What Is Creatine?
Creatine is one of the most widely used supplements among athletes in almost every sport, and for good reason too. Over the years, creatine has been shown to promote:
- Increased muscle strength
- Greater muscle power
- Greater muscle size
- Better athletic performance
- More energy for feelings of fulfillment and a general well-being in life
…which we’ll discuss in-depth later. For now, let’s focus on what creatine is exactly, how it works, and the possibility of whether or not this supplement can lead to possible side effects – if there are any to begin with.
Creatine is a compound very similar to protein, and is mostly found in fish and meat. Creatine is synthesised from the three amino acids methionine, glycine, and arginine – mostly in the liver. One of the key factors of why creatine is so important for growth is the notion that muscle tissue does not produce creatine on its own. Instead, it takes up creatine from the bloodstream – which it then uses to perform the natural chemical processes that occur in the body.
Upon entering the muscle cell, a high-energy phosphate gets attached to creatine, and it transforms this compound into phosphocreatine or, simply – creatine phosphate. Creatine phosphate is very important for the normal functioning of the body – especially true when it comes to providing energy to power up those lifts back at the gym. This happens because creatine transfers its phosphate to produce adenosine triphosphate – or ATP. ATP plays a major role in the contraction of the muscles, which is extremely important for performing intense exercises such as sprinting, weight lifting, or even two-court basketball drills.
Creatine supplementation increases phosphocreatine production by at least 20%. Even a slight increase in phosphocreatine can lead to elevated adenosine triphosphate levels – a process that boils down to more power, stamina, motivation, and ultimately faster muscle growth.
High-quality creatine products are a proven concept that works like a charm – granted you’re following the instructions and not tampering with the ascribed dosage. Below, you can read some of the multitude of benefits that creatine supplementation offers:
Creatine Promotes Muscle Strength
A study from 1997 followed two groups of untrained subjects – the first group was given creatine, while the second group was subjected to a placebo pill program. Then, both groups underwent an identical weight-lifting program – which yielded different outcomes for the two groups of participants. The group that took creatine showed a 25% increase in their one-rep maximum doing squats – as opposed to the placebo group whose subjects didn’t saw any improvement whatsoever.
Another double-blind study placed two groups of participants on anaerobic performance measures, including vertical jumps, 3-cone drills, bench presses, and more. The first group was supplemented with creatine for 28 days, while the second group was assigned to a placebo treatment for that same amount of time. The results were clear: the participants who took creatine saw a significant improvement in agility, upper-body endurance and strength, lower-body vertical power, and their ability to change direction.
Creatine Boosts Muscle Growth
Multiple studies confirm the fact that creatine promotes muscle growth as well. In one study from the University of Queensland, 18 powerlifters with at least two years of professional training took creatine supplementation and underwent through several exercises, including body composition, near-maximal muscular strength, and high-intensity bench press workouts. The results showed a clear correlation between supplementing with creatine and an increase in all three factors as opposed to another group that were given placebo pills instead. And the best part is: the creatine group saw no changes in their body fat percentage at all.
Another double-blind study found that participants who took creatine supplementation saw a significant increase in their upper arm muscular area, as well as overall muscle mass relative to a placebo group. In fact, the creatine group saw a staggering 14 kg increase in their body mass – while their body fat percentage remained unchanged!
And Enhances Athletic Performance!
As we’ve seen above, creatine enhances athletic performance in almost every major discipline that involves weights or otherwise. As a matter of fact, creatine products improve performance in the following exercises:
- All kinds of aerobic
- …as well as anaerobic exercises
- Plus a ton more!
Additionally, this highly potent hormone increases the power output during short exercise bursts after a given pause. This is great news for soccer, basketball, and tennis players – to name a few – since they can experience up to 20% increase in their power output during their second exercise bouts.
But How Does Creatine Work?
As we’ve seen above, creatine works in numerous ways to make significant improvements in muscle strength, growth, and provide an additional boost in the overall performance in varying sports disciplines. Creatine is a complex compound that works in a multitude ways, but one of its major benefits comes from the increase in creatine phosphate levels in the muscles. This process enables athletes to further push their muscles to the ultimate limit, such as making that last burst of energy in sprint finishes, or pushing for one more rep during weight-lifting. Given enough time, this ability to make more reps will ultimately result in bigger and stronger muscles.
Additionally, creatine also works through a process known as muscle cell volumization. Simply speaking, this means that creatine takes the water from the blood (and other fluids) and redirects it to the cells in the muscles. The end process is muscle cell volumization, while the chemical process during which all of this takes place is called osmosis. In fact, everything the body does while on creatine supplementation results in stretching the cell membranes and finally – greater protein synthesis or long-term muscle growth.
Forms of Creatine
The most common, commercially available types of creatine are:
This form of creatine is not so expensive – yet it provides users with decent results for an excellent bargain. Plus, the majority of clinical studies are done using creatine monohydrate as the main creatine source, so be sure that you’re getting the better of two worlds (quality and price).
On the other hand, there’s another form of creatine – called Hydrochloride. Basically, this high-quality supplement is creatine attached to hydrochloric acid. Both creatine hydrochloride and monohydrate are perfectly potent and can be the preferred supplement-choice for you.
Creatine Supplements Ingredients
Usually, most high-quality creatine supplements contain some combination of creatine and an additional ingredient that increases the product’s potency. The most common combinations are:
Magnesium Creatine Chelate
A highly potent pairing of creatine and magnesium. When these two compounds come together, the properties of creatine are enhanced so that the muscles get more of what they need, faster. This leads to increased muscle energy levels while also stopping muscle fatigue before it even has a chance to happen.
This type of creatine is a buffered creatine product. Kre-alkalyn is processed at a higher pH levels as opposed to ‘plain’ creatine, meaning less of it gets converted to creatinine and thus it’s more effective for muscle growth.
Also known as dicreatine malate or tricreatine malate. This type of creatine is a product of a creatine and a malic acid bond. Malic acid enhances the ability of creatine to be absorbed faster in the body. In addition to that, malic acid is also responsible for less fatigue during, and especially after a workout.
Creatine plus alpha-ketoglutarate – this supplement type is an excellent nitric oxide booster, which significantly increases the product’s absorption rate relative to creatine monohydrate. Great for individuals looking for quicker and more explosive gains.
An excellent chemical pairing between creatine and a form of glucose. The glucose inclusion makes creatine gluconate to be faster absorbed in the body.
Or sometimes known as tricreatine orotate, this product is made by bonding creatine with orotic acid. This type of acid has the same building blocks as human DNA, and it stimulates the body to make quick energy for intense and rapid bursts of action.
No matter which form or type of a creatine supplement you prefer – all of them are bound to increase the ability of the muscles to work harder, longer, and with less effort than before taking these products. In short, your athletic abilities can only get better by including creatine supplements into your nutritional plan.
Creatine is also very effective in getting you muscle pumps. Although muscle pumps don't necessarily help you out physiologically in terms of building muscle mass, they will help with motivational levels. Shop from our wide range of creatine supplements and experience muscle mass gains like you’ve never done before.