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Research-Review On Creatine Supplements
Creatine is one of the most popular and effective additives in the power sports. Creatine is found naturally in some foods - beef, herring and salmon, all of them with high concentration.
For example, one-kilogram beef contains about 4 grams of creatine. The intake of creatine provides additional power to athletes. It contributes for more intense workouts, training weights increase, and hypertrophy. Weight gain also increases as a result of the above-mentioned facts.
This is only a small part of all the available forms.
Creatine has been successfully sold in a mixed-creatine matrix in the last several years.
These matrixes are a combination of several forms (most often three or more).
What Is The Most Appropriate Form?
With such a variety, it is not easy to decide which is most appropriate at first glance.
But there is one simple answer and that is creatine monohydrate (CM).
The specially micronized CM is preferable as it is easier for the stomach and can be dissolved in liquid better.
The best choice is called Creapure.
This is micronized creatine monohydrate with the highest purity possible, manufactured in Germany.
The other kinds are occasionally contaminated with impurities during the manufacturing process.
The brand does not matter as long as you use Creapure as a raw material, and if so, this is always indicated on the label with a logo.
Why Should We Choose Creatine Monohydrate?
There are several main reasons:
Almost all studies ever made, have used creatine monohydrate (this includes those cited in the article). All positive effects have been demonstrated only for CM. This does not mean that other forms do not act, but keep an eye on them.
This form has been proven safe.
Some of the other forms, although still authorized for sale, have been proven ineffective and even harmful to a certain degree. A good example is Creatine Ethyl Ester (CEE).
Creatine monohydrate is the cheapest form on the market.
In a comparative research between CM and other forms, the later most often have less, rarely equal, and sometimes no effect.
Read the previous statement again. No form has yet proven better effect than CM. Purely physiologically, this is quite logical if we look at the definition and principles of action in our body.
The above-mentioned forms, except for only a few, have no valid evidence that they act, i.e. that increase the concentration of creatine phosphate in the body. The fact that they are presented in a form for oral intake does not mean that they will change anything in the body.
Are There Side Effects Of The Intake Of CM?
As we already mentioned, it is believed that creatine monohydrate is safe under the recommended dosages.
Scientific review, done in 2004, shows that it cannot cause damage to the cardiovascular, renal, hepatic, musculoskeletal and gastrointestinal functions.
Another study observed daily intake of several groups of athletes.
One group took 5 grams daily for 21 months, and at the end of the period there was not reported a negative effect on the health status.
Other studies specifically monitor kidney function and health and found that both short-term and long-term oral use of creatine monohydrate have a negative effect. Some people just create a problem, distribute it among the audience and then argue that the new additive has no relevant "side effect".
Of course, this chain reaction gets powered by uninformed users and the placebo effect (if one expects a certain side effect of something - then he is finally convinced that he has seen in himself at the end).
What Doses Are Recommended?
Creatine monohydrate is recommended to be taken at 3-5 grams per day, every day.
It can be taken at any time - morning, noon, evening, between meals, after training, etc.
The exception is only before а training session. It is recommended that this should be avoided.
Any other time is appropriate - this should not be a problem.
The most convenient time for the intake would be every morning with the breakfast.
It is convenient and you don’t need to think about it through the day.
It can be taken with water, juice, milk, protein shake, gainer, coffee, etc.
Before, coffee and caffeine drinks were believed that could negatively affect and weaken the effect.
This is not true and has been proven repeatedly.
Another common idea is that the mandatory intake should be together with some highly insulinogenic foods/ingredients.
It is not necessary, but if in case the person does not respond to the monohydrate, there is this evidence that by adding as dextrose (another name for glucose) absorption gets improved by these people.
The second option of intake is the so-called "loading phase".
The principle is to drink 5 g, four times a day (total of 20 g per day) for 5-7 days. The only plus is that the effect will occur faster as the saturation of the body with creatine phosphate will happen faster.
This is especially recommended by manufacturers, as this increases their profits repeatedly.
For the first 5-7 days, you will drink 100-140 grams, which otherwise would have gone for almost a month.
If you decide to make a break from creatine, you repeat the same thing for the net intake.
By thus, you will take a very large quantity for a short period time and this, of course, brings revenues.
In both cases, the net effect will be the same.
The difference will be mainly in the time of achieving the goal and the money spent.
Some people can feel a mild discomfort while charging, so I strongly recommend to always use the first way.
A clinical research in 1996 was done with similar doses, for the establishment of the recommended minimum standards.
The intake of the 20 g of creatine for 6 days in a row increased the concentration of total creatine in the body by about 20%.
They continued to maintain the same concentration with 2 grams a day for the next 30 days. An alternative route of intake was given to men.
They were given 3 grams per day and at the 28th days the muscle biopsies showed an overall increase (20%).
The same study shows that the body can be "loaded" for 6 days with 20 grams and then can be maintained with 2 grams a day, or every day 3 grams can be taken.
The end result is exactly the same.
Given that CM is so cheap, a person can intake 5 grams every day.
How Long Should We Consume Creatine?
The most common practice is by periods.
For example, two months intake, one month break. Intervals may vary according to the plans of the athlete, but the rest period must be at least 30 days.
This is the time for which the creatine levels in the body return to their normal level.
There is no scientific evidence that can require dose interruption, i.e. you can drink it without а break.
However, if taken at intervals, you will feel the rise in power and operating loads each time after a new "cycle".
Moreover, you will save money. You will always be more healthy and secure if you choose to rest at intervals.
The easiest option by users is this: after the purchase, finish the package and then make the desired break (minimum 30 days).
In Which Other Sports Supplements Can We Find Creatine?
Creatine can be added in recovery formulas, protein powders, post-workout powders, gainer, amino acid formulas, and most of all: in nitrogen boosters and pre-workout products.
Creatine is also known as creatine monohydrate, creatine 2-oxopropanoate, a-methylguanidinoacetic acid.