How to Use Creatine For Optimal Results

Creatine is a supplement which is believed to help athletes boost their performance, and help just about anyone to build muscle mass. In order to achieve the best results, it is important to follow the Creatine cycle and phases on a regular and punctual basis. Only by adhering to this three phase cycle, one can not guarantee himself the perfect outcome. There are too many other technicalities involved. At what time during the day should one take Creatine? What drink to use to aid the intake of Creatine? Does Creatine cause acne? Is it good for people with muscle dystrophies? Does the prolonged use of Creatine cause cramps? The questions are of an over whelming amount. The doubts, the rumors are all present, but so are the facts and figures.

How to get started with Creatine: 

The wise step before starting to undertake the usage of absolutely any product, especially one related to health and fitness, it is pertinent that ample research is done beforehand. All looming questions and queries are tackled with in the most satisfactory manner.  Clearing all doubts before experimenting with your physical self is the most important thing. You need to be assured that the product is beneficial and does not have any side effects that may be harmful, or the product at hand does not have a reactive agent that your body is allergic to.

Tips and tricks for new Creatine users:  

Stay Hydrated: The most important tip to follow regarding Creatine intake is keeping the body well hydrated. Large amounts of Creatine are consumed during the loading phase and if the body is not kept well hydrated then this can prove to bring out the toxic side of Creatine: toxins can be released into the body rendering the internal system more harm than good. Drinking plentiful water is a must for everyone out there: especially for those involved in sports and body building exercises. Keeping the body well hydrated helps to flush out different toxins, providing a hindrance from the harmful effects of Creatine.

Use with a sugar base: Research has shown that up to 60% of cell uptake can be increased, if Creatine is used with a sugar base. For example: fruit juice. The high the drink is in sugar, the more easily the Creatine will mix in to the muscle. Grape juice is a drink drenched in glucose; making it a great drink to go along with your dose of Creatine for the insulin will push forth the Creatine in to the muscle providing you with a 60% better uptake of cells.

Avoid using with acidic drinks: While Creatine mixes well with sugar, with acids it has an opposite effect. The effects of this amino acid are negated if the drink accompanying the Creatine dosage is acidic, for example, orange juice. Mixing both acids together will not only result in wastage of the Creatine amount, but also the time, money and expectations for the impact is neutralized, giving no gain and all loss. In case an upset stomach is a malady you suffer from, cranberry juice suffices almost perfectly for this. However, if sugar stuffed juices do not appeal to your taste buds, a warm or hot liquid would have the same effect in the dissolution of Creatine in to your body muscle

Get the right quantity of Creatine:

There is a lot of on-going argument regarding the true consumption of Creatine and the importance of the loading stage. Research has shown that 3 grams of Creatine from the beginning have the same impact as an overdose of 20 grams in the loading phase. While as a result of the high dosage in the loading phase, results may be immediate, it has been proved that the results with a smaller dosage are also identical over a period of time. This can be judged by comparing the blood Creatine samples of both forms of dosage after a period of 30 days.

However, immediate results come with a heavy price. Heavy dosage of Creatine may result in an upset stomach or worse still, if the digestive system is highly sensitive then even a stomach ulcer. Playing it safe is the best policy under all circumstances. Not only does it have favorable results on the interior and exterior of the body, but also saves up on cash as small dosages consume less money.

Understand your body:

Making the most out of the Creatine intake is the goal one should be working towards. Taking up Creatine at significant intervals during the day is important. However, this depends more on the workings of your body rather than the routine everyone else is following. Eating Creatine on an empty stomach might react in a negative manner with some people, while with others; consuming Creatine on an empty stomach poses no such problems.

Similarly, people have different views on whether to take Creatine before work out of after workout. A much more sensible choice is to consume Creatine right after the workout. The reason being simple: the body is warmed up; it is in a state of sucking up nutrients, implying that the dissolution of Creatine in to the blood will be a faster process.

Several personal aspects ought to be taken in to consideration before arriving at a fixed Creatine diet plan. Yes, this dietary supplement is natural and advantageous, but the important question is, is your body suited to this type of supplement? Trial and error therefore appears to be the perfect way to learn what Creatine diet plan suits you.

Find out more information about Creatine or get direct advice from a personal fitness trainer. This site offers advice and tips on achieving total mind and body fitness.

Creatine – More Than a Sports Nutrition Supplement

Although creatine offers an array of benefits, most people think of it simply as a supplement that bodybuilders and other athletes use to gain strength and muscle mass. Nothing could be further from the truth.

A substantial body of research has found that creatine may have a wide variety of uses. In fact, creatine is being studied as a supplement that may help with diseases affecting the neuromuscular system, such as muscular dystrophy (MD).

Recent studies suggest creatine may have therapeutic applications in aging populations for wasting syndromes, muscle atrophy, fatigue, gyrate atrophy, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and other brain pathologies. Several studies have shown creatine can reduce cholesterol by up to 15% and it has been used to correct certain inborn errors of metabolism, such as in people born without the enzyme(s) responsible for making creatine.

Some studies have found that creatine may increase growth hormone production.

What is creatine?

Creatine is formed in the human body from the amino acids methionine, glycine and arginine. The average person’s body contains approximately 120 grams of creatine stored as creatine phosphate. Certain foods such as beef, herring and salmon, are fairly high in creatine.

However, a person would have to eat pounds of these foods daily to equal what can be obtained in one teaspoon of powdered creatine.

Creatine is directly related to adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is formed in the powerhouses of the cell, the mitochondria. ATP is often referred to as the “universal energy molecule” used by every cell in our bodies. An increase in oxidative stress coupled with a cell’s inability to produce essential energy molecules such as ATP, is a hallmark of the aging cell and is found in many disease states.

Key factors in maintaining health are the ability to: (a) prevent mitochondrial damage to DNA caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS) and (b) prevent the decline in ATP synthesis, which reduces whole body ATP levels. It would appear that maintaining antioxidant status (in particular intra-cellular glutathione) and ATP levels are essential in fighting the aging process.

It is interesting to note that many of the most promising anti-aging nutrients such as CoQ10, NAD, acetyl-l-carnitine and lipoic acid are all taken to maintain the ability of the mitochondria to produce high energy compounds such as ATP and reduce oxidative stress.

The ability of a cell to do work is directly related to its ATP status and the health of the mitochondria. Heart tissue, neurons in the brain and other highly active tissues are very sensitive to this system. Even small changes in ATP can have profound effects on the tissues’ ability to function properly.

Of all the nutritional supplements available to us currently, creatine appears to be the most effective for maintaining or raising ATP levels.

How does creatine work?

In a nutshell, creatine works to help generate energy. When ATP loses a phosphate molecule and becomes adenosine diphosphate (ADP), it must be converted back to ATP to produce energy. Creatine is stored in the human body as creatine phosphate (CP) also called phosphocreatine.

When ATP is depleted, it can be recharged by CP. That is, CP donates a phosphate molecule to the ADP, making it ATP again. An increased pool of CP means faster and greater recharging of ATP, which means more work can be performed.

This is why creatine has been so successful for athletes. For short-duration explosive sports, such as sprinting, weight lifting and other anaerobic endeavors, ATP is the energy system used.

To date, research has shown that ingesting creatine can increase the total body pool of CP which leads to greater generation of energy for anaerobic forms of exercise, such as weight training and sprinting. Other effects of creatine may be increases in protein synthesis and increased cell hydration.

Creatine has had spotty results in affecting performance in endurance sports such as swimming, rowing and long distance running, with some studies showing no positive effects on performance in endurance athletes.

Whether or not the failure of creatine to improve performance in endurance athletes was due to the nature of the sport or the design of the studies is still being debated.

Creatine can be found in the form of creatine monohydrate, creatine citrate, creatine phosphate, creatine-magnesium chelate and even liquid versions.

However, the vast majority of research to date showing creatine to have positive effects on pathologies, muscle mass and performance used the monohydrate form. Creatine monohydrate is over 90% absorbable. What follows is a review of some of the more interesting and promising research studies with creatine.

Creatine and neuromuscular diseases

One of the most promising areas of research with creatine is its effect on neuromuscular diseases such as MD. One study looked at the safety and efficacy of creatine monohydrate in various types of muscular dystrophies using a double blind, crossover trial.

Thirty-six patients (12 patients with facioscapulohumeral dystrophy, 10 patients with Becker dystrophy, eight patients with Duchenne dystrophy and six patients with sarcoglycan-deficient limb girdle muscular dystrophy) were randomized to receive creatine or placebo for eight weeks.

The researchers found there was a “mild but significant improvement” in muscle strength in all groups. The study also found a general improvement in the patients’ daily-life activities as demonstrated by improved scores in the Medical Research Council scales and the Neuromuscular Symptom scale. Creatine was well tolerated throughout the study period, according to the researchers.1

Another group of researchers fed creatine monohydrate to people with neuromuscular disease at 10 grams per day for five days, then reduced the dose to 5 grams per day for five days.

The first study used 81 people and was followed by a single-blinded study of 21 people.

In both studies, body weight, handgrip, dorsiflexion and knee extensor strength were measured before and after treatment. The researchers found “Creatine administration increased all measured indices in both studies.” Short-term creatine monohydrate increased high-intensity strength significantly in patients with neuromuscular disease.2

There have also been many clinical observations by physicians that creatine improves the strength, functionality and symptomology of people with various diseases of the neuromuscular system.

Creatine and neurological protection/brain injury

If there is one place creatine really shines, it’s in protecting the brain from various forms of neurological injury and stress. A growing number of studies have found that creatine can protect the brain from neurotoxic agents, certain forms of injury and other insults.

Several in vitro studies found that neurons exposed to either glutamate or beta-amyloid (both highly toxic to neurons and involved in various neurological diseases) were protected when exposed to creatine.3 The researchers hypothesized that “? cells supplemented with the precursor creatine make more phosphocreatine (PCr) and create larger energy reserves with consequent neuroprotection against stressors.”

More recent studies, in vitro and in vivo in animals, have found creatine to be highly neuroprotective against other neurotoxic agents such as N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) and malonate.4 Another study found that feeding rats creatine helped protect them against tetrahydropyridine (MPTP), which produces parkinsonism in animals through impaired energy production.

The results were impressive enough for these researchers to conclude, “These results further implicate metabolic dysfunction in MPTP neurotoxicity and suggest a novel therapeutic approach, which may have applicability in Parkinson’s disease.”5 Other studies have found creatine protected neurons from ischemic (low oxygen) damage as is often seen after strokes or injuries.6

Yet more studies have found creatine may play a therapeutic and or protective role in Huntington’s disease7, 8 as well as ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).9 This study found that “? oral administration of creatine produced a dose-dependent improvement in motor performance and extended survival in G93A transgenic mice, and it protected mice from loss of both motor neurons and substantia nigra neurons at 120 days of age.

Creatine administration protected G93A transgenic mice from increases in biochemical indices of oxidative damage. Therefore, creatine administration may be a new therapeutic strategy for ALS.” Amazingly, this is only the tip of the iceberg showing creatine may have therapeutic uses for a wide range of neurological disease as well as injuries to the brain.

One researcher who has looked at the effects of creatine commented, “This food supplement may provide clues to the mechanisms responsible for neuronal loss after traumatic brain injury and may find use as a neuroprotective agent against acute and delayed neurodegenerative processes.”

Creatine and heart function

Because it is known that heart cells are dependent on adequate levels of ATP to function properly, and that cardiac creatine levels are depressed in chronic heart failure, researchers have looked at supplemental creatine to improve heart function and overall symptomology in certain forms of heart disease.

It is well known that people suffering from chronic heart failure have limited endurance, strength and tire easily, which greatly limits their ability to function in everyday life. Using a double blind, placebo-controlled design, 17 patients aged 43 to 70 years with an ejection fraction

Creatine – Are There Are Side Effects of Creatine?

There seems to be quite a degree of concern surrounding the safety of Creatine and the side effects that this supplements might have. This was particularly evident about five to ten years ago when I specifically remember there being what can only be described as “witch hunts” against Creatine in sections of the media. While the consternation appears to have died down somewhat, I am aware that there are people out there with concerns about taking Creatine as a Sports Supplement, which I hope to address below.

As always in my articles, the goal is to provide simple, accurate information and advice to you, the reader, so you can make informed decisions on which Sports Supplements you want to take to achieve your fitness and muscle gain goals.

What is Creatine and what does it do?

Creatine is a combination of amino acids naturally found in muscle and in red meat and fish, which has been produced as a supplement in much higher quantities that those found naturally in muscle, red meat and fish. That is what makes it work so well

… And it most definitely does work well. It will increase your ability to train longer and harder – nothing superhuman but just that extra edge. As with protein supplements though, supplementing with Creatine will only benefit you when used to supplement a high protein diet.

Are there any side effects of Creatine?

Despite some of the consternation about the long term health effects of Creatine that many of us have seen and heard in the media in the past (5-10 years ago at its peak), there is actually no legitimate evidence to suggest that Creatine contributes to any long-term health conditions. Now, the one thing to bear in mind is that Creatine Supplements have only been on the market since the early to mid 1990s (I believe the first commercially available Creatine went on sale in 1993) and as a result, it is tricky enough to evaluate effects in the long-term. However, I stress again that there is no evidence of Creatine contributing to the likelihood of developing health conditions in the future.

My verdict

Based on the information available and the extensive clinical research completed to date on Creatine, it is clear that Creatine does not pose a significant health danger when taken in the appropriate dosage by healthy adults over the age of 18.

I fully recommend Creatine Monohydrate powder to healthy adults over the age of 18 who work out regularly.

Creatine Usage

As with other supplements, one of the most important factors that can determine the effectiveness of Creatine supplements is the right usage or dosage of the supplement. This is because at best, the improper usage or the wrong dosage of Creatine supplements would result to people not getting any results, while the worst case scenario is that it can cause problems like kidney disorders. Given this, it is very important for people to know the proper dosage or usage of Creatine supplements not only to be able to achieve the desired results but also to avoid any health problems. However, given that different people have different body types and different responses to these supplements, the right dosage for people would vary depending on these factors. But this does not mean that there are no general principles that people should follow when using them, as there are principles that apply to all people who use Creatine supplements.

Some general principles

One of the most general rule that people who take Creatine supplements is that they should not use or take caffeine together with the supplements. This is because the effect of caffeine on muscles with regard to water retention, which is the complete opposite of the effect of Creatine can reduce if not eliminate the effects of the supplement. Another important rule is that Creatine should not be taken together with any citrus drink. This is very important because it has been proven that citrus drinks such as orange juice neutralizes the activity of Creatine and mixing both only leads to the creation of creatinine, which is a waste product.

Another general rule that people who take Creatine supplements should follow is that they should mix the Creatine supplement with warm water, as this can help them maximize the benefits that they would get from the supplement. Lastly and more importantly, people are also encouraged to drink at least an eight-ounce glass of water eight times a day, as this can prevent dehydration and it can also lead to greater muscle mass, as more water can be absorbed by muscle cells.

The right dosage or usage of Creatine supplements can help people get the desired results that the supplement can provide. However, given that people have different body types, there is no general rule on how much supplements a person should take. However there are still general rules that people who take these supplements should follow, which can help them not only to get the best results but can also help them avoid any health problems that result to the improper sue or dosage of Creatine supplements.