Creatine supplements are probably the most popular nutritional supplements today because of the fast results they produce. Creatine is synthesized from the amino acids arginine, glycine and methionine and taking it will make you stronger, it will speed up recovery and increase muscle mass in a very short time. Let’s see how creatine supplements work in the body.
The primary source of energy for the muscles is ATP (Adenosine thriphosphate). ATP is needed for short duration – high intensity physical activities. However, ATP is only present in very small quantities in the body, enough to sustain about 10-15 seconds of intense physical activity. During this activity ATP breaks down to ADP (adenosine diphosphate ) and energy is released to support the intense work.
The secondary “fast” source of energy comes form creatine phosphate or phosphocreatine that is used by the body to convert ADP back to ATP. Approximately 95 percent of the creatine in the body is contained in the skeletal muscle. Creatine supplements are known to increase this “creatine” pool – therefore increasing the source of “fast” energy. Bodybuilding and lifting weights are a perfect example that creatine supplementation can increase energy and speed up recovery.
Creatine also prolongs the development of lactic acid which allows more repetitions to be done and heavier weight to be used.
What can you expect when taking creatine supplements ?
As I mentioned before, supplementing with creatine will increase strength, endurance and the ability to recover faster in the later stages of training. Creatine supplementation improves the rate at which energy can be provided during intense workouts, but does not increase the maximum energy in non-fatigued state.
Athletes can also expect to gain muscle mass from in the process known as cell volumization, in which water enters the muscle cells with creatine and stretches the fascia. It’s not unusual for a beginner to gain up to 15 lbs in the first month of taking creatine.
The ways to take creatine:
There are two ways you can take creatine supplements:
1. Using a loading phase – About 20-25 grams of creatine are taken in 4-5 equal doses during the day in a period of 5-7 days. After that you can maintain the creatine levels with 3-5 grams a day – usually taken before and after the workout or after big meals.
2. Without a loading phase – doses of 3 – 5 grams of creatine are taken every day without the loading of 20 g a day. It’s the same effect of creatine, but it takes a little longer to reach it.
For best results you should take creatine with High GI carbohydrates like dextrose. Don’t take caffeine and creatine together because caffeine reduces the effects of creatine supplements.