Creatine Supplements

WHAT IS CREATINE ?

Put simply, creatine is a compound that supplies energy to your muscles. It is made by the human body, and also found in some foods – primarily fresh meat. Creatine is produced in the liver, pancreas, and kidneys, and is transported to the body’s muscles through the bloodstream. Once it reaches the muscles, it is converted into phosphocreatine (creatine phosphate). This high-powered metabolite is used to regenerate the muscles’ ultimate energy source, ATP. When you workout, your ATP levels drop rapidly. Creatine is responsible for restoring ATP levels.

Creatine and athletic performance

Over the last two decades, creatine has emerged as the king of all athletic performance supplements. And with good reason. Creatine intake heightens your body’s creatine phosphate energy system. This allows you to push yourself for longer periods of time, with more energy. Creatine also improves your ability to tap into explosive energy when you need it as critical times in your training. It should also be noted that in clinical studies, creatine has been shown to increase strength and lean muscle mass

ANABOLIC EFFECTS OF CREATINE

The term anabolic is associated with improvements in lean muscle mass. Creatine supplementation works on several different levels to improve lean muscle mass.

Training performance and creatine

Because creatine allows you to train longer and harder, with the ability to squeeze out more reps, the intensity of your training is heightened. This heightening of intensity forces your body to adapt and grow, more so then without creatine supplementation.

Creatine and muscle volumization

Muscle volumization is, without a doubt, the most talked about form of creatine anabolism. Creatine supplementation causes muscle cells to swell with water. This swelling leads to better muscle feel – or pumps. In turn, muscle swelling also encourages the cell to increase production of vital structural and enzymatic proteins. Simply put, not only does creatine enlarge a cell, but it also strengthens a cell. This volumization of muscle cells leads to an overall increase in lean muscle mass.

Creatine supplementation also boosts muscle growth and repair by:

1. Working as an antioxidant, creatine works to remove harmful free radicals, strengthening muscle cell membranes, and allowing muscle cells to repair and grow more efficiently.

2. Creatine works to buffer muscle acidity. Without proper PH balance, a muscle will fatigue more easily.

3. Creatine assists in regulating proper calcium levels within muscle tissue, which allows for proper contractions. Low levels of creatine can cause calcium imbalance, and a resulting decrease in performance.

INTRODUCTION TO CREATINE SUPPLEMENTS

What are creatine supplements?

Outside of protein supplements, creatine supplements are the most talked about and effective muscle building and performance supplements on the planet. Creatine supplements can provide a 10 to 15% boost in overall strength, and a lean muscle mass gain of up to 10 pounds. Because of their popularity, creatine supplements are extremely cost-effective, giving an athlete the most bang for his supplement buck.

Creatine supplements come in powder or pill  forms.

What are the most popular forms of creatine supplements?

* Creatine Powder. Creatine powder is the most popular, and common form of creatine supplement. Creatine powders are sold as stand alone products, or are sold with flavoring powders as mixable drinks.

* Creatine Capsules. Creatine capsules, or creatine pills, have gained popularity over the last several years. Creatine pills are sold as either 100% pure creatine, or mixed with other supplements including vitamins and minerals, amino acids, and more.

* Creatine Blends. Creatine blends combine various forms of creatine, often with other supplements such as simple carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, and herbal extracts, to amplify potency, and increase digestion and athletic performance.

Benefits of using creatine supplements

* Extra Energy. Creatine supplementation boosts energy, allowing you to train or compete harder, longer, and dig deep when you need a big burst of energy. When you need quick energy, your body relies on a compound called ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate). ATP stores quickly burnout, and are typically exhausted after 10 to 15 seconds. Creatine works to help restore ATP stores, preparing you to work hard again.

* Protein Synthesis. A recent study revealed that creatine supplementation stimulates muscle specific protein synthesis.

* Muscle Volume. Creatine supplementation volumizes muscles, which in turn strengthens muscles cells. With a greater muscular volume, you are generally stronger, and will carry more lean muscle mass.

* Lactic Acid. Creatine works as a lactic acid buffer, delaying muscle fatigue, and allowing you to work longer into sets, or harder on the playing field.

Who uses creatine supplements?

Bodybuilders. Bodybuilders use creatine to increase lean muscle mass, and for extra energy and strength.

Powerlifters. Powerlifters use creatine to help endure intense workouts, and for the strength gains that it provides.

Endurance Athletes. Runners, bikers, and other endurance athletes use creatine to amplify their training sessions, and for its ability to help them dig deep when they need a quick burst of energy.

Team Sports. Athletes involved in team sports rely on creatine for extra strength, and for energy when the game is on the line.

Body Transformation. Creatine isn’t just for hardcore athletes. It is a staple supplement, used by many individuals who are turning their lives around, and getting back into shape. Creatine helps them get stronger, and perform better. Also, the added muscle mass from creatine allows them to burn more fat.

Vegetarians. Vegetarians supplement with creatine for good health. As we’ve explored, creatine deficiency can lead to numerous health problems.

POPULAR CREATINE FORMS USED IN CREATINE SUPPLEMENTS

Creatine monohydrate

Creatine monohydrate is the king of the creatine supplement world. It is the most inexpensive form of creatine, and has been studied exhaustively. It is popular because it works. No other legal non-hormonal bodybuilding or sports supplement can come close to the potency of creatine monohydrate. Creatine monohydrate is 88% pure creatine bound with 12% water.

Creatine ethyl ester

Creatine ethyl ester (CEE) is a relatively new, but extremely popular form of creatine. It is second in popularity only to creatine monohydrate. Scientists attach an ester to creatine, allowing it to pass through cell membranes much easier. Because of this, creatine ethyl ester absorbs more rapidly into muscle cells.

Benefits of creatine monohydrate

Creatine monohydrate increases lean body mass, muscle hypertrophy (growth), strength gains, and leads to better power output in short bursts. It has a proven track record, and is an extremely inexpensive supplement. Creatine monohydrate has also been studied exhaustively by the scientific community. Currently, over 200 studies exist, revealing the effectiveness of creatine monohydrate.

Benefits of creatine ethyl ester

Creatine ethyl ester (CEE) gives you the same muscle, strength and performance benefits as creatine monohydrate. It also provides you with some additional benefits. Creatine ethyl ester is a faster absorbing form of creatine, and is easier on the stomach. Creatine ethyl ester is less likely to leave you feeling bloated. It should also be noted that CEE tastes very bitter. There are also very few clinical studies on creatine ethyl ester.