Creatine, a Brief Introduction
Today’s fitness warriors hear a lot about the different types of supplements they can ingest to boost their success with their fitness goals. The biggest problem is; what can you believe? The topic for this post is creatine.
What is It?
Creatine is an organic acid (amino acid) found naturally in humans. In fact, it’s found naturally in all vertebrates. It’s purpose is to supply energy to our muscles. Primarily, it is focused and stored in our skeletal muscle. It is not a steroid, vitamin, mineral, hormone, or herb.
We primarily get creatine into our systems from fresh meat, like fish and beef. Vegetables do not contain it whatsoever. Many vegetarians looking to gain muscle resort to supplementing creatine in their diet.
Is It Safe?
There is still a lot of uncertainty around the safety of creatine. It seems obvious that the creatine we acquire from food is not an issue. What is the focus of study and concern is its intake via supplementation. Creatine supplementation has only been in mainstream use for about 15 years; in 1992 at the Barcelona Olympic games.
There simply is not enough data to support whether creatine supplementation is safe or not. No studies have conclusive results with short-term or long-term use of it in supplements. Until such information is certain, it is up to the consumer to take on all risk. This is no different than eating artificial sweeteners; you must decide if it is worth taking without knowing all the facts.
Do know that no data has been collected showing that creatine is harmful as a supplement. No reports of toxicity have been found. That is the main reason bodybuilders use creatine daily. With no proven side effects, many people have decided to use creatine to build lean muscle and increase energy.
Why is It in My Fitness Drink or Other Supplement?
Creatine monohydrate is sometimes added to fitness drinks or other supplements as a way to increase your energy and production of lean muscle. It definitely does just that. Amazing results are usually seen with a consistent use of concentrated creatine.
When and How Should I Use Creatine Monohydrate?
You will likely see it added to fitness foods that are high in carbohydrates. It is known to work best when combined with a base of high carbs. A good idea is to mix the powder with a non-acidic juice. Grape juice is a common drink used to mix creatine monohydrate with. Do not let a creatine powder sit in a liquid for more than a few hours before consuming it. It will be wasted if it sits too long.
Many claim that the best time to ingest creatine supplements is about a half-hour before a workout. However, the benefits of creatine are noticeable regardless of when you take it.
Should I Supplement with Creatine?
That is a decision left entirely to the individual. The benefits of supplementing with creatine are tremendous. However, the unknown is always something to be concerned with. In the end, we all have to make the choice for ourselves and live with the results.
Good luck and good health!