This article covers all the questions to be asked about creatine.

1. What is Creatine?

Creatine is a nitrogenous organic compound synthesized mainly by the kidneys, liver and pancreas, from non-essential amino acids.

The body contains about 120g of creatine for a 70kg man and 95% of this body creatine is stored in the muscles. Creatine synthesis is adjustable, especially when your food intake is low: it is able to supplement it, so that creatine levels in the body are always maintained. This phenomenon ensures a stable creatine level. Thus, even non-meat eaters have a stable creatine level and all the creatine needed for the proper functioning of the body.

2. What are the Creatine Requirements?

The creatine requirements are 2g per day for the general population, but you need to add 1 to 2g per day for athletes with strong muscle mass during intense training.

Specifically, there is no recommended dietary intake, since creatine can be synthesized by the body and perfectly responds to needs, especially for strength or muscle development athletes who benefit from appropriate protein intake.

3. How Does the Creatine Work?

Creatine in the body circulates in the blood to reach the storage organs, such as the muscles. It is then transformed into a compound called "creatine phosphate" (CP). It is a tiny source of energy, whose life is just a few seconds. CP is very useful at the start of exercise, and is of very strong intensity but very brief and transitory. CP also restores reserves of ATP, the energy molecule that provides the power required for muscle contraction.

4. Should Creatine be Provided Through Diet?

Creatine intake varies considerably according to nutritional balance. Meat, poultry and fish are products rich in creatine: they contain about 4 to 5g of creatine per kg of product. On the contrary, milk contains just 0.1g per litre of creatine.

For example, with vegans, the dietary intake of creatine is virtually non-existent, so creatine will be synthesized entirely by the body. Indeed, whatever the diet, no deficiency has been described.

5. Is there Any Benefit in Supplementing Creatine?

CP concentration is 3 to 5 times higher than that of ATP in muscle. In terms of available energy, it is more ephemeral than the energy provided by carbohydrates, and this phenomenon is even more true compared to the energy provided by lipids.

The energy reserves in creatine are therefore theoretically less attractive compared to those of other nutrients.

All the benefit of creatine lies in its almost immediate availability at the start of exercise compared to other energy sources whose availability is delayed over time.

During supplementation with creatine, synthesis by the body decreases very clearly and would be completely reversible within 4 weeks of stopping supplementation. The benefit of supplementation is therefore highly debatable. Ingested creatine is added to that in the diet but replaces that synthesized by the body, which is then inhibited. The benefit is therefore very low.

Creatine Benefits

Helps muscle cells to produce energy

Creatine supplements enhance the amount of phosphocreatine in your muscles. Phosphocreatine aids in the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the fundamental molecule that your cells rely on for energy and other essential processes. ATP is broken down to provide energy during activity. Because you utilise ATP quicker than you reproduce it, the rate of ATP resynthesis limits your ability to perform at the maximal intensity continuously. Creatine supplements boost your phosphocreatine levels, allowing you to produce more ATP energy to fuel your muscles during high-intensity workouts—all in all, creatine benefits in enhancing athletic performance.

Supports various muscle functions

Creatine is a well-known and powerful muscle-building supplement. It can change a variety of cellular pathways that lead to new muscle growth. It stimulates the production of proteins that produce new muscle fibres. Furthermore, creatine supplements might help your muscles retain more water. Additionally, some study suggests that creatine lowers myostatin levels, a chemical that inhibits muscle growth. Myostatin reduction can help you gain muscle faster.

Improves performance in high-intensity exercises

Creatine's direct role in ATP creation means it can help you perform better during high-intensity training. Creatine benefits in several areas, including:

  • strength
  • ballistic power
  • sprint ability
  • muscle endurance
  • resistance to fatigue
  • muscle mass
  • recovery
  • brain performance

4. Speeds the growth of the muscles

Creatine is the most efficient substance for gaining muscle mass in the world. It has been demonstrated that taking it for as little as 5–7 days can considerably enhance lean body weight and muscle size. It also helps muscle fibre growth in the long run by signalling critical biological pathways and improving gym performance. Similarly, a comprehensive evaluation found that those who took creatine had a significant increase in muscle mass compared to those who followed the same exercise schedule but did not take creatine.

5. Safe and easy to use

Creatine is one of the cheapest and safest supplements available, in addition to its many benefits. It's been studied for more than 200 years, and multiple studies back up its long-term safety. In healthy people, clinical trials lasting up to 5 years have found no adverse creatine side effects.

Improving athletic performance

Creatine supplements are often used by athletes since there is evidence that they are useful in high-intensity exercise. Creatine is thought to help the body manufacture more energy. Athletes that have greater energy can work harder and achieve more. Increasing the body's creatine pool appears to improve performance in some types of exercise for some people. According to a review published in 2012, creatine:

  • enhances the ability to perform resistance training on strength and body mass
  • increases the quality and benefits of speed training
  • improves endurance performance 
  • improves strength, power, fat-free mass, daily living performance, and neurological function

Repairing damage after injury

Creatine powders or pills, according to research, may assist athletes in avoiding muscle damage and speeding up the recovery process after an accident. After a strong bout of resistance exercise, creatine may have an antioxidant impact and help prevent cramps. It could help with brain and other injury therapy.

6. Can Creatine Play a Role in Sport?

The athlete’s body does not express a significantly increased need for creatine and there is no nutritional type of advice: diet and endogenous synthesis alone can meet the needs of the body without a deficiency or even pre-deficiency being observed in the athlete. Any exogenous supply of creatine then comes from supplementation, beyond the physiological needs.

One of the main benefits of creatine supplementation lies in increasing its content in muscle, with the effect of increasing the anaerobic alactic capacity (procedure for short and intense exercise). This makes it possible to train at very high intensity, a little longer, and to postpone the time when the source is exhausted. It must be emphasized that these are very brief exercises, 15s maximum. Then the anaerobic lactic channel takes over with available muscle energy content 300 times higher than that of CP.

In concrete terms, it is not a question of "repelling fatigue" by creatine ingestion, but is rather about delaying the time of exhaustion during very brief, repeated and intense exercises, like sprints, weightlifting movement or repeated throwing.

Unfortunately, the term "fatigue" is often misused, which can mislead the consumer.

7. What Are the Health Effects of Creatine Supplementation?

Muscle cramps have been described on several occasions under the effect of dehydration in a hot thermal environment.

Accusations made against creatine with regard to its possible harmful effects on health most often relate to renal functions. Extensive investigations have been performed following creatine ingestion. The authors believe that it is necessary, prior to any supplementation, to carry out an anamnesis of athletes thought to be in good health, in order to detect any renal damage, even minor. These examinations should be repeated regularly (every 3 months) during the supplementation period. Any pathological effect should imperatively result in supplementation being stopped.

8. What Precautionary Principle Has Adopted for Creatine Supplementation?

Clearly, whatever the creatine supplementation, in high quantity, loading dose or chronic condition, in the short, medium or long term, the deleterious effects and potential risks are poorly understood today.

It therefore seems necessary to be vigilant about this product, which has certainly demonstrated positive effects on certain performance results, but which remain specific cases. Many claims far exceeded what the scientific facts have shown, highlighting that this is a product with effects which are still poorly understood.

9. In What Form Can Creatine Be Found?

Commercially, creatine generally comes in powder form, but it is also found in the form of tablets, gel, syrup and drinks. It comes either alone or associated with carbohydrates or proteins, vitamins, minerals or amino acids.

Some of the claims mention the greater effectiveness of powder for strength sports and tablets for endurance sports, but so far, no scientific study has justified these remarks. We must therefore remain vigilant about the various promises of power and performance, which are often unjustified.

Creatine Dosage 

A person needs between 1 and 3 grams of creatine a day. Around half of this comes from the diet, and the body synthesises the rest. Food sources include red meat and fish. One pound of raw beef or salmon provides 1 to 2 grams of creatine. Creatine can supply energy to parts of the body where it is needed. Athletes use supplements to increase energy production, improve athletic performance, and allow them to train harder. According to a study, larger athletes who train intensely “may need to consume between 5 and 10 of creatine a day” to maintain their stores. People who cannot synthesise creatine because of a health condition may need to take 10 to 30 g a day to avoid health problems.

10. Creatine: What is AFSSA's Advice?

we should remember the importance of a balanced and diversified diet and appropriate hydration, adapted to the specific needs of the athlete in accordance with the recommendations of the recommended nutritional intake (RNI);

  • creatine is provided through the diet or produced by endogenous synthesis in sufficient quantity to meet physiological needs, without any deficiency being described and without it having appeared necessary to establish a recommended nutritional intake;
  • with creatine supplementation, the increase in body weight and muscle mass are always less than 3% and 10%, respectively, and are mainly due to water retention and not protein synthesis;
  • all claims, in particular those concerning strength, speed or maximum power, tests, exercises or performance in the anaerobic lactic (anaerobic glycolysis) or aerobic systems, lactatemia, ammonia levels, protein synthesis, fatigue motivation, tone, fitness or aggressiveness do not currently benefit from recognised and validated scientific work and are therefore unfounded;
  • the only claims that benefit from significant scientific work but show inconsistent results are repeated, high-intensity exercises lasting 15 seconds or less;
  • use of creatine supplements presents a risk which is today insufficiently evaluated, in particular for long-term use, in terms of the health of the consumer with a potential carcinogenic risk;
  • regular reassessment requiring the use of scientific studies is essential, both in terms of the effects on health and on performance.
man drinking creatine in gym

Aptonia produces essential care and nutrition products to achieve your sporting challenge! Check out all the sports nutrition, exercise preparation, performance assistance and sports recovery products. Check out all the tips from Marie, Aptonia’s sports nutritionist.

Creatine Side Effects

More research is needed into the effects of high creatine dosages on other physiological functions. Caution is advised by the Mayo Clinic, as creatine has the potential to:

  • lower blood glucose, which could affect individuals with diabetes or hypoglycemia
  • raise blood pressure, affecting those with hypertension
  • They also advise caution for people with:
  • deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • electrolyte disorders or imbalances
  • gastrointestinal disorders
  • irregular heartbeat
  • kidney stones or liver disease
  • Migraines
  • low blood pressure when standing up
  • bipolar disorder

This isn't a complete list. Creatine is a chemical that has bioactive properties. It should be approached with caution.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. When to take Creatine?

Creatine is a protected and viable enhancement that has a few health and physical benefits. On days you work out, there are three primary choices concerning when to take creatine. You can take it in a matter of seconds before you work out, not long after you practice, or eventually close to when you work out. Supplement timing is an interesting issue, particularly among competitors searching for an edge while working out daily.

2. How to take Creatine?

Simply dump a scoop in water, creatine powder, amino acids, or whatever else you drink for the day, swirl it around, and drink. Expanded benefits whenever taken with carbs or protein, yet it will work without these added substances, however, taken reliably. If you are attempting to do a short stacking convention, similar to 2-3 days rather than the ordinary 5-7, taking it with carbs is most likely a smart thought.

3. What is Creatine used for?

Creatine has been utilized in elective medication as a conceivably successful guide for improving athletic execution and expanding muscle strength in individuals with cardiovascular breakdown, solid dystrophy, and McArdle's infection (a hereditary issue). Likewise, it might be conceivably compelling in treating Parkinson's illness and spin decay (a hereditary eye issue that influences the retina and causes vision loss). Creatine has likewise been used to treat rheumatoid joint pain or Lou Gehrig's infection (ALS).

4. What does Creatine do?

The primary job of creatine in the body is in helping energy creation, particularly under states of high energy request like exceptional physical or mental movement. The phosphocreatine stores give high-energy phosphate gatherings to ADP, recovering it to ATP, the essential energy transporter in the body. Creatine benefits include-

1. Expanded single and tedious run execution

2. Expanded work performed during sets of maximal exertion muscle constrictions

3. Expanded bulk and strength variations during preparing

4. Improved glycogen combination

5. How much Creatine do you require per day?

Creatine is a treatment that should be dealt with carefully. There is no settled portion. Various doses of creatine supplements have been utilized in investigations. For athletic execution, certain individuals start with 10 grams to 20 grams of creatine daily. This is ordinarily trailed by a support portion of 2 grams to 5 grams of creatine daily. The two-grams-per-day support level is the current suggestion by the American College of Sports Medicine's master board on creatine.

Related tags :