What is CREATINE MONOHYDRATE?
Updated: Dec 20, 2021
Creatine is a chemical found in our body. Red meat and seafood have the highest amount of creatine from food sources. Often, creatine is confused with anabolic steroids. However, since the availability of Creatine Monohydrate as a strength and performance supplement, it has been seen as a holy grail for strength training and exercise performance. Bodybuilders, powerlifters, football players, tennis players, sprinters and almost all athletes use creatine monohydrate. It helps them boost performance. This article helps to understand:
What is creatine?
Whether creatine monohydrate is different from creatine?
How do creatine monohydrate supplements help increase performance?
What are the side effects of creatine monohydrate?
What is the ideal dosage of creatine monohydrate?
What is CREATINE?
Creatine is a chemical and an amino acid naturally found in our body, the highest concentration being in the muscles. Organs such as the pancreas, kidney and liver can manufacture creatine. Food sources such as seafood and red meat contain considerable amounts of creatine. Creatine helps feed fuel for muscle cells. Our body stores creatine as phosphocreatine. As a supplement, creatine is extensively studied and is safe if taken in the recommended doses. In most parts of the world, creatine is available as an over-the-counter product without requiring a prescription. Creatine usage is allowed by almost all the reputed governing bodies like National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), International Olympic Committee etc.
Is CREATINE MONOHYDRATE Different from CREATINE?
No, creatine monohydrate is a type of creatine supplement. There are several different types of creatine supplements like Creatine Hydrochloride, Creatine Ethyl Ester, Buffered Creatine, Creatine Magnesium Chelate etc. Creatine monohydrate is the most studied form of creatine. We fully understand how creatine monohydrate works, its effects and how it safely helps increase performance. Other forms of creatine may work but require more research. Other than being extensively studied, creatine monohydrate is widely available and inexpensive.
The weight gain after taking creatine supplements is in the form of muscle & water retention and not fat.
How do CREATINE MONOHYDRATE Supplements help INCREASE Performance?
Each cell in our body uses adenosine triphosphate (ATP) for energy. When our muscles contract, for example, while exercising, ATP is rapidly used for energy. ATP then converts to adenosine diphosphate (ADP). ADP is an organic compound containing adenosine and two phosphate groups. Creatine monohydrate helps add another phosphate group, converting ADP back to ATP. Thus, more ATP becomes available for the body to use. More ATP translates to more energy, intensity and workload, increasing performance.
Creatine Monohydrate Supplements Help in the following ways:
Increased muscle mass.
Increased aerobic threshold.
Better training tolerance.
Increased work capacity.
Enhanced glycogen synthesis.
Improved cognitive performance.
What are the SIDE EFFECTS of Creatine Monohydrate?
Several studies indicate that creatine monohydrate supplements are safe to consume. There is ample evidence of creatine supplements helping increase performance in various athletes without causing severe side effects. Even long-term usage of creatine supplements does not affect health negatively. We should take supplements as recommended without exceeding the recommended dosage.
Creatine supplements temporarily increase creatinine levels. Increased creatinine levels are a marker of poor kidney function. However, the creatinine increases because more creatinine is produced and has nothing to do with kidney damage. Therefore, no evidence suggests that creatine supplements can damage the kidneys.
What is the Ideal DOSAGE of Creatine Monohydrate?
Creatine monohydrate supplements are primarily available in powder or capsule forms.
There are two optimum ways of consuming creatine monohydrate supplements. They are as follows:
#1 Loading and Maintenance phase: In this method, a total of 20 to 25 gm of creatine monohydrate is consumed in a day (24 hours), taken in 5, 5 gm doses. The time interval between each dose should be about 3 hours. The loading phase should continue for 5 to 7 days. After 5 to 7 days of loading, the maintenance phase starts. Consume a single dose of 5 gm per day in the maintenance phase. Research has shown that overloading has no benefit. Hence, consuming more creatine than recommended or loading creatine for additional days should be avoided. Muscle stores get quickly saturated in the loading phase, which noticeably increases performance.
#2 Maintenance phase: Here, we directly start with a maintenance phase of a single dose of 5 gm per day and the loading phase is entirely skipped. It is a more conservative approach compared to the first method. Research suggests that post 28 days, the effects of both the phases are the same. However, the positive aspects include gradual weight gain (water retention) and fewer gastrointestinal problems.
Whatever method we choose, there is no optimum time to ingest creatine supplements. We can take them anytime. For convenience, many people have creatine supplements post-workout/ training.
Creatine is a chemical and an amino acid naturally found in our body, the highest concentration being in the muscles.
Creatine supplements are sold over-the-counter, are safe and are legal.
Creatine monohydrate is the most researched form of creatine supplementation and has been a holy grail for strength training and exercise performance.
When consumed in the recommended doses, creatine supplements do not cause long term or severe side effects.
Creatine monohydrate helps in increasing performance.
There are two recommended ways to take creatine:
Loading and maintenance phase.
We hope the article helped understand:
What creatine is.
If creatine monohydrate is different from creatine.
How creatine monohydrate supplements help increase performance.
The side effects of creatine monohydrate.
The ideal dosage of creatine monohydrate.