The Basics Of Creatine
Creatine is made in the body and even found in the foods we eat. Our bodies make around a gram of Creatine each day from the Amino Acids Arginine, Glycine, and Methionine. The process starts in the kidneys and is completed in the liver. The body uses these three Amino Acids to synthesize Creatine, which is then stored in skeletal muscle as Creatine Phosphate and used for energy. And if we eat a well-balanced diet and have no dietary restrictions or limitations we could be consuming upwards of another gram or more a day from sources such as Poultry, Fish, Pork and Beef. A typical serving of Chicken or Beef contains around 200 milligrams of Creatine. Vegetarians can consume a variety of protein sources throughout the day to get the recommended amounts of Amino Acids that the body needs to make Creatine. Arginine is found in Peanuts, Walnuts, Coconuts, Soybeans, Chickpeas, and Oats. Glycine is found in Spinach, Soy and Sesame Seeds. Methionine is found in Brazil Nuts, Oats, and Sunflower Seeds.
What Does Creatine Do?
Before Understanding Creatine, which has been the subject of over 300 published studies and over 100 published human studies, you need to understand energy production in the body. Every cell needs energy to function. Muscle cells need Energy to contract. This energy is in the form of a molecule called ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate). Energy is produced when one of the phosphate groups is removed from the ATP molecule. Once the one phosphate group is removed, only two remain. The molecule is now called ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate). This “recycling” process requires energy and the replacement of the third phosphate.
This brings us back to Creatine. When we consume Creatine the body converts Creatine (as a supplement Creatine Monohydrate is the most widely researched) to Creatine Phosphate. Creatine Phosphate donates its phosphate group to ADP, thus making ATP.
So what does this all mean? A standard dose of 3-5g Creatine monohydrate per day will have the same desired effect as loading, which is the act of taking 5 g of Creatine (4 times per day), for roughly one week, to achieve muscle Creatine saturation relatively quickly. Muscle Creatine stores can be maintained by regularly consuming 3 g of Creatine per day.
How to Use Creatine
Taking 5g of Creatine a day (both training and non-training days) over time (at least a month) combined with high-intensity activities helps support performance and muscle recovery, with regular resistance training. As such, Creatine can support athletes whose sport requires strength, power and explosive movements.
A few final things in respect to Creatine to consider? As Creatine works chronically over time and not acutely, loading Creatine is not necessary. Once muscle Creatine levels are maxed, you are not going to significantly increase levels further. As such, you don’t need to consume large amounts of sugar or anything else to “increase absorption.” And time of day for consumption is less important as well against consistency so you can consume whenever is most convenient for you. Also, it’s recommended to take Creatine on training and non-training days, again, whenever it’s convenient. And no, you don’t need to avoid Caffeine. Creatine can be added into anything you enjoy eating or drinking.
So if your goals include anything around strength, power or explosiveness, why would you not want to be using this tool in your performance toolbox?