8 Questions About Creatine Answered | Jose Antonio, Ph.D.
Creatine monohydrate has been earning fans in the gym, and in the lab, for 25 years. But there's still plenty of confusion about the best way to take it. How much? When? Is it safe?
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Are you a non-responder? Get answers from a Ph.D. researcher who has studied creatine himself!
| 8 Questions About Creatine Answered |
1. What is Creatine? (0:15)
2. How Do I Does Creatine? (0:30)
3. What does creatine do to lean body mass? (0:51)
4. Does creatine promote gains in fat mass? (1:20)
5. How does creatine affect children & Elderly (01:32)
6. Hoe does creatine affect vegetarians & vegans? (2:39)
7. How does creatine affect brain function? (3:07)
8. Who best responds to creatine? (3:24)
Just a few years ago, creatine was something that was talked about like it was a "secret weapon" that was really only for bodybuilders, powerlifters, and other hardcore strength athletes. Today, the secret is definitely out! Athletes of all types take creatine as a way to get more results from their training, and to help them recover between sessions.
Make no mistake: Creatine isn't a shortcut to results. If your training and nutrition aren't in order, the benefits it provides will be far less than if they were. But the research is clear that for many athletes, this is one supplement that comes with a significant upside.
"There are plenty of supplements out there where people report great results anecdotally, but the science is either wishy-washy, or simply not there," explains Douglas Kalman, Ph.D., RD, in Bodybuilding.com's Foundations of Fitness Nutrition Course. "With creatine, not only has it built a solid reputation among lifters and many other types of athletes, but the science backing it as a legit performance enhancer is robust and pretty consistent. With over 2,000 studies to date, it's the most effective performance-boosting supplement out there."
| What Is Creatine Monohydrate? |
"Creatine is a combination of three different amino acids: glycine, arginine, and methionine. That's it—nothing more than a combination of amino acids," writes world-class powerlifter Layne Norton, Ph.D., in the article "Creatine: What It Is and How It Works."
And yet, that simple compound is involved in a vast number of processes in the body. It's a fundamental component in how your body creates its primary form of energy in muscle cells, the compound adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. When muscles contract explosively, or for brief, intense work lasting no longer than 8-12 seconds, creatine (bonded with phosphoric acid as creatine phosphate) is how the muscle creates the energy necessary to do it.
Most of the creatine in your body is created in the liver and kidneys, but the majority of it is stored in muscle tissue. Creatine is not considered an "essential" nutrient, because healthy human bodies are capable of creating it, and it can also be easily obtained through a diet that contains animal products.
However, dietary creatine pretty much only comes from animal products. So vegan and vegetarian athletes don't get nearly as much creatine in their diet as those who eat dairy products, eggs, and/or meat. This is one reason why creatine is often recommended as an important supplement for vegetarians.
Creatine monohydrate, the most popular form of creatine supplements, is simply creatine with one molecule of water attached to it—hence the name monohydrate. It is usually around 88-90 percent creatine by weight.
You may occasionally see people claim that creatine is a steroid. Norton says this couldn't be further from the truth.
"No, creatine is not a steroid, it is totally different and works in a different manner," he writes. "It is also not a stimulant, although it is sometimes combined with stimulant ingredients like caffeine in pre-workout formulas.
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