Creatine supplements is again another aspect that I have found many young people, who start body-building, getting confused about. Like glutamine or L-Glutamine, many of my students ask me about creatine. Let me start, point by point, that would help you get a clear picture about creatine.
Creatine Supplements: What is Creatine?
Produced naturally by our body and abundantly found in fish and meat, creatine is an organic acid that supply energy to muscle cells during any intense physical activity. It is synthesized mainly in our liver from methionine, arginine and glycine, the three amino acids. The reason creatine supplements are used is that it improves our physical performance and is usually known to be safe for us.
Creatine Supplements: Creatine Benefits
Creatine has a number of benefits, making it one of the most-wanted supplements among the gym goers, body-builders and athletes:
- Boosts muscle growth, size, power and strength
- Boosts athletic performance
- Increases muscle protein synthesis
- Enhances cognitive memory and function
- Used in the treatment of Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases
- Helps in treating depression
- Protects against brain injury
- Aids cardiovascular health
- Protects skin from oxidative and sun damage
- Generally safe for diabetics (doctor/physician consultation is required)
Creatine Supplements: Creatine Types
Creatine supplements is available under various creatine types:
- Creatine ethyl ester
- Creatine monohydrate
- Creatine AKG
- Creatine hydrochloride
- Magnesium creatine chelate
- Creatine malate
- Creatine alpha ketoglutarate
- Creatine gluconate
- Creatine orotate
- Creatine pyruvate
Out of all that are listed above, creatine monohydrate is the oldest form. It is the cheapest of all and highly recommended.
Creatine Supplements: Creatine Side Effects
Unlike glutamine, creatine supplements has certain side effects like:
- Breathing trouble
- Stomach pain and nausea
- Bloating and stomach upset
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Rapid weight gain
- Muscle cramps
- Pounding heartbeat
Though creatine is known to suit most people, it is always best to get your liver and kidney profiles done before you start taking creatine or any other supplement for that matter.
Creatine Supplements: Creatine Usage
There are two phases in creatine usage:
- Loading phase, where 5 g (one time) is taken 4 to 6 times a day for a week (5 to 7 days).
- Maintenance phase, where only 5 g is taken once in a day.
Taken best in powder form, you can take creatine powder as pre workout (30 minute before) or post workout (within 30 minute). Take a break from creatine usage after 3 months.
If you are on any drug for some health problems, or knowing that creatine can harm the kidneys, please consult your doctor before starting with creatine supplements.
Creatine Supplements: My Choice
There are many brands selling creatine but my choice is:
Creatine supplements are taken by many but remember that you cannot risk your health just because you want your muscles to be more strong and powerful. Please take precautions while taking creatine and always keep yourself hydrated.