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All About Creatine

Today I talk about Creatine and the effects It has on our bodies for men, women, older men, and younger adults. As always with these types of informational type posts, I leave TONS of links that you can check out and make the decision for yourself.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns about creatine and if it’s right for you please don’t hesitate in reaching out and I will be more than happy to talk to you about any concerns you may have. You can find all of my links at the bottom of today’s post and every post in the section “Where You Can Follow Me”.

Creatine is the number-one supplement for improving performance in the gym.

Studies show that it can increase muscle mass, strength and exercise performance (International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation and exercise

Effects of creatine supplementation on performance and training adaptations).

Additionally, creatine can provide a number of other health benefits, such as protecting against neurological disease (Creatine and cyclocreatine attenuate MPTP neurotoxicity,

Resistance training and gait function in patients with Parkinson’s disease

Effect of oral creatine supplementation on human muscle GLUT4 protein content after immobilization

Creatine monohydrate increases strength in patients with neuromuscular disease).

Some people believe that creatine is unsafe and has many side effects, but these are not supported by evidence (Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research

Long-term creatine supplementation does not significantly affect clinical markers of health in athletes).


What Is Creatine

Creatine is a substance that is found naturally in muscle cells. It helps your muscles produce energy during heavy lifting or high-intensity exercise.

Taking creatine as a supplement is very popular among athletes and bodybuilders in order to gain muscle, enhance strength and improve exercise performance (International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation and exercise).

Chemically speaking, it shares many similarities with amino acids. Your body can produce it from the amino acids glycine and arginine.

Several factors affect your body’s creatine stores, including meat intake, exercise, amount of muscle mass and levels of hormones like testosterone and IGF-1 (Clinical pharmacology of the dietary supplement creatine monohydrate).

About 95% of your body’s creatine is stored in muscles in the form of phosphocreatine. The other 5% is found in your brain, kidneys, and liver.

When you supplement, you increase your stores of phosphocreatine. This is a form of stored energy in the cells, as it helps your body produce more of a high-energy molecule called ATP.

ATP is often called the body’s energy currency. When you have more ATP, your body can perform better during exercise.

Creatine also alters several cellular processes that lead to increased muscle mass, strength, and recovery (International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation and exercise

Effects of creatine supplementation on performance and training adaptations).

Creatine is a substance found naturally in your body — particularly in muscle cells. It is commonly taken as a supplement.


How Does It Work

Creatine can improve health and athletic performance in several ways.

In a high-intensity exercise, its primary role is to increase the phosphocreatine stores in your muscles.

The additional stores can then be used to produce more ATP, which is the key energy source for heavy lifting and high-intensity exercise (Differential response of muscle phosphocreatine to creatine supplementation in young and old subjects

American College of Sports Medicine roundtable. The physiological and health effects of oral creatine supplementation).


Creatine also helps you gain muscle in the following ways:

Creatine supplements also increase phosphocreatine stores in your brain, which may improve brain health and prevent neurological disease Creatine and cyclocreatine attenuate MPTP neurotoxicity 

Oral creatine monohydrate supplementation improves brain performance: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial

Increase of total creatine in human brain after oral supplementation of creatine-monohydrate

Role of the creatine/phosphocreatine system in the regulation of mitochondrial respiration

Creatine-supplemented diet extends Purkinje cell survival in spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 transgenic mice but does not prevent the ataxic phenotype).

Creatine gives your muscles more energy and leads to changes in cell function that increase muscle growth.

Effects on Muscle Gain

Creatine is effective for both short- and long-term muscle growth (Effect of dietary supplements on lean mass and strength gains with resistance exercise: a meta-analysis).

It assists many different people, including sedentary individuals, older adults and elite athletes (Cellular hydration state: an important determinant of protein catabolism in health and disease

Effect of dietary supplements on lean mass and strength gains with resistance exercise: a meta-analysis

Creatine Supplementation Increases Total Body Water Without Altering Fluid Distribution

Creatine supplementation enhances isometric strength and body composition improvements following strength exercise training in older adults).

One 14-week study in older adults determined that adding creatine to a weight-training program significantly increased leg strength and muscle mass (Creatine supplementation enhances isometric strength and body composition improvements following strength exercise training in older adults).

In a 12-week study in weightlifters, creatine increased muscle fiber growth 2–3 times more than training alone. The increase in total body mass also doubled alongside one-rep max for bench press, a common strength exercise (Performance and muscle fiber adaptations to creatine supplementation and heavy resistance training).

A large review of the most popular supplements selected creatine as the single most beneficial supplement for adding muscle mass (International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation and exercise

Effect of dietary supplements on lean mass and strength gains with resistance exercise: a meta-analysis).

Supplementing with creatine can result in significant increases in muscle mass. This applies to both untrained individuals and elite athletes.


Effects on Strength and Exercise Performance

Creatine can also improve strength, power, and high-intensity exercise performance.

In one review, adding creatine to a training program increased strength by 8%, weightlifting performance by 14% and bench press one-rep max by up to 43%, compared to training alone (Effects of creatine supplementation and resistance training on muscle strength and weightlifting performance).

In well-trained strength athletes, 28 days of supplementing increased bike-sprinting performance by 15% and bench-press performance by 6% (The effect of creatine monohydrate ingestion on anaerobic power indices, muscular strength and body composition).

Creatine also helps maintain strength and training performance while increasing muscle mass during intense over-training (The effects of creatine supplementation on muscular performance and body composition responses to short-term resistance training overreaching).

These noticeable improvements are primarily caused by your body’s increased capacity to produce ATP.

Normally, ATP becomes depleted after 8–10 seconds of high-intensity activity. But because creatine supplements help you produce more ATP, you can maintain optimal performance for a few seconds longer (Differential response of muscle phosphocreatine to creatine supplementation in young and old subjects

American College of Sports Medicine roundtable. The physiological and health effects of oral creatine supplementation

Effect of oral creatine supplementation on skeletal muscle phosphocreatine resynthesis

Elevation of creatine in resting and exercised muscle of normal subjects by creatine supplementation).

Creatine is one of the best supplements for improving strength and high-intensity exercise performance. It works by increasing your capacity to produce ATP energy.


Impact on Your Brain

Just like your muscles, your brain stores phosphocreatine and requires plenty of ATP for optimal function (Oral creatine monohydrate supplementation improves brain performance: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial

Increase of total creatine in human brain after oral supplementation of creatine-monohydrate).

Supplementing may improve the following conditions (Creatine and cyclocreatine attenuate MPTP neurotoxicity

Creatine-supplemented diet extends Purkinje cell survival in spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 transgenic mice but does not prevent the ataxic phenotype

The Creatine Kinase/Creatine Connection to Alzheimer’s Disease: CK Inactivation, APP-CK Complexes, and Focal Creatine Deposits

Improved reperfusion and neuroprotection by creatine in a mouse model of stroke

Additive anticonvulsant effects of creatine supplementation and physical exercise against pentylenetetrazol-induced seizures

Protective effects of oral creatine supplementation on spinal cord injury in rats

Neuroprotective effects of creatine in a transgenic animal model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Creatine supplementation and cognitive performance in elderly individuals):

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Ischemic stroke
  • Epilepsy
  • Brain or spinal cord injuries
  • Motor neuron disease
  • Memory and brain function in older adults

Despite the potential benefits of creatine for treating neurological disease, most current research has been performed in animals.

However, one six-month study in children with traumatic brain injury observed a 70% reduction in fatigue and a 50% reduction in dizziness (Prevention of traumatic headache, dizziness and fatigue with creatine administration. A pilot study).

Human research suggests that creatine can also aid older adults, vegetarians and those at risk of neurological diseases (Creatine supplementation and cognitive performance in elderly individuals

A review of creatine supplementation in age-related diseases: more than a supplement for athletes).

Vegetarians tend to have low creatine stores because they don’t eat meat, which is the main natural dietary source.

In one study in vegetarians, supplementing caused a 50% improvement in a memory test and a 20% improvement in intelligence test scores (Oral creatine monohydrate supplementation improves brain performance: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial).

Although it can benefit older adults and those with reduced stores, creatine exhibits no effect on brain function in healthy adults (Creatine supplementation does not improve cognitive function in young adults).

Creatine may reduce symptoms and slow the progression of some neurological diseases, although more research in humans is needed.

Different Types of Supplements

The most common and well-researched supplement form is called creatine monohydrate.

Many other forms are available, some of which are promoted as superior, though evidence to this effect is lacking ( Comparison of new forms of creatine in raising plasma creatine levels).

Creatine monohydrate is very cheap and is supported by hundreds of studies. Until new research claims otherwise, it seems to be the best option.

The best form of creatine you can take is called creatine monohydrate, which has been used and studied for decades.


Dosage Instructions

Many people who supplement start with a loading phase, which leads to a rapid increase in muscle stores of creatine.

To load with creatine, take 20 grams per day for 5–7 days. This should be split into four 5-gram servings throughout the day.

Absorption may be slightly improved with a carb- or protein-based meal due to the related release of insulin (Carbohydrate ingestion augments creatine retention during creatine feeding in humans).

Following the loading period, take 3–5 grams per day to maintain high levels within your muscles. As there is no benefit to cycling creatine, you can stick with this dosage for a long time.

If you choose not to do the loading phase, you can simply consume 3–5 grams per day. However, it may take 3–4 weeks to maximize your stores (International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation and exercise).

Since creatine pulls water into your muscle cells, it is advisable to take it with a glass of water and stay well hydrated throughout the day.

To load with creatine, take 5 grams four times per day for 5–7 days. Then take 3–5 grams per day to maintain levels.


 Safety and Side Effects

Creatine is one of the most well-researched supplements available, and studies lasting up to four years reveal no negative effects.

One of the most comprehensive studies measured 52 blood markers and observed no adverse effects following 21 months of supplementing.

There is also no evidence that creatine harms the liver and kidneys in healthy people who take normal doses. That said, those with preexisting liver or kidney problems should consult with a doctor before supplementing (Long-term creatine supplementation does not significantly affect clinical markers of health in athletes

Creatine supplementation and health variables: a retrospective study

Effects of long-term creatine supplementation on liver and kidney functions in American college football players).

Although people associate creatine with dehydration and cramps, research doesn’t support this link. In fact, studies suggest it can reduce cramps and dehydration during endurance exercise in high heat (Creatine supplementation during college football training does not increase the incidence of cramping or injury

Physiological responses to short-term exercise in the heat after creatine loading).

Creatine exhibits no harmful side effects. Though it’s commonly believed to cause dehydration and cramps, studies don’t support this.


Thoughts

At the end of the day, creatine is one of the cheapest, most effective and safest supplements you can take.

It supports quality of life in older adults, brain health and exercise performance. Vegetarians — who may not obtain enough creatine from their diet — and older adults may find supplementing particularly useful.

Creatine monohydrate is likely the best form. Try out creatine today to see if it works for you.


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can also ALWAYS find all of my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section. If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching or just looking for advice on how to jump-start a healthy lifestyle or how to stay on track during the holidays you can find all of my links which are ALWAYS provided in the “Thank You” section and in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.


Thank You

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

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leighlei2009@gmail.com
Hello, my name Is Amanda and I'm the woman behind AmandaExplainsIt. I'm a Free Spirit, coffee sipping blogger and I embrace all of the messy parts of life.I'm a mommy of two precious doggies and an advocate for food allergies, animals, and nutrition In real life. I've always loved writing and writing a blog fulfills that. I'm all about spirituality and going with the flow of things. I'm new to the beauty world and I'm excited to share what I learn along the way. Come back often because I post often and I post things related to but not limited to Beauty Reviews, Product Reviews, Spirituality, Nutrition and Food Allergies, and Gluten-Free Recipes. If you like what you read let's be friends. ~XOXO A.

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