How does creatine work?
The dangerous stuff that makes you partake in ‘roid’ rage.
The supplement that they are piling into young rugby players to get them to train through injury and fatigue.
The supplement should be banned because you can overdose on it.
These are some of the misconceptions that seem to follow Creatine around. Yes, it improves performance in the gym.
Yes, it can increase muscle mass, strength and exercise performance on the field. Yes, it has a number of health benefits including protection against neurological disease.
There is no evidence to prove it is unsafe or has lots of side effects. In fact, it is one of the most studied supplements on the market and has an outstanding safety profile.
It is a substance found naturally in the body. It helps muscles produce energy during heavy lifting or high-intensity exercise. Broken down, it shares many similarities with amino acids and can be produced from glycine and arginine.
Most of the body’s (about 95%) creatine is stored in the muscles as phosphocreatine. When you supplement you increase these stores and this produces more ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP is your body’s energy currency and the more of this you have, the better you perform. Creatine also alters cellular processes that can lead to increased muscle mass, higher strength and quicker recovery. The rest of the creatine (5%) is stored in the brain, liver and kidneys.
Supplementing Creatine also raises your anabolic hormone levels which get you leaner (ladies) and bigger (gents). It also helps reduce protein breakdown which helps with the reduction of muscle breakdown, which we most certainly do not want!
Supplementing creatine also increases phosphocreatine levels in the brain which improves brain health and could help protect from neurological disease such as:
• Motor Neuron Disease
Most of the tests for these have been performed on animals but results have been positive. However, one test was performed on children with traumatic brain injury and after 6 months showed a 70% reduction in fatigue and 50% in dizziness.
Research has also shown that supplementation may help with lowering blood sugar levels, improved muscle function in the elderly and help with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
There are different dosing levels depending on whether you are in a loading or maintenance phase. Absorption may be improved if taken with a carb or protein-based meal due to the release of insulin. Following your loading period, take 3-5g per day to maintain the levels within the muscle and remember to take with water as it pulls water into the muscle cell.