Athletes and gym freaks lean on supplements to obtain better and faster results. Some supplements are notorious for their negative impact on your health.
Among all the supplements, creatine gained massive popularity due to its considerable benefits. Creatine gives your muscle a boost and improves your performance. marginally.
Creatine is a natural supplement with lesser-known side effects. It is a well-researched supplement and has proven to help gain muscle strength.
But is creatine cheating? Let’s find out the truth behind it.
Table of Contents
- How Does Creatine Work?
- Is taking creatine cheating and Do You Still Need To Go To The Gym?
- What Are The Side Effects of Taking Creatine?
- How Much Creatine can I safely take?
- Are There Any Types of Creatine – Which One Should I Buy?
- Best Time To Take Creatine
- Creatine and Muscle Growth
- Does Creatine Affect Your Brain?
- What Are The Other Benefits of Creatine?
How Does Creatine Work?
Creatine phosphate is involved in converting ADP (adenosine diphosphate) to ATP (adenosine triphosphate).
ATP is the energy currency of the body. Creatine speeds up the production of ATP. As a result, you can work more efficiently in the gym.
Is taking creatine cheating and Do You Still Need To Go To The Gym?
Creatine causes water retention that makes your muscle look more prominent, but supplementation; only is not enough.
It will help you perform high-intensity exercises with lesser fatigue and quicker muscle recovery. For enhanced and long-lasting results, you have to go to the gym.
Creatine alone cannot transform your body. A proper fitness training program will give the best results.
Supplementation provides enhanced strength and muscle gains. For overall fitness, proper nutrition, training, and sufficient recovery time does the job.
Extensive research on supplements proves that creatine is one of the safest and most effective supplements. It is already present in your body, hence taking creatine is not cheating.
What Are The Side Effects of Taking Creatine?
Everything comes with a cost, and so does creatine supplementation. Here is the list of some potential side effects of creatine:
Increase In Body Weight
Creatine causes water retention that can create some notable fluctuation in your body weight. Weight gain is the most highlighted side effect of creatine.
In some cases, consumers get demotivated. But it is essential to know that it is just water weight. There is no increase in body fat; only the intracellular water content increases.
Creatine has become controversial as it puts some burden on your kidneys. But evidence shows that if you have a pre-existing kidney disorder, then it is a point of consideration. A healthy individuals should drink extra water to keep themselves hydrated.
Also, consult a healthcare professional when starting supplementation.
Some individuals experienced muscle cramping while creatine supplementation. Muscle cramping can be due to electrolyte imbalance or extensive workouts. To minimize this side effect, drink plenty of water to keep your electrolytes balanced.
Creatine supplementation causes abdominal cramps, bloating, nausea, and diarrhea in some people. You can subside these symptoms by managing your dose and diet.
Taking smaller doses can help you deal with GI disturbance.
How Much Creatine can I safely take?
We can divide creatine dosage into two phases: a loading phase and a maintenance phase.
Generally, people overdose creatine in the loading phase to saturate their muscles quicker. Who doesn’t like quick results?
In the loading phase, you can safely consume up to 20 grams of creatine. Divide these 20 grams into 4 to 5 doses for a week. If you are experiencing any allergic reactions or GI disturbance, consult a physician.
Not all the individuals preferably enter the loading phase and they skip directly to the second phase.
As the loading phase ends, you can start the maintenance phase, which comprises 3 to 5 grams of creatine per day.
The creatine requirement of each individual is different depending upon the body weight, composition, training routine, overall health, and any other medication/supplements they may be taking.
On the safer side, we recommend you consult a healthcare professional before starting creatine supplementation.
Are There Any Types of Creatine – Which One Should I Buy?
Creatine is present in different chemical formulas that behave differently in our bodies. Some types of creatine are listed below:
- Creatine Monohydrate
- Creatine Hydrochloride
- Creatine Citrate
- Creatine Ethyl Ester
The list goes on, but if we talk about the best type of creatine, creatine monohydrate wins over the rest.
It is the cheapest yet the most effective type of creatine. Creatine Monohydrate absorbs readily and gives muscles strength to train harder.
Best Time To Take Creatine
The timing varies as per your individual needs and schedule. Taking creatine pre and post-workout has magical effects on your performance and recovery. Maintain consistency to retain its effectiveness.
Creatine along with carbohydrate-rich meals, gives better absorption. Other than meals you can also dilute it in an energy drink or fruit juice.
The training routine is critical for creatine consumption, so it’s better to seek personalized advice for the best possible results.
Creatine and Muscle Growth
Creatine positively impacts your muscle growth in both the long-term and the short-term goals.
A study reveals after 14-week consumption of creatine, there was a notable increase in muscle mass and overall body strength.
Does Creatine Affect Your Brain?
Some amount of phosphocreatine is present in your brain, just like your muscles. The brain requires ATP for functioning. Creatine has proven benefits for diseases like Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, spinal cord injuries, ischemic strokes, etc.
Creatine improves cell signaling and brain functioning which helps to deal with central nervous systems diseases.
What Are The Other Benefits of Creatine?
Creatine not only has magical benefits for health and fitness, but it also has health benefits like;
- It lowers your blood sugar levels and can help diabetic patients to maintain their sugar levels.
- In elderly individuals, creatine delays aging and improve muscle function. Better muscle strength leads to improved quality of life.
With all the benefits of creatine mentioned above, it is evident that taking creatine is not considered cheating. Creatine is a widely used, naturally occurring supplement with great benefits.
Creatine improves muscle mass, helps you perform high-intensity exercise, and shortens recovery time. The only drawback of creatine is that it may cause dehydration. So, drink plenty of water to avoid adverse situations.
Do consult a healthcare professional if you have any underlying health condition.