Try it to increase/retain muscle mass, energy and cognitive abilities
Whether you are male or female, studies have consistently concluded that creatine supplements can be helpful to your energy levels and athletic performance. Studies have found “that short and long-term supplementation (up to 30 g/day for 5 years) is safe and well-tolerated in healthy individuals and in a number of patient populations ranging from infants to the elderly.”
Creatine is a critical element in the ATP-creatine phosphate system of the body which provides the energy for brief bursts of high intensity activity. For performance in these types of athletic activities, creatine’s benefits are well-established. Creatine also aids in retaining muscle mass and cognitive abilities that might otherwise deteriorate with age.
Despite the fact that creatine can be found in food as well as manufactured in your body from three essential amino acids (glycine, arginine and methionine) and three enzymes, supplementation is generally recommended. This is because, on average, the body can make approximately 1 gram of creatine per day. If you are eating a pound or more of raw beef and/or seafood a day you might be getting another gram per day of creatine from your diet.
Your food tracker app likely does not track any creatine you might ingest through food. For most people this failure likely results in an accurate reflection of their creatine intake because creatine, which is primarily found in meat and fish, is rendered worthless once food has been cooked.
Most people can benefit from a regular intake of 0.1 grams of creatine per kilogram of body weight. For a 150 lb person, this is 6.8 grams per day. Accordingly, for most of us, a creatine supplement seem like a good idea.
Measuring Creatine Levels
Creatine levels cannot be readily tested. This is because creatine, in the form of creatine phosphokinase, is stored in the body’s tissues. High levels of creatine and creatine phosphokinase should generally not be found in the blood or urine. When high levels are found in the blood, this indicates damage to tissue, generally heart, muscle or brain tissue. Further tests can be performed to identify specifically which of the three tissues has suffered damage.
Creatinine is what remains after the body has made use of creatine. Creatinine blood and urine levels can be tested, with the goal of determining whether or not kidney or liver function is normal. High blood creatinine and low urine creatinine levels often indicate poorly functioning kidneys. Low blood creatinine levels may cause a doctor to investigate liver function to determine whether a liver condition is preventing sufficient creatinine from being produced.
Creatine supplements may result in both blood and urine creatinine levels being somewhat elevated simply because your body has more creatine to process.
Which Form of Creatine to Take
Creatine monohydrate has been widely studied and generally found to be as absorbable as other forms of creatine. It is reportedly 99 percent absorbable. At one time, there was some suggestion that ingesting sodium or dextrose along with creatine might boost its absorption. However, studies have concluded that is not the case. Some studies have shown that beta glucan can increase creatine retention through slowing the absorption rate. However, given the high rate at which creatine monohydrate alone is absorbed, any additional benefit from beta glucan, while perhaps statistically significant, may be of limited utility.
Creatine monohydrate is created from sarcosine and cyanamide, which are both produced in a laboratory from a combination of various chemicals. If you are buying a product that is 100 percent creatine monohydrate, it is highly unlikely there will be any GMO, gluten or animal products in the product unless contained in any water that might be used to create the cyanamide. In creatine products to which beta glucan is added, concerns about gluten and the negatives associated with GMOs become relevant as the beta glucan will be derived from some type of grain.
Some creatine monohydrate is microionized. This means the granules maybe 20 times smaller than those of regular creatine. Since 99 percent of regular creatine powder has been found to be absorbed by the body, the benefits of the smaller particles are largely limited to the ability of the powder to better dissolve in liquid. Creatine tends not to dissolve well in water, so microionized powder makes for a more pleasant daily experience.
A powder supplement is generally more convenient, less expensive and less likely to have undesirable additives as compared to a creatine supplement sold in either capsule or liquid form.
When and How to Take Creatine
For the first five days, it is generally desirable to take 0.3 grams of creatine per kilogram per day to saturate the body’s creatine levels. As significant amounts of creatine may lead to stomach upset, this creatine should be divided into four servings.
Once saturated, for most people a maintenance dose of 0.1 gram per kilogram of body weight per day should be sufficient. For those who workout, the daily dose is best divided in two servings, one pre-workout and one post-workout.
For those that find taking a large dose of creatine for the initial five days is unmanageable, saturation levels should generally be reached within a month of taking 0.1 grams per kilogram per day. As a result, it may take a little over a month to notice any benefits from the supplement since the benefits may not be detectable until saturation is achieved.