Creatine is one of the most researched supplements on the market today, one of the most popular among men. Yet it is also widely used among women, mostly female athletes and those who struggle to build muscle and/or want a harder fuller muscular looking physique.
Creatine is a natural substance found in the body, primarily produced in the liver and kidneys, of which 95% occurs in skeletal muscle tissue. Creatine is transported via the blood using an active transport system to supply energy in the form of ATP to meet the high energy demands of the brain and muscle tissue.
Creatine is also obtained from your diet
Found in meats and fish, higher quantities contained in organic produce. There are no vegetarian sources of creatine.
This is why vegetarians who don’t supplement their diet with creatine or have an adequate amino acid intake containing the amino acids that form creatine will have lower creatine levels than non-vegetarians.
Creatine benefits for muscle building
Creatine supplementation provides you with more energy (ATP) for muscle contraction allowing you to lift heavier and do more repetitions (reps). It is therefore highly effective with short bouts of high intensity training such as weight lifting and sprinting.
This type of training regime along with creatine supplementation, results in increased strength, muscle size and improved performance.
Forms of creatine
There are various popular forms of creatine available on the market namely creatine phosphate, micronized creatine phosphate, creatine ethyl ester, di-creatine malate, tri-creatine malate, Kre-Alkalyn, liquid creatine, creatine orotate, creatine citrate and even effervescent creatine.
The first form of creatine manufactured was creatine phosphate and it is also the most widely researched form of creatine. As technology advances so does supplement production.
Don’t however assume that a better more efficient product is being produced. To avoid a science lesson on the varieties of creatine all of the above mentioned creatine supplements have their advantages and disadvantages in terms of taste, absorption, cost, formulation, purity, mixability and research proven effectiveness.
Creatine supplementation supports an increase in lean muscle mass and strength gains, while significantly increasing performance and decreasing muscle recovery time. If these are any of your goals then creatine is a good addition to your staple supplement regime.
My suggestion would be creatine phosphate based on the decades of research to back up its claims of effectiveness.
Should you experience bloating however, give micronized creatine phosphate a go, since it is exactly the same as creatine phosphate only that it goes through an additional filtration process to create smaller molecules of the same compound.
I’d be wary of making a buying decision over any of the other varieties based on claims of advanced absorption, since the body will only absorb a certain amount anyway and that varies from person to person.
As for varieties containing sugar… PLEASE! What for?! Completely unnecessary and that would be an absolute NO from me. You want as clean a product as possible and you want lean gains. If you don’t like the taste then mix it with whey protein… job done!
In terms of dosage you really don’t need much in the form of creatine supplementation since whatever your body needs it will use and the rest will be flushed out of your system as waste.
Creatine has averagely under a 3hr half life. Healthy adults taking a 5g creatine supplement have peak creatine plasma levels 1-2 hrs post ingestion.
Take this into consideration and time your creatine supplementation for peak performance to maximise your results. Then take another 5g post workout since research proves additional benefits of post workout creatine supplementation.
There’s no need to cycle creatine, the benefits will be as consistent as your training and nutrition.