You have probably heard about creatine. Creatine is like the ‘magic portion’ for bodybuilding, and exercises and especially endurance exercises. Creatine is a nitrogenous organic acid that helps supply energy to all cells of the body, especially the muscle cells. Creatine is not a steroid. Infact, creatine is naturally found in vertebrates in the liver, kidneys and pancreas, though not in high amounts. So, you probably know creatine is okay and it has been proven to be good for your health. It is known to improve brain performance and improve long term and short term memory for vegetarians. But do you know of the following fun facts about creatine?
1. Creatine does indeed make you look – and feel – stronger!
People will take creatine for various reasons, and that is perfectly fine. Maybe you want to look stronger, maybe you want to ‘feel’ stronger. Taking creatine actually makes you look stronger. It does this by drawing extra water into your muscles. The catch is that the extra water will eventually be used up by the body so to maintain this, take 2 -5 grams of creatine per day. Remember to take lots of water.
The bonus is that you will also ‘feel’ stronger, since creatine creates extra energy for the body. Give this energy an outlet through regular exercises and I promise you won’t regret it. Working out also helps to avoid the puffy look the body might take because of the extra water that accumulates in the muscles without doing some exercises.
2. Too much of anything is dangerous and unnecessary – and this also applies to creatine!
So, one might think, if creatine is this good for me, maybe I should take more of it. Bad idea. Not only is taking too much of creatine dangerous for your good health like the functioning of your kidney, liver and the heart, it has not been proven to cause any ‘extra’ health benefits or aesthetic benefits (for your body). It is therefore safer, and saner to stick to the recommended dosage.
3. Creatine is good for your kids too.
Jose Antonio PhD wonders “What astounds me is that parents would rather give kids a sugar-filled soft drink than creatine.” Creatine is very safe and definitely healthier than a soft drink.
He goes on to add that “Creatine has been shown to have beneficial effects in kids with traumatic brain injury, kids being treated for cancer, [and] kids with muscular dystrophy as well as teenage athletes.”… “So why not give it to healthy kids who are training for a competitive sport or activity?”
Creatine is perfectly safe for children. Infact, a small percentage of children is born with a defect of creatine metabolism which if not treated can cause mental retardation as well as autistic disorders and some of these children have been cured successfully with creatine monohydrate. Creatine has countless solutions for several medical conditions.
4. Creatine is used by pediatric cancer patients.
Creatine has been used by pediatric cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Corticosteroids taken by pediatric cancer patients to alleviate the side effects of chemotherapy are known to cause rapid gains in body fat. Creatine helps to greatly decrease this body fat.
5. The idea of taking creatine with some grape juice actually works.
It is true that taking creatine with sugar such as grape juice helps.
This is actually a sound and neat trick – for creatine uptake to be enhanced, insulin intake should be encouraged. Think of insulin as a kind of pump pushing the creatine faster into the muscles. Although the main word here is insulin, more basically juice will do the trick, such as grape juice. Just take 100 grams for every 5 grams of creatine and you’re good to go.
A new study has observed that taking protein along with creatine in this fashion has much the same results. The study recommended taking 50 grams of protein for every 5 gram of creatine.
6. Liquid creatine is actually not the most effective form of creatine.
Liquid creatine has its fair share of advocates who claim that it is more quickly consumed by the body compared to other forms of creatine such as solid creatine. This might be true but in relation to the quality of the creatine, solid creatine comes up best. For instance, creatine in powder form is extremely stable.
The thing about creatine is that when it is exposed to an acidic environment or moisture for a long time, it breaks down to more useless creatinine and the citric and phosphorus acids found in liquid creatine do just that.
Experts thus advise that if you are going to make a portion of creatine shake, make sure you drink it by the end of the day.
7. Creatine from food is great and noble – but it is not enough.
Foods such as beef, cod, salmon and herring contain great amounts of creatine. They are credible sources of creatine.
Deriving creatine from food might be safe and an organic way free from what some would call ‘toxins’ of manufactured creatine products. However, it is not enough. It is estimated that the average person will get about 1 gram of his creatine from his diet. This is hugely attributed to the fact that the cooking process destroys much of the creatine found in foods.
8. There’s no better choice that powder- Powder wins always!
As any industry grows, advances are made to the product with relation to aesthetics. Creatine industry is no exemption. Nowadays, there is effervescent as well as liquid creatine. There is even chewable creatine! All these advancements are commendable but none of them triumphs the good old creatine powder. So, whether you decide to buy these newer forms for the hype or to be hip, bear in mind that no form has been found to be more effective than that plain old creatine monohydrate powder. Countless studies also show that it is also easily assimilated by the body. Not to discourage these products or anything but seriously, creatine powder wins always!
9. Consider the quality of your creatine.
Just like any product, there are variances in quality. For example, Chinese creatine is a lower quality product, with more contaminants such as creatinine, sodium, dicyandiamide, and dihydrotriazine. German creatine, from companies such as SKW (Creapure), are cleaner, purer products. Consult with a professional and zoom in on the good quality creatine to reap the best benefits your money can buy.
10. Yes! – Creatine has different results for different people.
Most people will turn to creatine after seeing the dramatic change in another person – if he/she can do it, I can do it. Well, not exactly. Some people have high levels of creatine in their body naturally. For example, meat and fish eaters are likely to give a lower change by creatine as compared to vegetarians who have lower levels of creatine from their diets.
Muscle make-up is also a major factor. Fast – twitch fibers are responsible for sprinting and jumping whereas slow – twitch fibers are responsible for endurance exercises. Most people will have 50% fast – twitch fibers and 50 % slow- twitch fibers and they will respond well to creatine. However, those people with 70% fast – twitch fibers and 30% slow- twitch fibers will see greater results. This is according to Peter Adhihetty, assistant professor in the department of applied physiology and kinesiology at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
Therefore, don’t lose hope if you don’t see the exact result your friend got – there’s a lot more going on for the changes to appear than sticking to the dosage.
Well, there you have it! I hope that now you know a bit more about creatine. Thank you for reading through.