I remember the first time someone told me to take creatine to improve my performance. Like most newbies to fitness I had absolutely no idea what it was or why I’d use it, or even if I should use it. I placed it on the same level as a fat burner or some other useless supplement parroted by people wanting to make money. In reality, creatine is one of the most effective performance enhancing nutritional supplements out there.
How does it work?
During stress your body releases phosphocreatine to aid in cellular function. Creatine is integral in storing phosphocreatine. This is why it’s cited as increasing strength, but why it’s also important for brain, bones, muscle and liver. Creatine essentially puts more gas in the tank to allow you to perform at higher levels.
Is it safe?
Creatine has undergone a plethora of tests that have confirmed its safety. Most people recommend 2g-5g a day taken with 8oz of water. When taken without water GI upset has been a side effect. If you’ve taken too much diarrhea is a common side effect. It’s important to maintain a good hydration status (drink plenty of water!) while taking creatine. Some people have reported an increase in water retention up to 5 pounds, but this is a highly individualized response.
Who should take it?
Anyone looking to increase their performance may benefit from creatine. Creatine is found naturally in food (like meats, eggs and dairy) and also naturally produced in the body, so in no way is it a “foreign” supplement.
Do not confuse creatine with creatinine, which is the breakdown product of creatine in muscle.