If you’re into activities like athletics and bodybuilding, you may have heard people talk about “Creatine.” People have a misconception that only bodybuilders require supplements, but that’s not true. Even runners take creatine to boost their stamina and performance. So, what exactly is this substance, and how is it used?

Creatine is a natural acid produced by the kidneys, liver, and pancreas and stored in the skeletal muscles. Our body makes 1 to 2 grams of creatine per day. It’s composed of three amino acids; glycine, methionine, and arginine, and can also be found in its organic form in protein-rich diets like beef, pork, fish, and chicken.

It’s one of the most popular supplements in sports and has been in use since the 70s. The best quality creatine helps build muscles and improve stamina by supplying body cells with energy. 

It has been studied by many nutritionists and is highly beneficial for the body, especially if you do lots of vigorous activities, like running. Here are the things you need to know about creatine.

How Exactly Does It Work?

Creatinine helps build Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), our body’s energy store. By adding Creatine Phosphate to our body, it builds blocks of ATP.

ATP kicks in as you take part in high-intensity exercises; therefore, consuming creatine as a supplement could help boost body strength and fitness. That’s why bodybuilders, athletes, and dietitians use it.

Creatine and Runners

You experience the benefits of creatine during activities like weightlifting, push-ups, and gymnastics. Running requires a lot of energy, so runners, especially long-distance runners, need an endurance boost. So why take creatine supplements?

What many don’t remember is that runners also have to train. They need to stay fit and strong to run at length. Creatine helps runners to train at a high intensity. A study showed that creatine boosts muscle strength for athletes by as much as 15%.

How to Consume Creatine

Creatine is available in liquid and powdered form, but most athletes prefer the powdered form due to its effectiveness and ease of storage. Runners are advised to incorporate creatine as part of a consistent dietary routine; it’s most effective when consumed at the same time every day. 

There’s a standard way of loading creatine into your system. Creatine loading involves splitting your total intake (20 to 25 grams) into four/five equal doses and spreading this out over five to seven days.

Creatine stays in the body for about an hour, so make sure to consume it immediately before you start working out to get the best results. Also, when you mix the powder with liquid, like water or fruit juice, make sure to consume it immediately because creatine degrades its nutritional value if you leave it for a longer time.

You don’t need to consume so much creatine after loading your system; three to five grams of creatine per day is enough to maintain your muscle storage. You can continue this dosage for as long as you need to stay fit.

Is Loading Compulsory?

While loading is the quickest method of creatine consumption, it isn’t compulsory. You may choose to skip the loading phase and just consume 3 to 5 grams of creatine daily. This method is as effective as creatine loading, only that you may have to wait for about 28 days to experience the same benefits.

The second method may be more convenient for you if you’re a busy person. It’s easier to keep track of one dose per day.

How Safe is Creatine?

Creatine is a safe supplement, and there is no known side-effect of consuming this substance in standard amounts. There have been talks over the years that suggest some harmful effects of creatine on kidney health, but there is no proven study to back these claims.

Nonetheless, long-term studies of the effects of creatine in people with kidney dysfunction do not exist. Therefore, make sure to check with your doctor if you have an impaired kidney or are using other medications.

While creatine is a safe supplement, note that you may experience a side-effect if you consume creatine in excess amounts.

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