which is stored in the muscles to provides energy when needed.
How Creatine Works ?
Creatine helps to create a substance called ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate). APT provides the energy for muscle contraction. ATP is a molecule that carries energy within the cells. It is the main source of energy to the cells. However, the human body can only store a certain amount of ATP. This Adenosine Triphosphate is used when you do high-intensity exercise. The stored ATP molecules last for few seconds during high-intensity exercise. And when the body runs out of ATP you experience fatigue. Then the body has to produce new ATP to match the required demands.
You can always get an additional amount of ATP by consuming a creatine supplement. Creatine supplements increase the capacity of phosphocreatine and this helps to create new ATP during high-intensity training.
Creatine supplements help to gain lean mass and help the muscles to recover quickly during the exercise. It gives a muscular boost. This muscular boost may be helpful to the athletes to achieve energy to sprint at full speed. It also improves physical performance and helps to increase overall muscle mass.
What is Creatine Loading Phase ?
Creatine can be taken in different ways, but in the loading phase, a common approach is to take 20 grams of creatine daily for about 5-7 days. This dosage is divided into 4 servings of 5 grams throughout the day. After the creatine loading phase of 5-7 days, you need to maintain a lower dose of 5 grams daily (It is also known as the maintenance phase). The concept behind this creatine loading phase is to pump the body with creatine, it rapidly increases and maximizes the amount of creatine stored in the muscles. However, it is recommended to take a sufficient amount of fluids during this process. If you want to skip this loading phase you can consume one serving of 5 grams daily.
- Creatine helps the muscles to produce more energy.
- It improves performance during high-intensity exercises.
- Increases strength of the muscles.
- Helps in muscle recovery.
- Some evidence shows that creatine can boost memory.
- Helps to prevent injury.
Is it “SAFE”?
There are tons of myths regarding this supplement. But are they true??…. Of course NOT. Any supplement under the prescribed dose or in the proper amount is good. If you take supplements under the prescribed dosage it will give you good results without any issues regarding health. But if you overdose then it may cause harm to the body.
People’s concern about the creatine supplement is that “it has an impact on the kidney function“. Consuming creatine supplements increase the production of creatinine. However, there are many studies on kidney function and creatine and so far no damage is observed. However, if someone has kidney-related issues then he/she should seek a doctor’s advice before taking this supplement.
Creatine is not dangerous. It is one of the most thoroughly researched supplements and every study agrees that creatine is “SAFE”.
Note:- Remember to drink a sufficient amount of water (8-10 cups of water per day/ 3-4 liters of water per day) when supplementing with creatine.