There is a lot of confusion to the public about creatine even though it is actually the most researched supplement. Creatine is NOT a steroid as some people may claim. Creatine occurs naturally in the body. I had some blood work done a while ago and creatine is one of the things they test for to check your levels. Your body produces creatine in the kidneys, pancreas and liver. And it also comes from meat food sources like beef and fish. Anabolic steroids are synthetic variants of the male sex hormone testosterone and were first made in the 1930s. Anabolic steroids WERE MADE, while creatine was already here, its natural. So now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about the science of creatine.
The potential benefits of creatine:
• Improved muscular strength and output levels
• Reduced sensation of muscular fatigue
• Improved recovery rates so you can push harder in every workout
• Increased muscular endurance capacity
• Hydrated muscles for a larger and fuller appearance
Creatine works by saturating your muscles with a compound called creatine phosphate. This aids in ATP for energy production. ATP is adenosine triphosphate, tri meaning 3 phosphates, and it transports chemical energy in your muscles. When you’re working out and you get fatigued it turns into ADP, adenosine diphosphate, di meaning two phosphates, where you lose a phosphate. What creatine does is gives your muscles access to the creatine phosphate compound and it is used in energy metabolism to transfer a phosphate from ADP to ATP. Meaning you recover and are able to increase performance.
So creatine essentially hydrates your muscles with water. This brings up some concerns from people that feel that you get that “puffy” look from creatine. Which in turn can lead to the steroids thought by some people because your muscles can become hydrated where they have a larger and fuller appearance. This is caused by the fact that creatine increases water retention in the muscle. It is also said that this is caused byproduct of creatine – creatinine. The creatine that is not absorbed sits outside the cells as water weight. This had led to many studies looking into a more absorbable form of creatine.
The most popular and studied form of creatine is creatine monodyrate. It is also the cheapest. There is also:
• Micronized creatine which has much smaller micro-particles than regular creatine powder. The believe here is that the smaller the particles, the faster the absorption.
• Creatine Ethyl Ester is creatine with an ester added. It’s suggested that it is better absorbed than monohydrate.
• Creatine HCL also suggests that is better absorbed than monohydrate, being 100% water soluble.
• Kre-Alkalyn is a buffered creatine that is pH balanced for better absorption.
Everyone’s body is different and reacts different ways. I’ve experimented over the last 7 years and am still experimenting trying to find what forms of creatine work best for me, my body, and my goals. For some monohydrate might be perfectly fine. Others may not want creatine at all. To each their own. Just be informed about what you take and find what works best for you. But with all supplementation, make sure you have a solid foundation in your eating habits first. You can’t out supplement a bad diet. Food first, supplements to follow!