It is for this reason that most people, who are really dedicated to keeping their body in shape, turn to supplements. Supplements can help someone achieve their goals quicker and go above and beyond ones' maximum abilities.
Creatine has become one of the best-selling and most widely used supplements of all time. Two and a half million kilograms of creatine were consumed in the United States in 1999. There is a good reason why creatine has been a top selling supplement. It not only increases muscle size and strength, but it increases bodyweight and high-intensity exercise performance. Most of the initial weight gained while on creatine is water weight, due to the volumizing of the muscles. There are many differentials, such as dosage, cost, brands, about creatine. Since many people use this supplement, everyone seems to have a certain opinion on the product, leading to many misconceptions and falsehoods about the product.
Creatine is not a steroid, hormone, vitamin, or a mineral. Creatine is a combination of three non-essential amino-acids, which are arginine, glycine, and methionine. The chemical name for creatine is methyl guanidine-acetic acid. Creatine is perfectly legal and is not banned by the IOC (International Olympic Committee), the USOC (United States Olympic Committee), or any professional sports league except the National Hockey League.
Creatine is perfectly safe for anyone to use, although some people would like others to believe differently. Although creatine is not meant for use by anyone under 18 (as directed on the bottle), it is safe for children 14 and up to use. A study was done by France's Agency of Medical Security for Food, and the results of this study were that creatine, "especially in the long-run," could prove to be carcinogenic, or cancer causing. Their reasoning behind this statement is that they found a higher level of creatine in the cancer-inflicted patients than they did in non-cancer subjects.
There is another belief that creatine causes kidney damage. There is no evidence supporting these claims. Medical doctors, who have conducted studies on creatine's effect on the kidneys, say that taking in higher doses (10-20 grams a day) of creatine will cause the kidneys to work harder, leading to potential damage. It is a well known fact that taking in high doses of anything, including food, will cause the body's organs to work harder.
Should we stop indulging ourselves with food during the holidays because it will cause our body's organs to work harder, leading to potential damage? Of course not. This example discredits certain doctor's theories about creatine being unhealthy. Until creatine is proven over and over again to be unsafe, it will be considered safe and will still be one of the most widely used supplements of our time.
There are three forms of creatine that you can take; pill, powder, and serum (liquid creatine). All serve the same purpose and are said to give the same results. However there are some differences between the three. Creatine in pill form is prohibitively expensive. Powder, which is the most commonly used form of creatine, is highly insoluble, resulting in athletes having to take high doses(10-20 grams a day) in order for it to reach their muscles. Liquid creatine is highly soluble, so less has to be taken and it supposedly bypasses the digestive system altogether , resulting in safer and quicker results.
Most bodybuilders are very skeptical of serum creatine. Creatine has been proven to become unstable after 20 minutes in liquid form. After that 20 minutes, the creatine becomes creatinine, which is the waste product of creatine. It seems that liquid creatine is no good in terms of gaining lean muscle mass and boosting sport performance, but the flavored liquid creatine sure makes for one great tasting pancake syrup.
Many people take creatine without knowing just exactly what it does or how it works. It is wise to research a supplement for a couple of months before you decide to take it.
If one researches creatine hard enough, they might find that creatine does not work for everyone. Actually, only 80% of the population who use creatine see results. Or they may find out that, while not yet tested on humans, creatine cured Lou Gerhig's disease in lab rats.
Creatine is not necessary for the "average" person since a person's liver produces creatine. However, creatine can be taken in supplement form and also occurs naturally in red meat and other protein sources. For example, one eight ounce steak contains about 1 gram of creatine. Close to 97% of the body's creatine is stored in the muscles, and the other three percent in various locations like the heart, brain, and testes.
An understanding of ATP is crucial to a full understanding of how creatine works. ATP is known as the energy compound in the body. When your muscles use ATP for energy, it breaks the ATP down into ADP and inorganic phosphate. Your muscles have only enough ATP to last about 10-15 seconds at maximum exertion. This is where creatine comes into play. Creatine helps muscles replenish ATP, causing you to train longer, more frequently, and at a higher intensity. Creatine has another effect on the body's muscles. Creatine helps draw water into the muscles, keeping them super-saturated with water, or volumizing the muscle. When muscles are super-hydrated like they are when one uses creatine, the muscles not only stay in an anti-catabolic (muscle building) state, but they help someone train longer and harder, leading to an increase in lean muscle mass.
Creatine is thought to only be beneficial to bodybuilders or people who just lift weights, but this is not true. Some track runners have reported up to a 5% increase in sprint performance and up to a 15% increase in repeated sprint performance after using creatine. These results show that creatine would be beneficial for athletes of all sports to take.
Another benefit of creatine is that it is said to buffer lactic acid build-up. New research has shown that creatine can help buffer lactic acid build-up in muscles during exercise. This leads to that nasty burning feeling you get in your muscles. Scientifically it is a complicated process. Basically the creatine bonds with a hydrogen ion and that helps delay the build-up of lactic acid.
Different people have different ways of taking creatine, because of personal preference. The standard way of taking creatine is to do a five day loading phase and then a maintenance stage. During the loading phase, twenty grams of creatine is taken a day, while in the maintenance phase, five to ten grams of creatine are taken daily. The loading phase is not necessary for creatine to work. However, individuals will see results quicker if a loading phase is used. Many people do not care about quick results and decide to pass on the loading phase, so they can save money. It is all up to personal preference.
Creatine is best taken immediately after a workout, and it is best absorbed if taken with a simple carbohydrate. Grape juice or apple juice works the best. Now-a-days, people can buy creatine that already contains simple carbohydrates (usually dextrose), and an ALA (alpha lipoic acid), but it usually costs twice as much to get this type of creatine. About every major company produces creatine. GNC, Muscle-Tech, EAS, and Pro-Lab are just a few examples of companies that make creatine. Regular creatine usually costs about twenty to forty dollars a tub, where as the creatine with added dextrose may cost fifty to eighty dollars a tub.
Creatine does not have any serious side effects. When used incorrectly, it can produce a serious side effect, and that is dehydration. The reason this occurs is because of creatine's water retention in your muscles. When using creatine, you must drink at least one and a half to two gallons of water a day to stay properly hydrated.
Excessive urination should last for about the first month or so, then the person gets used to it. Some other side effects that have been linked to creatine are, nausea, upset stomach, dizziness, weakness, "loose stools," diarrhea, and weight gain. These may occur with dosages higher than 5 grams a day. People have even blamed creatine for muscle strains, sprains, and tears, but the validity of these claims are false. The strains, sprains, or tears were probably due to an improper warm-up, improper stretching, or improper cool-down.
Mankind has always tried to be the best at no matter what it is. Sports, studies, hobbies, and work are just a few examples. Building a better body is no different. Proper nutrition, recuperation, lifting, and cardiovascular work are key into achieving a better body, but sometimes individuals turn to supplements to ease them on the journey they have partaken in.
Creatine is probably the number one supplement used by fitness fanatics today for two reasons; it works and it is fairly inexpensive. It is definitely one of the most talked about supplements today. Although rumored to be unsafe, creatine has been lab tested for over 10 years and been proven to be 100% safe to use. If people are looking to increase muscle size and strength, bodyweight, and high-intensity exercise performance, then creatine is definitely a supplement they should look into taking.