What Does It Do to Your Body?

Creatine is one of the most popular supplements. Many even consider it a steroid when in reality it is an integral part of cellular and bodily function.

Creatine consists of three amino acids: L-arginine, glycine and L-methionine. About half of the body’s total creatine production is handled by the kidneys and liver, with the rest coming from the foods you eat. Red meat, fish, chicken and milk are among the food sources with a high creatine content.

Creatine monohydrate is the most common and well-researched form of creatine used as a supplement. It offers a variety benefitsincluding increased strengthimproved staminaand better recovery.

While 95% of creatine is stored in the muscles, the other 5% is found in the brain and testicles. As a result, creatine supplementation can reduce a large number of cognitive benefitsincluding improved brain function and protection against diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

The muscles in the body have a natural baseline of creatine. However, supplementation can help raise the baseline by nearly 30%. That means the muscles have more energy to exhaust, which over time leads to more strength and muscle mass.

However, not everyone can enjoy this increase in basic creatine levels. About 20-30% of the population has fully saturated muscle creatine levels, so they may have little to no benefit from supplementation. However, other groups, such as vegetarians, who are low in creatine in their diets, may benefit from supplementation.

Creatine Before and After 30 Days: Benefits and Side Effects

When you first start using creatine, it takes a few days for the muscles to be fully saturated with the extra creatine.

That can take seven days or 2-3 weeks, depending on your protocol. Many people who begin supplementation initially do so by consuming about 15-20 mg per day for a week.

That helps the muscles saturate faster with creatine, allowing you to see the benefits faster. The second method involves taking a basic dose of 3-5 mg every day for 3-4 weeks.

However, during the first use of creatine, users inevitably encounter some side effects, including:

1) Initial Weight Gain

Do not worry. This is the body’s natural response to creatine supplementation. While your scale may make you self-conscious, understand that when creatine is absorbed into your muscle cells, it also draws in water. This water retention makes the muscles look and feel fuller.

So how much weight can you expect to gain? According to Research, you can gain between two and five pounds in the first week of supplementation. That also depends on your creatine consumption and loading protocol.

If you consume 15-20 mg in the first week, you can expect significant weight gain. If you consume 3-5 grams per day for a month, the weight gain will occur gradually over time.

2) Gastrointestinal Problems

While it is completely safe to take creatine every day, the amount ingested does matter. People who consume larger amounts (15-20 mg) during the satiety phase may experience problems such as abdominal pain, cramps and dehydration.

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However, there are a few hacks around this issue. First, reduce your creatine intake if you have stomach problems. Second, avoid taking creatine on an empty stomach or with caffeine.

Once the satiety phase is complete, the real benefits of creatine start to take effect. Let’s take a look at a few:

1) Increased strength, muscle growth and exercise performance

Creatine has important information supporting its use to increase muscle mass and strength gains with resistance training.

In a 12 week study done on powerlifters, the group supplemented with creatine saw a significant increase in body mass and lean body mass compared to the non-supplemented. The first group also saw a significant increase in the number of squats and bench presses, as well as an increase in muscle fiber growth.

A meta-analysis review of 22 creatine studies concluded that creatine supplementation caused up to a 43% increase in bench press strength and a 14% increase in performance (total reps performed) in trained lifters.

In older adultsCreatine supplementation has been shown to improve isometric strength and improve body composition.

2) Improved Recovery

Adequate rest and recovery is essential for muscle growth. Creatine supplementation increases creatine concentration in muscle tissue, increasing the resynthesis of phosphocreatine molecules, which in turn improves work ability. A study done on healthy individuals showed a significant improvement in the rate of recovery in the creatine supplement group.

3) Cognitive Enhancement and Neuroprotective Benefits

Creatine plays an integral role in brain health and function. In healthy individuals, supplementation can increase brain creatine levels by nearly 10%. It may also improve short-term memory and intelligence or reasoning, especially in vegetarians.

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It may also help improve neurodegenerative conditions, such as: Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’shuntington, heart attackand motor neuron diseases.

To take off

Creatine is one of the most researched supplements in use. By optimizing the daily dosage, most possible side effects can be avoided. While supplementation provides a significant boost for those interested in strength training and athletics, it also provides cognitive benefits and improved recovery.

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