What is it, what it does, & how it affects muscle growth
If you're looking to gain muscle mass, you've probably heard or been advised to lift heavier weights and increase your calorie and protein intake. But have you ever thought about starting a creatine supplement? While creatine may be one of those supplements you are unsure of the effects, we have broken down this extremely beneficial supplement to give you a better idea of the safety and effectiveness of this product. Keep scrolling to learn more!
What is Creatine?
Creatine is a natural compound found in your body, made up of the amino acids L-arginine, glycine, and methionine. The scientific name "creatine monohydrate" is essentially creatine with one molecule of water attached to it (hence the "mono" in front of "hydrate").
All of our bodies naturally produce creatine, but can also be absorbed from sources like meat, eggs, fish, and additional supplements. Vegetarians and vegans may benefit from taking creatine as there may be a deficit from lack of animal creatine in their diet. However, it is important to maintain a well-balanced diet and consistent workouts to see wanted results.
Creatine is a well-known and fundamental supplement in the fitness and bodybuilding world. In fact, a recent study done on creatine recommendations for bodybuilders during peak week found that 48 % of males and ~ 51 % of females supplemented with creatine during their contest preparation (Escalante, et al, 2021).
If you're looking into whether or not creatine supplements are for you, look no further! Keep scrolling to learn the science behind creatine and muscle growth and the many benefits of taking this supplement.
Science Behind Creatine Monohydrate
Creatine is involved in producing energy for your muscles; 95% of creatine is found in the skeletal muscle. Additionally, creatine has been studied for many years, thus finding that supplementing with creatine can double strength and increase muscle mass compared to training alone (Buford, et al, 2007).
Creatine can also enhance rapid energy production. How is this? Let's take a closer look.
An interesting fact is that you can only store enough ATP for 8-10 second of any high-intensity exercise. After this, your body must product new ATP to match the demand of the activity (Rudy, 2017).
With the help of a creatine supplement, this will increase your body's store of phosphocreatine, which is used to produce new ATP during high-intensity exercise (Rudy, 2017).
The extra creatine within the cells of your muscles can then be used for enhanced ATP production and prolonged energy before fatigue sets in.
Creatine & Muscle growth:
Did you know that creatine is one of the few legal supplements that can directly add muscle mass when combined with exercise? Additionally, creatine is considered the most effective and has the most scientific support (Mawer, 2017).
Two ways that creatine increases muscle growth are:
Creatine allows you to lift heavier weights for more reps — giving your muscles a strong stimulus to grow.
Creatine increases water retention within the muscle cells — promoting lean muscle mass and a "fuller" look to the muscles
Many people think creatine and think water retention or 'bloat'. This is attributed to water retention in the muscle tissue; therefore calling for increased lean mass from greater osmotic pressure (Wu, 2022).
Correspondingly, greater osmotic pressure following the increase in creatine content has been linked to muscle cell swelling — a key stimulus for cell growth (Kreider, et al, 2017).
A recent study done on the effect of creatine and weight training on muscle creatine and performance in athletes indicates a significant increase in strength and muscle mass.
Subjects were recreational athletes who were randomly assigned to receive daily creatine (based on lean tissue mass) or a placebo.
Over the course of 8 weeks, results found that creatine supplementation increased muscle creatine levels, muscle mass, and overall strength (Buford, et al, 2007).
Is Creatine Safe to Use?
Of course when searching a new supplement it is important to make sure it's not only effective but also safe to use. The good news is that creatine supplementation is safe for all athletes and will keep fueling you to greater gains.
Additionally, creatine contains no calories and has no impact on your fat metabolism. So, if you're wondering if you can take creatine and not workout, the answer is yes. However, if you aren't working out, you can't expect to gain muscle.
It's safe to say that creatine monohydrate has been recently accepted as a safe and useful ergogenic aid; however, there are several claiming myths about creatine supplementation that you may have heard or seen before. Below is a list of a few common myths 'debunked'.
MYTH: Creatine supplementation causes excess weight gain and puffiness.
FACT: Creatine helps provide hydration to cells in the muscle; however, long-term creatine studies show no signifiant changes in total body water weight.
FACT: Creatine supplementation does not change kidney function in healthy individuals.
MYTH: Cramping, dehydration, and altered electrolyte status is caused by creatine supplementation.
FACT: There is no research that shows that creatine causes cramping and dehydration. In fact, some studies of creatine intake may help reduce the risk of some of these conditions.
MYTH: There are no studies of long-term effects of taking creatine.
FACT: Creatine has been studied for many years, proving its safety and effectiveness of supplementation.
What Are the Best Forms of Creatine?
Creatine comes in many forms. When looking for a quality creatine supplement, look for creatine forms of creatine monohydrate and creatine HCL (hydrochloride).
Powder form of creatine is the most common and can be added to other supplements like pre-workout or aminos.
Creatine capsules are also just as effective. In fact, if you are in a creatine loading phase, pills are a great way to hit an effective dosage!
Our highly effective creatine supplement,Crea+Pump, was designed to increase strength and endurance, also giving an insane pump.
Crea+Pump is stimulant-free, increases production of ATP, and also is in the form of on-the-go convienent capsules.
To try our best-selling capsule form of creatine, CLICK HERE!
How to Take a Creatine Supplement
Recent studies show that supplementing with 3 to 5 grams of creatine monohydrate daily can improve strength, power, and muscle growth.
To see faster results, some athletes "creatine load" by taking around 20 grams per day for the first 5-7 days. However, research shows that this isn't necessary and can get similar results by taking smaller doses more frequently.
When to take creatine:
Creatine can be used every day (off days too)!
The goal is to saturate your muscles with creatine so that when it comes time to train, your muscles are ready to give your body more fuel!You can accomplish this by consuming one scoop (5 grams) of our creatine every day.
Remember, creatine doesn't have an acute benefit like caffeine, so you can take it at any time during the day. The goal is to take it consistently!
The Bottom Line:
Creatine has been studied over many years to be one of the most effective supplements for exercise performance. While there are many myths this supplement has involving excess weight gain and renal fatigue, we can assure this is not true.
Creatine monohydrate has many benefits for increasing muscle mass and enhancing energy production, which is why trying it won't hurt your progress! This supplement is a very common use for many athletes and bodybuilders and can be used daily.
Additionally, creatine comes in many forms such as powder and capsules and we are happy to provide you with both! Of course it is important to understand that creatine is not necessary for muscle gains, but definitely a supporting supplement to your physique and strength goals!
Buford, T. W., Kreider, R. B., Stout, J. R., Greenwood, M., Campbell, B., Spano, M., Ziegenfuss, T., Lopez, H., Landis, J., & Antonio, J. (2007). International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation and exercise. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 4, 6. https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-4-6
Nissen, S. L., & Sharp, R. L. (2003). Effect of dietary supplements on lean mass and strength gains with resistance exercise: a meta-analysis. Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985), 94(2), 651–659. https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00755.2002
Wu, S. H., Chen, K. L., Hsu, C., Chen, H. C., Chen, J. Y., Yu, S. Y., & Shiu, Y. J. (2022). Creatine Supplementation for Muscle Growth: A Scoping Review of Randomized Clinical Trials from 2012 to 2021. Nutrients, 14(6), 1255. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14061255