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Frequently asked questions about creatine

Frequently asked questions about creatine

Discovered in 1832 by Professor Chevreuil (a Frenchman!), creatine is present in the muscles and can be considered as one of its constituents. Since the 90s, she has been talked about a lot in the sports world. For its incredible effects on performance, but also for the controversies it has aroused. It is therefore useful to come back to an important point. : creatine is not and has never been a doping product. Our body manufactures it, we consume it when we eat red meat, and the food supplements that contain it are all approved by current legislation. But then, why so much noise around her? Maybe because it’s damn efficient!
Let’s dwell on its effects and its use, through this article which answers to the most frequently asked questions about creatine.

HOW DOES CREATINE WORK?

How does creatine work

Muscle fibers contract as a result of different processes that depend on ATP (Adenosine TriPhosphate), the primary energy molecule. To produce ATP, the body needs carbohydrates, fats, amino acids and creatine phosphate. The more glycogen available, the more energy the cell is able to generate. It is the same with creatine: the higher its concentration, the more the muscle fiber is able to produce efforts, thanks to the faster renewal of the ATP molecule. Thereby, creatine is a useful supplement for short, repeated, high-intensity exercise. Bodybuilding, powerlifting, weightlifting, most combat sports, athletics and CrossFit are all disciplines that can benefit from the benefits of this exceptional supplement.

Too, creatine is able to volumize muscle fibers, drawing more water into the sarcoplasmic reticulum. It interacts with carbohydrates to strengthen and maintain good cellular hydration, in particular by strengthening the synthesis of glycogen. But that’s not all. Creatine supplementation maintains a favorable hormonal terrainin particular by boosting the production of various growth factors in the body.

WHAT IS THE BEST CREATINE?

The best creatine

The only proven source of creatine whose effectiveness is validated is creatine monohydrate. There are other forms of creatine, all claiming varying virtues: better assimilation, fewer side effects, the possibility of continuous use, etc.

Creatine ethyl ester

In particular, creatine ethyl ester has made a lot of noise in recent years, offering similar effects to the monohydrate form, but in a more absorbable form without its side effects. However, studies on the subject have brought nothing conclusive about this better capacity for assimilation, leaving creatine monohydrate in pole position.

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Kre-Alkalyn®

Kre-Alkalyn® is a buffered form of creatine monohydrate. This “buffering” effect allows the creatine to be delivered intact into the muscle fibres, without the risk of degradation into creatinine during digestion. This form of creatine is useful for people who are looking to maintain body weight while taking creatine, or who are concerned about its side effects, which are usually: bloating due to fluid retention, digestive upset and upset of head.

creatine citrate

This creatine is bound to citric acid. More soluble in water, this form of creatine is identical to creatine monohydrate in terms of effectiveness.

creatine hydrochloride

Linked to hydrochloric acid, it would be more easily assimilated and more soluble in water. Again, no studies seem to confirm this.

Creatine pyruvate

Linked to pyruvic acid, this creatine is considered “protected”, so that it arrives intact in the cells. As effective as creatine monohydrate, it is however less available than Kre-Alkalyn®.

If you do not know which creatine to choose, orient yourself towards sources whose virtues have been validated by athletes and scientific research. Nowadayscreatine monohyrate, Kre-Alkalyn® and creatine blends are the most effective references.

WHAT EFFECTS TO EXPECT FROM CREATINE?

The effects of creatine

more strength

The most immediate effect of taking creatine is undoubtedly strength gain. After about two weeks of use, the performances in terms of loads on the bars are clearly increased, with better ease during the execution of the movements.

More muscle volume

By improving cellular hydration, creatine activates volume gain, essential for building muscle. Also, creatine promotes congestion, a progression factor in bodybuilding, where we seek above all to gain muscle. This congestion is caused by the optimal hydration of the muscle fibers which, under the effect of training and the production of nitric oxide, take on much more volume.

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Better recovery

Creatine phosphate is the form of creatine present in muscle fibers, ready to be broken down into ATP. By encouraging the synthesis of phosphocreatine, creatine is a real muscle recovery optimizer which, in addition to activating the synthesis of ATP, optimizes the assimilation of amino acids and the synthesis of muscle glycogen.

Better weight gain


Due to its direct and indirect effects, creatine is very effective in mass gain. On the one hand because that it improves the assimilation of carbohydrates and the synthesis of glycogen, but also because it causes water retention which is found to be very helpful in protecting the joints and connective tissues. Mass gain programs are often based on heavy training, this water retention becomes a benefit more than a side effect.

WHEN TO USE CREATINE?

When to use creatine

Most users consume it before training, to benefit from its effects during the session. But it can also be taken after, or at another time of the day.

For performance improvement

To prepare a session of strength or explosive and repeated exercises (bodybuilding, weightlifting, crossfit), take your creatine about 1 hour before training.

For combat sports and athletics, where it is important to contain muscle congestion, use your creatine after exercise, along with BCAAs and/or glucose polymers which will promote recovery in addition to preparing the muscles for the next session.

For mass gain

Mass gain requires high carbohydrate intake, which creatine particularly likes. To activate weight gain and mass gain, mix 1g of creatine with each shaker of gainer, 2 to 3 times a day.

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muscle building

A muscle building program involves low carbohydrate and high protein intake. To activate hypertrophy in this low carbohydrate context, it is recommended to take your creatine when you get up and before training.

HOW TO USE IT ?

How to use creatine

The recommended daily dosage is 3g per day. It is not necessary to increase the dosage, since the body already manufactures it too. The duration of a creatine cure should last between 6 and 8 weeks, with a month’s break between two cures.

How to prepare your creatine?

In all cases, never prepare your creatine in advance. This degrades rapidly in water and the risk is to only consume the product of its degradation, creatinine. Creatinine is a metabolic waste product to be avoidedbecause it tires the kidneys and causes the side effects that are wrongly attributed to creatine: headaches, digestive disorders, skin swelling. To avoid these side effects, consume your creatine immediately after mixing it.
Also, if you are using pure creatine monohydrate, be aware that this latter absorbs better with a quick sugar such as dextrose or maltodextrin, or even a non-acidic fruit juice. The insulin secretion that these carbohydrates cause improves the transport of creatine into the muscle fibres.

READ ALSO

Should creatine be used dry?

Why use creatine?

How to take your creatine to maximize your results?

References

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise – Effects of creatine supplementation on body composition, strength, and sprint performance.

The effects of creatine pyruvate and creatine citrate on performance during high intensity exercise – US national library of medicine.

Richard B. Kreider – Effects of creatine supplementation on performance and training adaptations.

Jacques R. Poortmans – Adverse Effects of Creatine Supplementation

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