Creatine is one of the most heavily researched supplements in the history of sports nutrition, with over 200 studies performed over several decades. It has material improvement in athletic performance, is safe, and has many other benefits in support of a highly functioning body.
Creatine, best known for its ability to build muscle and enhance athletic performance, is also critical for digestion, mental health, protecting your hearing, and keeping your skin vibrant and youthful.
Irrespective of GENDER, AGE or ATHLETICISM
Do You Need to Read On?
Yes!! Creatine is valuable and effective for EVERYONE.
Creatine is a naturally occurring substance found primarily in muscles. Most of us have about 120 grams of creatine in our body (to a max capacity of approx 150 grams), and we lose two to three grams per day as it’s broken down into creatinine and passed through urine. To make up for this, our body attempts to make additional Creatine, in addition to consuming a little through certain foods.
We would need to eat 1-2 pounds of red meat daily to ensure our Creatine stores are not chronically depleting. As this is unlikely, it is observed that there is a Creatine deficiency in the general western population.
What is Creatine Used For?
In essence, Creatine is needed to help recycle and restore the fundamental energy system in all our cells – ATP. Without ATP, your cells would cease to be. As ATP is used and converted to ADP, it needs to borrow part of the Creatine molecule to replenish itself. Creatine is that critical.
It plays a crucial role in supplying sufficient energy, force and contractile strength to our muscles – whether it be lifting, sprinting or other needs for power. In fact, without Creatine, energy production during high-intensity bouts of exercise would not be possible. That’s because oxygen and glycogen within the blood cannot respond fast enough to the instant demand for power in high-intensity or strength exercises (i.e. using your aerobic capacity), so Creatine steps in to support Anaerobic work (i.e. where energy is pulled from the muscles cells themselves). For that reason, 90% of Creatine is found in our muscles.
Due to its role in fuelling high demands of energy throughout the body, it is also fundamental to sperm function, light processing in the eyes, high-sensitivity hearing and balance, providing the energy to maintaining digestive health and supporting many important restorative and protective functions within the skin.
Last but not least – our brain is a big benefactor of Creatine. Our brain, whilst only two percent of our bodyweight, consumes twenty percent of our energy. This huge energy demand is largely provided by Creatine.
How Much Creatine Should You Consume Daily?
Knowing on average, the body uses two to three grams of our approximate 120 gram store of Creatine, then this number should be our minimum daily goal. But if you are working out and generally are more active and have higher demands of you body, then your body will naturally burn through more.
For these reasons, it is recommended to take 5-6 grams a day of a Creatine Monohydrate supplement, on top of what you may receive through the foods your digest. Once your maximum Creatine store has been reached (approximately 150 gram), and residual Creatine will simply be eliminated.
BONUS: Creatine Monohydrate is a cheap supplement, as it’s easily produced and is produced at scale. So, unlike other fancy blends and supplements, it’s an affordable supplement that should form the basis of any workout supplementation.
Can We Get Sufficient Creatine From Foods Only?
You would need to eat 1-2 pounds of red meat per day, providing you 3-5 grams of Creatine, to warrant not taking a supplement. Whilst that may have been a reasonable feat for our hunter gatherer ancestors, that is mostly impractical in todays modern eating habits and culture. It’s also such a lot of meat, which is not necessarily needed to hit your macronutrients, and may likely push you over your calorie budget.
It’s worth noting that Creatine has a very good absorption rate into the body, meaning that your body is able to recover the majority of what you consume through food and supplementation. There is a snag however, inasmuch that when meat is cooked the Creatine stores are reduced, depending on the level of doneness. For example, one study found that steak cooked medium lost 27% of its Creatine, while steak cooked well done lost 35%.
As you may have inferred by now, Creatine is found with greatest concentration in red meat, followed by pork, poultry and fish. There is far less in dairy, eggs and shellfish. You guessed it, if you are vegetarian, you would superiorly benefit from Creatine supplementation, as there is very little coming in through your diet.
Oh, and Creatine has a Measurable Impact on Muscle Strength & Growth…
Now you understand the importance of Creatine to your whole body, and its optimal function – irrespective of gender, age of athletic pursuits, this could be the end of this blog. However, as mentioned, Creatine is known to have a measurable impact on muscle growth and strength improvement. Hence its popularity in bodybuilding circles.
The highlights are:
- Creatine causes muscle cells to carry more water and ‘inflate’, which produces a muscular appearance, in addition to stimulating protein synthesis
- Creatine provides a powerful anabolic boost, supporting more efficient and dramatic Fat Free Muscle Mass (FFM) creation
- It increases muscle fibre size – otherwise known as hypertrophy
- Improves maximal strength and maximal power, due to the increased energy availability
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