What is Creatine? A Creatine Monohydrate Breakdown & Why You Need It

Creatine is one of the most talked-about supplements around. Many people use creatine to give their workouts a boost and improve muscle development. Creatine has a wide variety of benefits and is already naturally occurring in the body. In fact, creatine is made in the kidneys and liver and transferred to the muscles of the body. However, creatine can also be obtained through foods like red meat, seafood, and dairy. Creatine increases strength, endurance, and muscle pump. Creatine also has other benefits unrelated to physical activity.

What is Creatine?

Creatine is a powerful amino acid found naturally in muscles and the brain. Specifically, creatine can be found in the musculoskeletal system, cardiac, smooth muscle, and brain. The kidney and liver create creatine and deliver it to the muscles of the body. Glycine, arginine, and methionine are three amino acids that combine to make creatine. It is a naturally occurring amino acid found in the body that can also be obtained by consuming both foods and supplements that contain creatine. Red meats, seafood, and dairy products are creatine-rich foods. Creatine is the primary energy source for muscles, particularly fast-twitch muscles. Creatine helps to metabolize energy in the body. During high-intensity workouts or physical situations, creatine produces energy to power your muscles. It helps us to produce energy quickly during intense workouts or physical situations.

The benefits of this powerful supplement include improved athletic performance, endurance, cognitive functions, and more. Also, creatine is natural and not a stimulant or steroid, although it has often been mistakenly referred to as all of these things. Some people have mistakenly confused creatine with anabolic steroids but it’s natural and has no link to steroids. It’s important to understand that 95% of the creatine stored in your body can be found in your muscles. It’s used during physical activity to maintain a continuous flow of energy to your muscles. Small amounts of creatine can also be found in other tissues, the brain, and the heart.

How Does Creatine Work?

Creatine enters the body or is produced by the body it joins with a phosphate molecule and becomes creatine phosphate. Scientifically speaking, adenosine triphosphate or ATP powers the body. Your body oxidizes all the carbs, proteins, and fat that enters your body to form ATP. ATP is needed to power every bodily process and is even used to create more ATP. ATP provides the energy needed to hydrolyze phosphates. Once a phosphate group is hydrolyzed, energy is produced in the form of heat. This energy powers muscle contractions and any other bodily process that’s being performed. ATP loses one phosphate which turns it into adenosine diphosphate instead of triphosphate, thus creating ADP. However, ADP must be converted back to ATP to be metabolized as energy. Creatine comes into play by adding phosphate to ADP to convert it back to ATP. Creatine will donate the phosphate to ADP to recreate ATP and start or continue to fuel your body processes. This whole process is what allows you to work out with more intensity for longer periods of time.

What does creatine do for the body?

In short, using a creatine supplement produces more ATP in your body. This means more energy that can be used to power through tough workouts. Supplementing with creatine can also help you to maintain your strength through longer workouts as well. Short high intensity workouts can be performed better with the help of creatine. It’s a powerful source of fuel for the body and all of its functions, particularly explosive fast action. FOr example, when you’re lifting weights, your body draws from your creatine phosphate stores, allowing you to power through workouts. Creatine also hydrates the cells of the muscles thus increasing protein synthesis. Well-hydrated muscles are healthier and look fuller. In addition to this obvious benefit, creatine helps with focus, brain performance, glucose metabolism, and bone mineral density, which shows that the benefits of creatine extend beyond the physical.

Other Benefits…

Believe it or not, creatine is also good for brain health. Some studies have revealed that it has helped improve some neurological disorders associated with age. In fact, there have been studies that confirmed creatine’s ability to improve brain function by reducing mental fatigue and fog and boosting recognition memory. Creatine also has a positive impact on heart health. In addition, creatine has been known to help women with hormonal issues. Creatine can help balance hormones as women enter menopause and pre-menopause. Women have complex bodies that undergo many hormonal changes throughout time. Creatine has been known to help create balance and even improve certain hormonal conditions associated with aging women. Although it’s a supplement that seems to be promoted for men, it’s also an effective supplement for women. Women can experience the same physical benefits that men do, in addition to hormonal benefits.

Are there any Safety Issues Associated with Creatine?

Many studies have shown that creatine isn’t a dangerous supplement. It has an established reputation as a safe supplement. Of course, as with anything, some people may experience side effects that may be associated with how it’s taken and used. For example, people who take creatine on an empty stomach have experienced stomach aches, while others have taken too much at once and also experienced stomach discomfort. The long-term health effects of creatine have yet to be determined because its relatively new and research is ongoing. However, no significant studies have been conducted that have found danger in supplementing with creatine.

There have been myths that have claimed that creatine may cause weight gain and bloating in addition to liver or kidney damage. Many women may believe that taking creatine will make them build large bulky muscles. However, this is untrue. Most women lack the testosterone needed to build large muscles. Instead, creatine helps to build lean muscle mass. Many who want to build large muscles can do so, but this is also because they possess enough testosterone to get these types of results. However, there haven’t been any studies that confirm these myths. Research has shown that creatine is a safe supplement and that many of these myths may be based on a fundamental misunderstanding of creatine. In short, creatine helps produce more energy, endurance, and focus during high-intensity workouts for a short duration. Plus, creatine’s ability to increase endurance allows people to work out longer and with more strength and intensity. Countless studies have proven time and again that creatine is a safe and effective supplement.

How Should I take Creatine? Should I Load or Cycle Creatine?

Creatine can be used in a few different ways. Some people choose to load creatine. Loading involves taking a large amount of creatine (15-25 grams) for a period of 5-days and then tapering down. This method is used to quickly build up the amount of creatine in the body to achieve heightened results faster. Conversely, you can opt to take small doses (5 grams) for thirty days to slowly but steadily build up the amount of creatine in your body. Typically, after you’ve built up enough creatine in your system, you can taper off or cut back to 3-5 grams to maintain your creatine levels. Keep in mind that neither approach is superior to the other. It’s not necessary to load or cycle creatine. However, if you choose to cycle creatine it may help you achieve the physical gains you’re looking for. Your body has a natural balance or equilibrium that you can manipulate for a period of time. However, your body will eventually reset as it’s designed to do. In other words, you can increase your creatine levels and achieve the gains you’re looking for but that window will close after a while, and your creatine levels will return to their normal stores. After using this method, it may be helpful to stop taking creatine for a while and then repeat the process of cycling up. This may once again allow you to achieve heightened physical results for a period of time. However, there’s no one way to take creatine. Often people use a variety of different methods to achieve the best results.

What’s the Best Time to Take Creatine?

This is a popular question. Taking creatine after a workout, opposed to pre workout, is considered the most effective for several reasons. Most people eat after a workout. It’s suggested that you eat insulin-driven foods after a workout because insulin pumps more creatine into the cells of the muscles. Eating foods that spike your insulin, after a workout, can help you maximize the benefits of creatine. Plus, your body’s ability to absorb nutrients is heightened after a workout, further confirming that creatine is utilized better, post-workout. Taking creatine after your workout will help your body to refill and refuel its low creatine phosphate stores.

Will I have more Energy if I take Creatine Before I work out?

The short answer to this question is “no.” Creatine kicks in most effectively when your muscles are flooded with it. It takes at least a week to build up your creatine stores. Single use of this supplement once before a workout will not produce noticeable results. Creatine is a supplement that must be built up for you to notice results. It must also be maintained at consistent levels for your results to be maximized. Plus, creatine has to be processed in the body and this takes time. It’s not an instantaneous process. The creatine that your body uses in your current work is the creatine that was previously processed and stored in the cells of your muscles for use. The creatine you consume before a workout will not be available for immediate use in your body.


Liquid Creatine…Does it Work?

No. Water breaks down and degrades creatine over time. Once it’s been degraded, it becomes creatinine which has no effect and is simply excreted as waste through urine. Some companies have made false claims about water-based creatine products. However, creatine simply can’t be sustained in a water-based product. The claims these people make are untruthful. Fortunately, there is a form of creatine that is considered the most effective form of creatine to use as a supplement. There are many studies on creatine monohydrate. These studies have revealed that this form of creatine produces excellent results and has been time-tested. However, newer forms of creatine have been touted as effective but lack the research to support the efficacy of these forms. Buffered creatine and creatine nitrate aren’t backed by research and haven’t been confirmed as superior or equivalent to creatine monohydrate. So far, creatine monohydrate is the best form of creatine and has consistently produced impressive results in the people that use it.

Creatine is an effective supplement that can be used in different ways to produce results. The benefits of creatine extend beyond the physical and spill over into heart health and brain health. Although most of the creatine in your body can be found in your muscles, it is also useful in other areas that positively affect your overall health and wellness. Although creatine is a supplement that’s heavily used by males, it has benefits that both men and women can take advantage of.

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