Creatine is a safe, affordable supplement with the potential to help you get stronger and build more muscle. Here are ten important facts about creatine that you should know before taking it:
1. Creatine became popular as a dietary supplement in the 1990s when American football player Rick Trujillo stated that he depended on creatine supplements to prepare for games.
2. The first published study of creatine was performed by French scientists in 1832 when they first isolated the compound contained within meat and fish and called it creatinine.
3. Nowadays, creatine is the most widely used sports supplement in the world and is used by athletes in every sport from bodybuilders through to high-level marathon runners.
4. Creatine monohydrate is the form that has been studied the most, however, there are other forms of creatine that may be more effective at certain times of training. This includes creatine citrate and creatine ethyl ester (CEE). CEE has not been studied as extensively and isn’t as commonly used as monohydrate.
5. Creatine is naturally produced in the body from the amino acids glycine, arginine, and methionine; however, more than 99% of the creatine in the body is stored in the muscles as creatine phosphate.
6. Creatine supplements are made up of three amino acids – arginine, glycine, and methionine – along with guanidino acetic acid (GAA) which acts as a buffer to keep creatine’s pH stable.
7. Creatine is naturally found in red meat, fish, and seafood. Some people believe that vegetarians and vegans can’t get enough creatine from their diets; however, this is a myth. Vegans can easily meet their body’s daily requirements through the consumption of plant-based sources of creatine such as spinach, potatoes, and beans.
8. A good rule of thumb for taking creatine is to spread your intake out over the whole day rather than having it all at once.
9. Creatine is stored in the muscles and is synthesized by the liver from three amino acids. When a fast-twitch muscle fiber is activated (such as during intense exercise), creatine’s phosphate group joins up with ADP to form creatine phosphate (CP). This then acts as a substrate for phosphocreatine, which reacts with ADP again to form ATP.
10. The most effective and common way to take creatine is to ingest a dose of 5g a day alongside your normal daily amount of protein. This will help to maintain normal muscle function and keep your creatine levels topped up.
Creatine has been used for more than 100 years as an ergogenic aid for sports performance and as a nutritional supplement. It is one of the well-researched supplements, with many studies showing that it is safe for use in healthy individuals when it is used in accordance with the recommended guidelines.
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