Creatine is one of the few supplements that has a lot of cold hard evidence to back up what it does. Creatine is a naturally high energy molecule in the body that is used in the short duration high intensity phosphocreatine system. This system, also called the ATP-PC system fuels short bursts of energy with intracellular stores of creatine when the need can’t be met with oxygen. The creatine molecule is stored in the muscle and has high energy phosphate bonds. It it the detachment of the phosphate bonds that releases energy.
High intensity intervals just got easier.
Meat, fish and eggs can provide some creatine in the food form, however real effects are best gained with creatine powder. Supplementing with creatine is most common among strength and power trainees. If your training demands short burst of all out intensity, taking creatine is proven to help you recover faster from each intense bout and go hard for the next one. Although some of the effect will lessen when you stop taking creatine many of the benefits are lasting. The biggest plus is that you can push harder, you can build more muscle and train more frequently.
Creatine is water soluble and mixes easily with most protein powders.
Creatine can be taken in cycles or can be loaded to build up stores in the muscles. Cycling creatine refers to taking a set dose for a period of time and followed by stopping the dose. To load creatine, slightly higher doses are taken each day. When taking creatine, you must ensure you stay well hydrated. Creatine is stored with water in the muscle, so naturally you will need to consume more water. To prevent stomach issues, creatine is best taken with meal and dissolved in a glass of water.
One of the newer findings on creatine is that it has positive effects on mental clarity and decision making. This effect is especially prominent in older adults. Creatine is stored in all types of body cells and can provide energy during conditions of stress or low oxygen. It is by this mechanism that creatine supports all body cells, not just the muscle!
Greenwood, M., Farris, J., Kreider, R., Greenwood, L., & Byars, A. (2000). Creatine supplementation patterns and perceived effects in select division I collegiate athletes. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 10(3), 191-194.
Persky, A. M., Brazeau, G. A., & Hochhaus, G. (2003). Pharmacokinetics of the dietary supplement creatine. Clinical pharmacokinetics, 42(6), 557-574.
Rawson, E. S., & Venezia, A. C. (2011). Use of creatine in the elderly and evidence for effects on cognitive function in young and old. Amino Acids, 40(5), 1349-1362.