introduction

Creatine is a non-essential organic acid that is produced to a limited extent in the liver and kidneys from three amino acids. In addition, creatine can be consumed via food intake of meat and fish or pure creatine as a dietary supplement .

Creatine is fundamental to the energy production of skeletal muscle and, with good creatine supply, improves muscle metabolism, increases performance during short-term and intensive exercise and improves strength. Therefore, creatine is the most popular sports supplement.

When should you take creatine - before, during or after exercise?

The timing of taking creatine plays a minor role. Various scientific studies make different recommendations. But the fact is that the creatine is not consumed directly by the body, but is stored independently of the time of ingestion in the muscles. Only when fast new ATP is needed as fuel for the energy, creatine is consumed.

Therefore, it is not important when you take the creatine, but that you take it daily without gaps. This also means that you take creatine on the days when you take a break from training. Creatine is best absorbed by the body when taken on an empty stomach - two hours before or after eating.

How long should you take creatine?

Creatine is one of the safe supplements. This means that a longer-term or permanent income is possible. However, study results showed that even a short-term intake has been shown to improve performance.

Vegetarians in particular benefit from a longer-term intake. New studies are investigating whether long-term use may protect against neurological diseases such as Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis . Clear results are not yet available.

It is important that one gives the body, especially the kidneys, always a recovery phase in which no creatine is taken. If the creatine is taken as part of a strength training, you should also take a two-week break for a 4-week break, so that adapt the physical structures, such as muscles, ligaments and tendons to the increased power level.

In what form can / should you take creatine?

The dietary supplement creatine is available in many different forms, such as Creatine powder , creatine capsules or tablets . Which variant one decides, does not matter for the effectiveness. What you should pay attention to is the composition of the preparation.

The rule is: the purer the preparation and the fewer additives, the more effective the preparation in terms of muscle growth and performance .

Professionals recommend preparations containing at least 99% pure creatine monohydrate. If more substances are added to creatine monohydrate, this may affect the effect. There are a variety of combination preparations, such as creatine citrate (citric acid-bound creatine) or creatine nitrate, which should have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system. However, this has not been scientifically proven. Experts recommend that you check before buying a product, whether this is on the Cologne list. Only those dietary supplements are listed on this, which have been tested for doping substances and where a significantly minimized risk of doping exists.

What is the dosage?

Creatine is naturally found in the musculature of man. On average, these are about four grams of creatine per kilogram of muscle . Vegetarians or vegans have significantly less creatine, as they do not eat the largest source of creatine, meat, through their diet. According to the results of the study, the best results are shown when about three to five grams of high-quality creatine are taken each day.

However, you should definitely stick to the leaflet and consult a pharmacist or doctor in case of doubt. It's important to know that creatine stores are limited. The size of the memory is dependent on the available muscle mass. Nevertheless, if more creatine is ingested than the body can utilize , the body excretes the excess creatine again .

In addition, too high a dose in some people leads to:

  • stomach cramps
  • bloating
  • nausea
  • Vomit

The dose should therefore always be kept as low as possible. For those who improve daily with three grams of creatine, the dose should not increase. In addition, about 20% of the population does not respond to the creatine intake. One speaks of non-responders . Their creatine stores are already so full of their diet that the extra creatine intake has no effect.

The creatine cure

A creatine cure is the cyclical intake of the dietary supplement. The cure consists of three different phases.

  • You start with the so-called loading phase of one week. During this time you take four times the normal daily dose. This corresponds to approximately 20 grams. To avoid intolerances such as abdominal pain or nausea, one should not take the entire amount, but at intervals of three hours always 3-5 grams.
  • After this loading phase follows the so-called maintenance dose. This should last for three to four weeks . During this time the normal daily dose of 3-5 grams is consumed.
  • This is followed by a break. This is important to empty the creatine stores. If you omit this break, it will cause the kidneys to stop taking creatine and simply excrete it. Thus, the intake of creatine during this time would be ineffective. How long this break should be, must be taken from the package instructions of the drug. Some supplements suggest taking a break of one week, others recommend taking a break as long as the previous intake phase was.

The advantage of a creatine cure is that the creatine stores grow in no time and the maximum strength of the muscles is increased. In addition, the regeneration capacity of the muscles improves, so that the training is intensified.

However, the Kreatinkur also has disadvantages such as bad breath, flatulence or cramps . Experts therefore recommend that you use the creatine treatment only if you want to take creatine for a short time.

What else should be considered when taking?

The intake of creatine as a dietary supplement is relatively harmless - clinically relevant side effects are not available according to the current state of science. Nevertheless, the leaflet should always be read carefully and repealed.

Excessive dosing may cause stomach cramps, bloating, nausea and vomiting . Therefore, the dose should be as low as possible.

Basically, you should take creatine with plenty of water, at least 300 ml. Even over the day, a lot of fluid should be ingested as creatine binds to it. Longer term creatine intake may cause magnesium deficiency and convulsions. In this case, additional magnesium should be taken in consultation with a doctor.

Until recently, the recommendation was that you should take the creatine with sugary juices, as this stimulates the insulin secretion and the creatine can be better absorbed. This recommendation was rejected. The same applies to the assumption that creatine is better when taken with short-chain carbohydrates.

It is also important to know that the intake of creatine leads to an unavoidable increase in body weight. This is justified by the storage of water. Athletes who are classified in weight classes must be aware of this weight gain. In addition, the increased water retention in the muscle cells lead to high pressure in the cells. The risk of injury increases as a result.

People with kidney disease should definitely stop taking creatine with a doctor because creatine is metabolised via the kidneys. If they can not adequately convert creatine due to illness or disorder, kidney damage may result.

Summary

Creatine is one of the most popular nutritional supplements among athletes to improve performance and build muscle. For this, athletes should take 3-5 grams of creatine daily - the presentation and the time of taking it does not matter. Side effects usually occur only with overdose or previous illnesses and are manageable. Nevertheless, creatine should be taken in the smallest possible dose and regular intake breaks should be taken to empty the creatine stores and relieve the kidneys.

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