Creatine is a dietary supplement known to every athlete or bodybuilder. What exactly is this substance? How does it work? How should it be used? Can everybody take creatine?
Creatine is an organic compound consisting of proteins, which is largely found in muscle tissue. It is stored there in the form of phosphocreatine and free creatine. Creatine consists of 3 amino acids. These are glycine, arginine and methionine. The largest quantities of creatine are produced in the liver and pancreas. It can also be found in some food products. Creatine is a supplement for athletes who do not have enough creatine in their bodies. Its regular intake contributes to accelerated muscle mass gain, improved performance, and increased resistance to fatigue. Creatine is most often in a form of powder, but it is also available in tablets and capsules.
How does creatine work? Its main task is to store large amounts of ATP (adenosine triphosphate – the universal energy carrier) in the muscles. As a result of its breakdown to ADP (adenosine 5′-diphosphate) which occurs during muscle contraction, it is immediately released. In order for the body to have energy resources, the process of resynthesis of ADP to ATP, which takes place using phosphocreatine, must occur. In a situation with too little creatine, there is a lack of phosphocreatine and the level of ATP in muscles decreases. As a result the feeling of tiredness appears and the body regenerates much slower after the training.
How can you supply yourself with creatine in the diet? It is a good idea to eat plenty of meat and fish. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to cover 100% of the demand for this component with your diet. Creatine supplementation comes with help. Products containing it in their composition may take various forms. The choice includes creatine monohydrate which is a combination of creatine and water. The main advantage of this product is very fast results in muscle growth. It is also possible that it can lead to water retention in the body. You can also find creatine malate on store shelves. This is a combination of creatine and malic acid. It makes it possible to gain muscle mass with a compact structure. The third proposal is creatine phosphate which is created by connecting a creatine particle with the rest of phosphoric acid. It has as much as 3 times the effect of creatine monohydrate, which is due to the fact that this type of preparation is able to effectively delay the feeling of fatigue.
What effects can be expected when taking creatine regularly? The first one is muscle mass gain. During about 4-12 weeks of training it is about 0.9-1.8kg on average. Regular use of creatine is also connected with an increase in strength. The effect of its intake is an increase in endurance, which in some cases may be as high as 15%. This translates into a positive improvement of training efficiency. We cannot fail to mention here the acceleration of regeneration after training.
Creatine is not a supplement for everyone. Among others beginners who have just started their adventure with training should refrain from using it. Creatine is also not suitable for endurance athletes. People who are resistant to its effects should also not take it – this group includes only a small percentage of society. It is worth noting that creatine will not work well for athletes looking for a stimulating effect during training.
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