Creatine is naturally found in protein rich foods like meat, fish and poultry. It is made up of three amino acids namely: glycine, arginine, and methionine.
Functions of Creatine
Creatine combines with the phosphate molecule to form Creatine phosphate. It helps to increase the energy store i.e. ATP (Adenine Tri-Phosphate) in our body by donating its phosphate group to the ADP molecule to reform ATP. ATP molecule is crucial to perform almost every process in our body. During the energy formation by ATP, it loses one of its phosphate groups to form ADP which has no role in our body much unless it is converted back into ATP. And for this now creatine supplement seems to have an important role.
Creatine stores are also useful during anaerobic activity (such as lifting heavy weights). Taking creatine supplement will increase energy stores to help you provide energy for your workouts. Another very important role of creatine is to increase protein synthesis by increasing the hydration in muscle cells.
Creatine is a Safe Supplement
However, creatine is relatively a new supplement but till now there is no harmful health effect which has been noted till now.
It’s Necessary to Load on Creatine
One can get the benefit of creatine supplement at a small dose of 5 grams per day. But loading your muscle cells with a dose of 20-25 gram daily for five days can give you complete benefit by saturating your muscles and you can see the results faster. Moreover, latter on one can keep taking a maintenance dose of 3 grams daily.
It’s Necessary to Cycle Creatine
Though it’s not necessary to do so, but it can help. The internal equilibrium of your body can be in your favour for some time, but eventually that equilibrium will ultimately swing back.
This means that taking excess dosage of creatine for a short period of time can temporarily increase the stores of creatine phosphate in your body but after sometime the levels of creatine phosphate will again come back to normal due to the body’s feedback mechanism. This could either be due to the decline in body’s own production of creatine or due to the decline in the number of creatine receptor in your cell. Not taking creatine for some time can set back the body’s equilibrium and then loading with excess creatine could be beneficial again.
Best Time to Take Creatine
Taking creatine with your post workout meal is most beneficial as the body absorbs nutrients much better after a workout. So acting foods which will spike up your insulin levels post workout will also help to absorb more creatine into muscle cells.
Taking Creatine Before a Workout
As muscle cell takes at least a week to get fully saturated with creatine. So taking creatine before a workout will not make a difference. To process creatine, the body takes time. For the upcoming workout, the body will use the creatine from the creatine phosphate stores already in the cells, not from the creatine you just ingested.
Best Type of Creatine
Powdered form of creatine is the best. As creatine degrades over time in water into a waste product creatinine which is useless in the body and will simply be excreted. Therefore, liquid creatine does not remain stabilise over time.