Lets dive into Creatine
What is Creatine?
First of all, it’s not a steroid. Yes, I’ve heard that question before. Creatine is a naturally-occurring compound that is found in small amounts in certain foods and is also produced by the body and stored in our muscle cells. When taken as a supplement, it is stored in the muscles, where it can be used to produce energy during high-intensity exercise.
Creatine works by increasing the availability of a compound called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the muscles, which is the primary source of energy for muscle contractions. This allows for more intense and longer lasting workouts, leading to an increase in muscle mass and strength.
During high-intensity and short-duration exercise, the body primarily uses the stored ATP and Creatine Phosphate in the muscle to produce energy. Once these stores are depleted, the body needs to regenerate ATP quickly to continue the muscle contractions. This is where the creatine supplement comes in, by increasing the availability of creatine in the muscle, it can help to regenerate ATP more quickly, allowing for more intense and longer lasting workouts.
Additionally, creatine may also help to reduce muscle damage and inflammation, and improve recovery time after exercise.
Creatine is primarily known for its effects on muscle strength and endurance, but it has also been studied for its potential effects on the brain. Some studies have suggested that creatine may have cognitive-enhancing effects, including improved memory and intelligence.
Creatine is thought to enhance cognitive function by increasing the availability of phosphocreatine in the brain, which acts as a reserve source of energy that can quickly replenish the brain's primary energy source, ATP, when needed. This can help to improve the brain's ability to perform tasks that require high levels of energy, such as memory recall, problem-solving, and decision-making.
Additionally, creatine may also have neuroprotective effects, meaning it may help to protect the brain from injury or damage. Studies have suggested that creatine may reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain, which can help to prevent cognitive decline.
What the heck is ATP?
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is a molecule that is responsible for storing and delivering energy within cells. It is the primary energy currency of the cell, and is used to power a wide range of biological processes, including muscle contractions, nerve impulse propagation, and chemical synthesis.
ATP is composed of adenosine, a nitrogenous base, and three phosphate groups. The energy stored in the chemical bonds between the phosphate groups can be released by breaking one of the bonds, which produces adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and a free phosphate group. This energy can then be used to power various cellular processes.
The body can regenerate ATP through different pathways, including the breakdown of glucose in the presence of oxygen, which is known as cellular respiration. Types of Aerobic excise include; Running, jogging, and walking
Cycling: on a bike, stationary or outdoors
Cardio machines such as the treadmill, stair stepper, and exercise bike.
or through the breakdown of stored glycogen or fat, in the absence of oxygen, which is known as anaerobic respiration. Types of Anaerobic exercise include; Weightlifting: exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and bench press that use resistance to build muscle and strength.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT): short bursts of intense activity alternated with periods of rest or low-intensity activity. Examples include sprints, plyometrics (jump training), and circuit training.
Isometric exercises: muscle contractions that are held in a static position. Examples include planks, wall sits, and isometric holds.
Bodyweight exercises: exercises that use your own bodyweight as resistance, such as push-ups, pull-ups, and dips.
Sprints: running at a high-intensity for a short distance or time.
Plyometrics: exercises that involve jumping, such as box jumps, bounding, and depth jumps.
Powerlifting: a sport that comprises the squat, deadlift, and bench press.
Creatine Phosphate also plays a role in regenerating ATP by providing a phosphate group to ADP to make more ATP, this process is called the creatine phosphate energy system.
Why do we need ATP?
ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, is essential for the proper functioning of the body because it is the primary source of energy for all cellular processes. Every time a cell needs energy, it turns to ATP. Some of the most important functions that require ATP include:
Muscle contractions: ATP is required to power the movement of muscles, whether it's for exercise, daily activities or even breathing.
Nerve impulse propagation: ATP is required to generate the electrical signals that are responsible for transmitting messages throughout the body.
Chemical synthesis: ATP is required to power the chemical reactions that are necessary for the synthesis of proteins, nucleic acids, and other molecules.
Transport processes: ATP is used to power the transport of molecules across cell membranes and within the cell.
Cell growth and division: ATP is necessary to provide energy for the process of cell growth and division.
Without enough ATP, cells would not be able to perform these crucial functions, which would ultimately lead to the failure of vital organs and death.
Yes, the body does produce some creatine on it’s own. Creatine is also found in some foods, mostly animal-based foods such as meat, fish, and poultry. While small amounts can be found in eggs and dairy products, there are very few plant-based food sources of creatine. Some mushrooms contain small amounts of creatine, but it's hard to consume the amount needed to see a significant difference in muscle strength and size.
For this reason, vegetarians and vegans who want to increase their creatine intake may opt to use creatine supplements, which are often derived from non-animal sources such as synthetic creatine monohydrate, or plant-based creatine like creatine HCL, which is derived from tapioca.
When you supplement with creatine, the muscle stores of creatine increase, allowing the body to produce more ATP quickly, which provides energy for muscle contractions. This increased energy availability can lead to more intense and longer-lasting workouts, which can help to improve muscle strength and endurance.
It's important to note that creatine supplementation is not a magic bullet and it doesn't work for everyone, and it should be combined with regular exercise, and a proper diet in order to see results. Additionally, creatine is not recommended for certain populations such as people with kidney disease, or pregnant and breastfeeding women, it's always best to check with a healthcare professional before taking any supplement.
What about supplementing Creatine? Creatine monohydrate is the most well-researched and widely-used form of creatine supplement. It has been shown to be effective in increasing muscle strength and endurance, and it is also relatively inexpensive.
Creatine monohydrate is a form of creatine that is combined with a molecule of water, it is known for its stability and high solubility in water. It is also considered to be the most bioavailable form of creatine, which means that it is easily absorbed and utilized by the body.
Other forms of creatine have been developed in an attempt to improve the absorption or stability of creatine, such as creatine ethyl ester, creatine hydrochloride, creatine citrate, and creatine pyruvate. However, there is less research on these forms of creatine and Some of them have shown similar results to creatine monohydrate, while others have not been proven to be more effective.
This is our favorite brand; https://amzn.to/3iRo7DB
Creatine requires no loading phase. Dosage is 3-5g daily. Even on non-workout days.
What about bloat?
Creatine can cause a slight increase in water retention, also known as water weight. When creatine is stored in the muscles, it can pull water from the bloodstream into the muscle cells. This can lead to a temporary increase in muscle size and weight, which is often referred to as "creatine bloating" or "creatine loading". It is important to note here, that the water retention is IN the muscle, NOT the skin, and does not cause bloating. But rather an increase in your muscle size. And generally goes away in a few days. This increase in water weight is not harmful, and it is usually temporary, lasting only a few days to a week. It's important to note that creatine can also help to reduce muscle damage and inflammation, and improve recovery time after exercise.
It's worth noting that not everyone experiences water retention when taking creatine, and some people may be more susceptible to it than others. Additionally, drinking enough water and staying hydrated can help to minimize water retention.
And that’s the simple low down on one of the most talked about supplements!
I hope you found this valuable and that it answered some questions you may have had regarding Creatine supplementation.