What is creatine?
When they hear creatine, most people think of exercise. Assumption is not wrong at all. Creatine, or more precisely creatine phosphate, is a source of energy for our muscles and is used in most cases as a dietary supplement.
The special thing is that it can also be produced by our body’s own synthesis. If you like it more natural, you can rely on a balanced diet. This is because creatine is also found in foods such as meat and fish, and in very small amounts in dairy products and some plant-based foods.
But how does the food you eat become the booster for your muscles, you ask?
Very easily! Our expert Vanessa Klein explains it for you: “The human body is able to synthesize creatine phosphate itself via the amino acids glycine, arginine and methionine. Although this process mainly takes place in the liver, most of the creatine is stored in the muscles.”
To understand the effects of creatine, let’s first explain the process of energy release in your body. It’s in your muscle cells adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which in adenosine diphosphate (ADP) is converted. This conversion releases energy in your body, which allows your muscles to exert force.
The energy that is released provides energy to your body. However, only for a few seconds to a maximum of one minute.
So when your stores are empty, your body turns to creatine (creatine phosphate) for energy. So you and especially your body are responsible larger energy storage and more energy reserves to disposal.
How does creatine work?
Strength athletes in particular use the dietary supplement and hope for visible success. However, it can only work if it is consumed properly. It not only accelerates the regeneration of your muscles, but also has a performance-enhancing effect when taken in combination with strength and strength endurance loads.
Another benefit of creatine is that it delays muscle fatigue during exercise.
The reason is quite simple. The ATP regeneration is improved by the increased creatine value.
Many also prefer creatine because it makes muscles appear bigger. It causes the muscles to draw water out of the body and this causes water retention in the muscles. So make sure you’re drinking enough fluids.
This is not the only reason why the dietary supplement is not necessarily something for athletes who prefer endurance sports, since increased body weight due to water retention can be a hindrance when jogging, swimming or similar sports.
Creatine isn’t just for the muscles, it can also increase your mental performance, improve cognitive memory, slow down cognitive fatigue and contribute to improved stress tolerance
However, taking creatine in hopes of increasing muscle size or performance is not a good idea. It depends a lot on fitness level, age, genetics, and baseline blood creatine concentration.
However, the effect of creatine is also very dependent on fitness level, age, genetics and baseline blood creatine concentration.
Who can take creatine?
Even if the effect of creatine sounds tempting, it only makes sense to take it during intensive physical exertion, for example for strength athletes and bodybuilders.
As mentioned above, it is not recommended to use the supplement if you do endurance sports like swimming or sprinting as water retention can hamper your performance.
For people who are in the process of building muscle, creatine can be helpful. Vegetarians and vegans can also benefit from creatine, as their levels are significantly lower than omnivores. However, if you are already consuming a lot of creatine from foods such as meat and fish, you may not feel any change after taking it.
This could be because your body has already reached the limit of creatine and the excess is being excreted in the form of creatinine in your urine. Taking creatine is not recommended for children and adolescents, as well as for people who tend to be inactive.
What is the best way to take creatine?
Does creatine work best before or after a workout?
The right time to take creatine cannot be determined exactly. It should be noted, however, that you should always drink plenty of liquid and that you should always take it a few hours before or after training. You should also make sure you are getting enough magnesium.
How much creatine do I need to build muscle?
The dosage of creatine is easy to remember. The daily intake is 2-3g, or 0.03 kilograms of body weight. 5 grams should never be exceeded, since the maximum storage capacity of your muscles is 5 grams. You should also make sure that it is a “pure” creatine monohydrate in powder form.
How long can I take creatine?
There is no clear information about the duration of the intake. Some experts are of the opinion that long-term use is safe. Others strongly advise against it. In order not to cause any unwanted damage to you and your body, you should take breaks in the form of a few weeks when taking it.
This is Vanessa Klein: She is an all-round talent. As a nutrition coach, personal trainer, business psychologist and prospective therapist for clinical psycho-neuroimmunology, she provides her followers with exciting topics related to health, nutrition and fitness in her blog and on Instagram. Her focus is primarily on living a healthy life and feeling good without having to constantly give up.
You can find out more about her and her contributions here:
So, creatine is being researched as a dietary supplement
Creatine is one of the most researched nutritional supplements. The good thing is, as long as you stick to the recommended intake and have no other medical conditions, you can take it without hesitation. However, you should know that the constant intake of creatine restricts your body’s own production and excess creatine is excreted as creatinine in your urine.
You should also note that research is never 100% accurate for all people and therefore everyone reacts differently to dietary supplements. The effects described above can therefore occur in one person and not in the other.
Similar to the duration of intake, the side effects have not yet been fully researched. Some people report stomach problems at first.
However, if taken correctly, these should not occur. What can happen, however, is weight gain from creatine. However, such weight gain is not due to fat or muscle mass, but to the retention of water in the muscles.
In order not only to do something good for you, but also for your body, before you start taking creatine you should eat a balanced diet that takes all macro and micronutrients into account. Don’t justify a poor diet or inactive lifestyle with supplements.