Apart from routine heavy workout plans, it is also important to provide supplementation to one’s body. These supplements form a core part of a bodybuilder trying to achieve their goal. Every fitness champ knows how to maintain a balance of essentials required for the body, be it in the form of a protein shake or vitamin and mineral capsules.
Creatine shake is also a widely known supplement consumed by bodybuilders. It has a high demand because of its popularity in increasing muscle strength and mass. You may have heard about people engaging in these conversations while you work out at the gym. However, before believing in people’s advice and making its consumption a part of your routine, you need to understand creatine and its significance to your body thoroughly. Learning about its benefits and risks is also essential to consume the right intake and avoid associated problems. This article will guide you through the basics of creatine, its benefits, and associated risks.
Naturally Available Creatinine
Creatine is an amino acid derivative that is naturally present in the human body. When you consume particular foods such as red meat or seafood, the amino acids present in this food are converted into creatine. This creatine is then stored in the muscle cells and is used whenever the body needs it, especially during heavy exercises like powerlifting. An individual requires around 2 to 4 grams of creatine daily. However, the amount of creatine available to your body depends on protein consumption. Since protein is mostly present in a non-vegetarian diet, those on a vegan diet or vegetarians can increase their protein intake by consuming creatine monohydrate supplements.
Creatine increases muscle strength and lean muscle mass. It also allows muscles to recover after a heavy exercise immediately. However, though some research shows that it improves athletic performance, there is no evidence of sports endurance.
Effectiveness Of Creatine Supplementation
Creatine Increases Energy
Because intense exercises like weightlifting and powerlifting require movements within a short span, providing energy continuously seems like a difficult task, possibly because your body runs out of ATP. ATP, adenosine triphosphate, is the natural energy currency of the body that provides energy to do work. The natural role of creatine is to increase the production of ATP. So creatine supplementation will increase the ATP reserves in your body. Creatine supplements quickly reach your muscles and increase the processes that produce ATP. In this way, weight lifters gain extra energy during their intense, rigorous workout. In addition, because it can also neutralize acids produced in the muscles, it lets you exercise without taking any breaks in between.
Additional Benefits To Your Muscles
Apart from increasing muscle strength and mass, creatine is also involved in supporting other functions of the muscles. For instance, creatine improves cell volume, increasing the muscles’ water content, increasing muscle size. In addition, various metabolic factors like insulin-derived growth factors (IGF-1) are important for the overall metabolic processes of the body. Creatine again is involved in increasing the levels of IGF-1.
Maintains Blood Sugar Levels
A study revealed that people with exercise and creatine supplementation had improved blood sugar levels. A theory says creatine increases the concentration of GLUT-4, a glucose transporter that brings glucose into the muscles for breakdown. In this way, your body can clear glucose faster and increase ATP concentration.
Risks Associated With Creatine Supplementation
One important aspect is that the long-term effects of creatine are not studied as yet. Therefore, one may use it as a dietary supplement, but remember that these grams of creatine are not the answer to your prolonged rigorous working-out habits.
Creatine Can Cause Hepatic Problems
Creatine is cleared in the form of creatinine by the kidney. Therefore, if one is diagnosed with kidney problems or comorbidities associated with the kidney, then excessive creatine can cause damage to the kidney cells.
Creatine Can Increase Weight
Research suggests that creatine can elevate weight quickly because creatine increases the water content in the body. Therefore, one gains extra kilograms because of the water content and not fat.
Other Side Effects Include
- Muscle cramps
- Stomach cramps
- Abdominal pain
Does Creatine Supplementation Work
There are groups of people that have reported that creatine supplementation does not cause any benefits to their gym routine. In addition, because it causes weight gain, creatine can also reduce the stamina of an individual. Also, around 20 reports have been filed to the FDA due to the adverse effects of creatine intake, including blood clots, cardiac arrhythmia, and kidney problems.
The Bottom Line!
Just like a coin has two faces, creatine supplementation can be beneficial to the body and toxic. Powerlifters and weightlifters may gain from it, while swimmers and runners may not see any positives because it does not provide endurance. Before you make any plans, a piece of advice would be to consult your dietitian regarding the intake of supplements. If you consume a well-balanced diet, then you may get these essential supplements through your diet. The bottom line is eating healthily, being well hydrated, and restricting yourself from consuming external metabolites without trained and qualified supervision.