A First-Timer’s Guide To Supplementing With Creatine

Many athletes and casual gym-goers use supplements to support their fitness goals. Among the most popular and well-researched supplements is creatine.

A First-Timer’s Guide To Supplementing With Creatine

It is known to improve muscle strength and athletic performance. But despite the scientific evidence supporting the health benefits of creatine, there’s a lot of misinformation on its usage, safety, and efficacy.

If it’s your first time to supplement with creatine, go over this guide and equip yourself with the essential things you need to know before taking the first dose.

What is Creatine

Creatine is a natural substance present in your body and helps supply energy to your muscles. Note that the primary carrier of energy in cells is the adenosine triphosphate (ATP). But when the body requires a vast amount of energy quickly, like lifting heavy weights or sprinting, the phosphate part of the creatine molecule is broken down to make more ATP rapidly.

That means the more creatine available in your body, the more energy you’re able to produce. You can get creatine from foods such as red meat, fish, and seafood. However, they are not often enough to help you get performance-enhancing effects. This is where the best creatine on the market comes into play.

There are various types of creative supplements readily available, but the more notable ones include the following:

  • Creatine Monohydrate. Besides being the most common form of creatine supplements, it is supported by numerous studies, which makes it highly recommendable among other options.
  • Creatine Hydrolysate. Known to be highly soluble, it can be absorbed easily by the body and can give the same effects even at lower doses. But despite its supreme solubility, it is not often recommended due to a lack of scientific studies.
  • Creatine Ethyl Ester. It’s an advanced form of creatine with different absorption and uptake rates than other types of creatine supplements. Even so, it doesn’t look to be as potent and suggestible as the monohydrate type.
  • Buffered Creatine: Also known as kre-alkalyn, it is specifically designed to improve the stability of creatine in the stomach by adding an alkaline powder. But there has not been a thorough amount of research done on this form.

How Can You Benefit From Creatine Supplementation

Taking creatine supplements can bring a lot of positive effects when combined with different types of training. But before adding any form of creatine to your diet, it’s best to know how it can specifically help you.

Here are the benefits you can get from creatine supplementation:

Improve Cell Signaling

Properly functioning cell-signaling pathways are vital to maintaining and promoting health. Through them, your body is able to sense, adapt, and correct changes in pH, temperature, energy, and toxin pressure.

If they’re critically impaired, your cells cannot turn energy production up or down as necessary. Fortunately, creatine has been found to improve satellite cell signaling, helping your body communicate its needs better.

Promote Good Hydration

Your body depends on water for many important processes, such as carrying essential glucose, oxygen, and nutrients from the blood system to the cells. Low levels of fluid in the body can cause headaches, lethargy, poor concentration, and feelings of dizziness.

It is why good hydration is one of the essential aspects of the diet, and you can achieve that with creatine. Since it helps the muscles retain water, creatine can help prevent dehydration while you’re working out.

Increase Muscle Growth

Muscles are often described as the engine of your body’s fat and calorie-burning mechanism. That’s why muscle mass plays a crucial role when it comes to fitness. As your muscle increases, your body is also burning calories or energy faster. It can lead to less body fat and improved energy levels.

You can build more muscle by taking creatine supplements. They have been shown to increase the hormone needed for muscle growth.

Enhance High-Intensity Exercise Performance

The effects of creatine supplementation on cell signaling, muscle hydration, and muscle growth can somehow influence your performance on high-intensity workouts. But specifically, the direct role of creatine in ATP production can already make a significant difference in your athletic or training performance.

Unlike other supplements that only affect advanced athletes, you can benefit from creatine regardless of your fitness level.

How To Take Creatine Supplements

While creatine supplementation has several benefits, there are useful ways to get the best results for your goals. But most people take creatine through the following phases:

  • Loading Phase: For five days, you’re going to consume 20-25g of creatine per day. This phase aims to take more creatine, so your muscles begin to store it in greater quantities. Though this is not dangerous, it’s only good for someone who needs faster results.
  • Maintenance Phase: If you do the loading phase, the next period is maintenance which typically lasts for as long as you want. 3 to 5g per day is enough to maintain saturation levels. However, you may take higher doses if you have already built more muscle mass.
  • Slowing Down: A creatine loading phase isn’t strictly required. Note that it depends on your goals and tolerance. If you have stomach issues or the idea of loading isn’t good, you can still increase muscle creatine stores and achieve peak saturation by taking smaller doses of 3g.

 Other Reminders Before Taking Creatine Supplements

Taking creatine supplements appears to be safe in general. However, bear in mind that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration supplements do not regulate dietary supplements. That means the safety and purity standards of such products are not also controlled. Make sure to get your creatine supplement from a reliable source with third-party certification.

It’s also worth noting that there is not enough information available about the safety of these supplements in pregnant or nursing women. If you have kidney problems, creatine supplementation might not be a good idea. No matter what, it’s always best to check with your healthcare provider before using creatine or any other supplements.

Final Thoughts

Creatine supplementation is might worth looking into if you’re looking for a consistent strength boost. But note that it cannot do magic on your fitness goals and make them easier to achieve. You still need to consistently train and eat nutritious whole foods to get the best results. Always remember that when taking any supplement, being safe should be your top priority.

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