Welcome to the page, or welcome back!
Today I would like to discuss creatine and why it is important in a weight lifter’s life and supplement regime. We’ll talk about what it is, what it does, how it’s produced by the body, whether we produce enough, and whether we should take it as a supplement.
Let’s get started!
Creatine – What Is It?
Creatine is a naturally occurring substance ( a peptide molecule) that is found in your muscles. Most of the creatine produced by the body resides in the skeletal muscles. It is produced in your body from three amino acids – arginine, glycine, and methionine. This production occurs in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas at a rate of about 1 – 2 grams per day.
Creatine can also be obtained from the food we eat. There are several foods that are high in creatine, including red meat (5 grams of creatine per kilogram of uncooked beef), chicken, and rabbit (3.4grams per kilogram). Eggs and fish are also good sources of creatine.
It is recommended that we have a daily intake of about 5 grams of creatine. That would mean you would need to eat more than two pounds of beef or three pounds of chicken every day! Or a pound and a half of herring! That’s a lot of eating!
If you are a vegetarian, it is even more difficult to get the RDA of creatine. As an example, cranberries have the greatest amount of creatine compared to other fruits and vegetables, but it would take about 500 pounds of cranberries to get the 5 grams of creatine recommended each day.
That is why supplementation is needed. More on that in a minute. First, what does creatine actually do for us?
Creatine – What Does It Do?
Creatine, which is stored in your muscles, gives your muscles energy during heavy lifting or high intensity exercise. Muscles need fuel to work. This fuel comes in a form called ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and comes from a variety of sources, including glucose (sugar).
Lifting weights uses a lot of ATP quickly, and the cells quickly run out of energy. The ATP becomes an ADP (adenosine diphosphate). At this point, the stored creatine phosphate can regenerate the ADP into an emergency supply of ATP to continue to fuel the muscle cells.
This is why it is important to have enough creatine stored in your muscles, especially if you are a weight lifter and need the added energy. Creatine becomes a good source of energy since it is available to kick in as needed.
Creatine – Do I Make Enough?
As you can probably gather from the information so far, we do not produce enough creatine for our own use, nor can we get enough from natural sources. That being said, if you are following the Keto lifestyle, you will be getting a good portion of the creatine you need from the meat and dairy you are consuming on a daily basis.
If you are also participating in a regular exercise program, particularly weight lifting, then you still will not have enough creatine in your cells to use for the energy you need to complete the workouts you are following.
Creatine has been shown to be one of the most effective supplements for increasing muscle mass and strength. In fact, it has been shown to double your strength and lean muscle gains compared to training alone.
A review of 250 studies comparing the benefits of various supplements has shown that creatine provides the most benefit of all supplements.
We need to, therefore, supplement our bodies with creatine. Let’s talk about that for a minute.
Creatine – Should I Take It As A Supplement?
Yes, we should be taking creatine as a supplement.
As always, I will remind you that I am not a doctor or a nutritionist, and am only offering my humble opinion based on the research I have conducted.
If you are trying to gain muscle, and you consistently follow a weight lifting plan and have a sensible nutrition plan. There will be little or no benefit to taking creatine if you have a sedentary lifestyle and are not eating on a well-balanced, healthy plan.
That being said, if you are weight lifting and eating to gain muscle, then creatine is a great supplement to take. Creatine monohydrate is the standard version of the supplement, and the easiest to find in stores or online. It will give you the best results. It is recommended that you go on a “creatine loading” phase first. This will entail taking about 5 grams of creatine 4 times a day for a week. Then level out and take 3-5 grams a day to maintain your stores of creatine in your muscles.
So there you have it. Creatine may assist in the growth of muscles if you are consistently following a workout schedule and eating in a healthy manner. Of course, individual results may vary.
There may be other benefits to taking a creatine supplement. I’ll detail them in another post.
For today, thanks for listening.
If you have any questions or comments, please list them below.
See you in the next post.
Have a great day!