A lot of bodybuilders and adolescent athletes in today’s world are using creatine. Let’s find out what are some of the benefits, side effects and how often we should be using this creatine, if at all. For starters let’s discuss what exactly is creatine so we can get a better understanding.
Benefits of Creatine
Creatine is naturally synthesized in the body from amino acids primarily from the liver and kidneys where it’s then transferred into the blood and used by our muscles. Creatine was originally discovered in the 1800s as an organic ingredient found in but in very small quantities of meat. In the 1970s it was reported by the Soviets that Creatine usage could help boost athletic performance. In the 1990s Creatine gained a following as being able to help increase lean body mass naturally.
Once Creatine enters the muscles it is turned into Creatine Phosphate which is used for very short-term burst of energy or strength. It’s also been shown that creatine usage helps saturate cells in the body which results into more water retention. Which means you look a little bit bigger which everyone can agree to as being a good thing!
Benefits of Creatine
- Increases lean body mass
- Strength increase
- Slightly ‘bigger’ look due to water retention
The benefits of creatine have been shown in high quality studies that, based on certain test subjects have shown the above improvements. However other weaker studies have shown mixed results. In the end, the benefits of creatine depend on the level of fitness and strength/intensity the subject is bringing.
Side Effects of Creatine
- Stomach pain
When following proper dosing instructions creatine is more than likely safe. The above side effects have been noted along with muscle cramps. When taken orally at extremely high doses, side effects along with liver/kidney damage is possible but no studies have been shown to prove this.
Creatine uses your muscles to extract water from all areas of your body so make sure to stay properly hydrated to avoid side effects.
How often to use Creatine
It’s tough to decide exactly the proper creatine dosage for individuals as studies have been small-scale proof without firm results. It seems that creatine does not benefit individuals that are older or doing aerobic exercises. I’ve heard from two sides of the fence on creatine usage so I’ll go ahead and list both here.
- 20g daily for five days instead of continuous usage
- 5g every day continuously
- 5g every day for 8 weeks then cycle off for four weeks
As you can see there’s quite a big controversy addressing how often to use creatine. I myself use 5 g every day and haven’t had any concerns or side effects. I personally believe the benefits of creatine are very good but I don’t think a lot of its results you can see immediately. I don’t necessarily notice a huge difference verses a day where I’m taking creatine and a day I’m not taking creatine. Either way I’m going to continue using 5g every day and reap the benefits of creatine usage.
We recommend Optimum Nutrition’s Creatine Monohydrate available in a variety of different sizes. Unflavored and 99.9% pure makes it easily dissolve in water and quick to take. With its cheap price and high serving count there’s nothing to lose!
Mayoclinic.com – Creatine
webmd.com – Creatine Use