Creatine is the most studied and the most popular supplement in the market. It plays a key role in energy production (through ATP synthesis) and can contribute to gaining muscle (*1). We offer a full range of high-quality creatine powders to help you with your workouts.
Check out our Best Creatine page to find the best product to support your training goals.
What is creatine?
Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid found in muscle cells. It is produced by the body in the kidneys and the pancreas from the amino acids glycine, arginine and methionine. Creatine is necessary for synthesizing ATP (the energy molecule found in all living cells) and keeping the body exercising for longer (*2).
What are the benefits of creatine?
Scientific studies have shown that creatine can improve athlete's performance in activities that require quick bursts of energy, such as weight training (*3) and sprints (*4), and can even help athletes recover more quickly between sets and workouts (*5).
Among other benefits, creatine improves both aerobic (*6) and anaerobic capacity (*7), delays the onset of muscle fatigue (*8), accelerates recovery (*9) and increases mental skills (*10). Although creatine can be taken by any person who exercises regularly, it is better suited to bodybuilders as the supplement promotes muscle protein synthesis thus helping to increase muscle mass (*11).
How much creatine per day?
According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, the quickest way to increase muscle creatine content is to consume 0.3 g / kg during the first three days, followed by a daily intake of 3 to 5 g of creatine (*12). This will allow for a quick load to the muscles in the first days, followed by a maintenance period in the following days.
When to take creatine?
Although creatine can be taken before or after workout, research seems to favor after a workout (*13). This is based on the fact that the post-exercise 'anabolic window' can increase creatine absorption by muscle cells.
You should aim to consume most of your daily dose of creatine immediately after your workout along with 60 to 80 g of fast-acting carbohydrates. Furthermore, creatine can also increase the uptake of glucose by the muscle (14). The body absorbs more glucose when carbohydrates are taken together with creatine (*15), (*16).
Does creatine have any side effects?
As the most popular nutritional supplement worldwide, creatine has been subjected to many claims about its safety and potential side effects. However, research has constantly been a testament to its safety in sports and exercise (*17), (*18), (*19).
There is no scientific evidence whatsoever suggesting that the use of creatine can be detrimental to health in both the short and long term. In addition, supplementation may be beneficial in the prevention of injuries when consumed within safety guidelines.
One of the most frequent claims about creatine supplementation is that it can impair kidney function. However, scientific studies assessing creatine supplementation and kidney function on healthy people have repeatedly failed to prove this connection (*20), (*21),(*22).
The International Society of Sports Nutrition is keen to assert that, after lots of research, there's no scientific evidence showing creatine supplementation can be detrimental to the kidneys or to any other human organ, both short and long term (*23).
(*1) - Int J Sport Nutr. 1999 Jun;9(2):146-65
(*2) - J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2007 Nov 26;4:20
(*3) - J Strength Cond Res. 2003 Nov;17(4):822-31
(*4) - Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2001 Apr;11(2):96-102
(*5) - J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009 Jun 2;6:13
(*6) - Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2003 Jun;13(2):173-83
(*7) - J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Jul;24(7):1826-33
(*8) - J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2010 Jul 7;7:26
(*9) - J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009 Jun 2;6:13
(*10) - Proc Biol Sci. 2003 Oct 22;270(1529):2147-50
(*11) - Circ Res. 1976 May;38(5 Suppl 1):I115-23
(*12) - J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2007 Aug 30;4:6
(*13) - J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013 Aug 6;10(1):36
(*14) - Clin Sci (Lond). 2004 Jan;106(1):99-106
(*15) - Am J Physiol. 1996 Nov;271(5 Pt 1):E821-6
(*16) - Am J Physiol. 1998 Dec;275(6 Pt 1):E974-9
(*17) - J Athl Train. 2009 Mar-Apr;44(2):215-23
(*18) - Br J Sports Med. 2008 Jul;42(7):567-73
(*19) - Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001 Feb;33(2):183-8
(*20) - Ann Pharmacother. 2005 Jun;39(6):1093-6
(*21) - Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1999 Aug;31(8):1108-10
(*22) - J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2004 Dec;44(4):411-6
(*23) - J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2007 Aug 30;4:6
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose,treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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