Guide to Creatine Supplements

What Exactly is Creatine?

Creatine is a nitrogen-containing organic acid that is naturally produced from amino acids in the kidney and liver. Small amounts are also found in meat. Creatine was first identified in the 1800s and, in the 1970s, Soviet researchers found that taking creatine supplements may improve athletic performance. Within the next 20 years, creatine had become a popular natural way to enhance performance and build lean body mass.

Does Creatine Really Work?

Creatine is one of the only dietary supplements that definitively improves athletic performance, according to the National Strength and Conditioning Association. A study published in the journal “Acta Physiologica Scandinavia” showed that creatine supplementation improved power output during an all out 30-second bicycle test and improved total volume during a bench press test.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, performance enhancement has been best demonstrated for high intensity athletes like sprinters, rowers, power lifters, throwers and jumpers. When creatine is added to a workout regimen, the data suggest that supplements can improve athletic performance in high intensity events of short duration, such as 50-yard or 100-yard sprints. The benefits seem most likely to occur when exercising for 30 seconds or less.

Some studies also indicate that creatine can improve muscle strength and help weight lifters improve performance during resistance training. If you think you can benefit from greater explosive power, being able to push out a couple more repetitions, recovering faster in between sets and speed up muscle recovery after each workout then creatine could most definitely be a great addition to your regimen.

How Much Should I Take?

Some creatine supplements will recommend a “loading” phase when first starting. This will usually last around 5 days. The purpose of the loading phase is to saturate the muscles with creatine and enhance future absorption of the creatine. If the loading phase is recommended, follow it, and then continue to intake up to 20 g per day.

According to a study published in the “European Journal of Applied Physiology” in 1994, ingesting 20 g of creatine a day increased muscle creatine stores by 20 percent. Several days of this dosage elevated intramuscular creatine for weeks. You would have to eat 10 lbs. of uncooked steak to ingest 20 g of creatine from whole food, so consuming a supplement is necessary if you want to increase your intramuscular creatine stores.

Not only is the supplement beneficial, but who really wants to, or can for that matter, eat 10lbs of raw steak every day??? No thank you!

Now that you have been given the 4-1-1 on creatine, go find your creatine supplement with confidence and experience all it has to offer!

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