When searching for information about nutritional supplements, you can often feel bombarded with information, all of which tends to be different from each website and is more often not scientifically proven. As a result of this, athletes can struggle to make the correct decisions on what to use. That’s where we come in. In this article we will answer all of the common questions associated with the sports supplement creatine.
What actually is creatine?
Creatine is a substance that the body produces naturally by three amino acids: methionine, arginine, and glycine. When these amino acids combine, the creatine produced converts into phosphocreatine (PCr) which provides the body with an immediate source of energy during high-intensity explosive exercises. The amino acids needed for this process are commonly found in meat, fish, and other animal products. Consequently, those who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, may find that their creatine levels are low and so a supplement may be required in order to give the body that extra boost.
What is the benefit of creatine?
Within the muscles of the body creatine is stored and later converted into PCr, this fuels the body when undergoing high-intensity exercises such as weight lifting or sprinting. Creatine is also known as an aid to quick recovery between sets, as well as helping to boost lean muscle mass.
As a supplement creatine is better known as ‘creatine monohydrate’. In order to receive the maximum benefits when supplementing creatine, it is vital that you are completing the appropriate training. One of the great advantages of creatine is the increase in lean body mass; This is due to the creatine within the muscles causing water to move across the cell membrane and into muscle, causing a change in the thickness of muscle fibre. Subsequently the athlete will begin to gain weight, which in some sports could be a major disadvantage, in these circumstances’ creatine supplementation is not recommended.
Where is the evidence?
Previous research on creatine describes it as ‘The most effective ergogenic nutritional supplement currently available to athletes in terms of increasing high-intensity exercise capacity and lean body mass during training.’ by the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
In recent studies it has been shown that creatine can be beneficial for not only strengthening and increasing muscle mass, but also improving physical performance during high-intensity sports, and exercise. Not only this but athletes who partake in sports that include a power bursts at either the start or finish may also benefit from creatine supplements. Research has also suggested that the effects of creatine on both men and women are equal.
Should I be taking creatine supplements?
Creatine supplements are beneficial to those who partake in high intensity sports such as Rugby and Football to help improve strength and improve performance. If you are on a vegetarian or vegan diet creatine monohydrate supplementation is recommended as you may already have low levels of creatine.
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