Creatine: What You Need To Know
If you're into fitness, you've probably heard about creatine before.
Creatine is a popular dietary supplement among athletes, body-builders, and anyone interested in improving their physical fitness and overall quality of health.
Creatine has a number of proven benefits, regardless of whether you're a professional athlete or someone still stuck on their couch.
But what specific benefits does creatine offer to your body?
Let's start here ... what exactly is Creatine?
According to Muscle & Fitness magazine, creatine is an amino acid that naturally occurs in your body. It's most commonly found in your muscles as well as your brain, and it's one of the body's first sources of energy when it needs to burn some quick fuel.
As a dietary supplement, creatine is a concentrated form of the amino acid already found in your body. By consuming it through your diet, creatine users are able to give their body additional energy resources that can fuel their muscles during a workout.
How does it work in the body?
When you consume creatine through your diet, your body converts this compound into phosphocreatine, which is then stored into the muscles to use during physical activity.
According to Healthline, phosphocreatine helps create ATP, one of the basic molecules your body uses to produce energy. ATP is broken down to create energy, and the demand for ATP is greatest during periods of exercise.
One of the limitations of physical activity is that the body burns ATP faster than it uses it. This helps contribute to fatigue over the duration of a workout.
By stocking up your body's stores of phosphocreatine, creatine users are able to increase the amount of stored energy in their bodies, raising the ceiling for their exercise intensity.
What are creatine supplements used for?
The most common use of creatine supplements is to improve physical performance and endurance, especially in short, high-intensity workouts.
One reason creatine is widely used by body-builders and strength-training athletes is that the supplement's energy supply is ideal for these short bursts of activity, when a little extra fuel can lead to extra reps during workouts, thereby stimulating increased muscle mass production.
According to Men's Health, bodybuilders also like creatine because it can trigger a short-term retention of water, which can cause muscles to grow in volume, thereby accentuating their appearance.
Mayo Clinic reports that some people whose bodies struggle to metabolize creatine can benefit from the use of these supplements.
In addition, preliminary research suggests that creatine can be effective as a topical skin treatment to reduce the appearance of skin sag and aging.
What are the advantages to taking creatine?
The primary advantage to taking creatine is that it provides your muscles with a concentrated form of storeable energy, in the form of phosphocreatine.
For anyone looking to build muscle mass and/or muscle strength, creatine is a popular form of supplementation that is safe to use and available over-the-counter in forms like FORMULA-H® Pre-Workout.
But there are other health benefits of creatine, each with varying degrees of research to back them up.
According to Medical News Today, some research suggests that creatine can be beneficial in addressing a wide range of health issues, such as preventing skin aging, facilitating exercise in people with multiple sclerosis, enhancing cognitive abilities in regular users, and so forth.
Mayo Clinic also notes that creatine is safe to use when taken in proper doses.
How much creatine should you consume every day?
The right amount of creatine consumption depends on your desired purposes for the supplement.
If you're only looking to supplement your diet--for example, if you're a vegetarian who wants to take creatine supplements in lieu of getting this nutrient from meat--you should aim for 0.5 to 1.5 grams of creatine per day.
However, for athletes, body-builders and anyone using creatine as a supplement for physical exercise and muscle development, additional amounts of creatine may be necessary.
Most scientific research reports that athletes with intense training regimens may require 5 to 10 grams of creatine every day.
For individuals with difficulties metabolizing creatine on their own, anywhere from 10 to 30 grams of daily supplementation may be needed. Talk to your doctor before taking this supplement in such high doses.
How does creatine compare to protein?
While creatine and protein are both used as supplements to help build muscle, they have different functions in the body depending on your health and fitness goals.
Creatine is an amino acid, and amino acids are the building blocks of proteins that are used throughout the body to form your muscles, your organs, your bones, and other structures.
When your body breaks down proteins during digestion, it converts a single protein into multiple amino acids, which could include creatine.
Due to their complexity, proteins take longer to metabolize than creatine, which is why creatine is so effective as a quick source of fuel for muscles.
Both have value as a means of encouraging muscle development, but the key difference is that creatine's value is exclusively connected to its ability to supply muscles with energy, whereas proteins have a broader value to muscles that includes not just muscle development, but also the development and maintenance of muscular structures in the body.
If you want a supplement that specializes in raising the output of your muscles, creatine is the way to go.
But proteins are also essential to a healthy body, and they may be a worthwhile addition to your supplement regimen.
In the end, creatine supplements, like FORMULA-H®, are popular because they offer a specific way to improve workout performance and target various muscle-building goals.
The benefits of managing your muscle energy stores is further elevated by the lack of significant drawbacks or risks when using creatine.
This makes creatine supplements a safe addition to your daily diet, and an effective strategy for building muscle and achieving your health and fitness goals.