Creatine: The Popular Supplement Explained
Are you curious to find out how creatine affects your body? Well, we’re here to tell you! Creatine is the world’s favorite bodybuilding and fitness supplement. While statements like that are often hyperbole, in the case of creatine, it’s probably true. Since its debut in the early 1990s, creatine has consistently topped the bodybuilding supplement must-have lists. Public interest in creatine skyrocketed when high-profile athletes credited it for their performance in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, and it’s been popular ever since. For any supplement to remain popular for over 30 years strongly suggests that it works. After all, if it failed to produce noticeable results, people would have stopped buying creatine decades ago. However, much of the interest in creatine has been fueled by the sports science community. As well as being the most popular supplement, creatine is also the most widely studied. And yet, many people are still unsure about what creatine is and how it works. Indeed, some people (thanks partly to media misinformation) think it’s a type of steroid – which it’s not. In this article, we take a closer look at this popular supplement, explaining what it is, what it does, and its positive and negative effects. As a result, by the end of this article, you will be a certified, card-carrying, black belt-wearing creatine expert!
What is Creatine?
Creatine Monohydrate Supplement And Chemical Formula
Creatine is a chemical, but don’t let that worry you; your body actually makes creatine from two amino acids – glycine and arginine. In fact, it’s manufactured by several organs, including your liver, kidneys, and pancreas. It’s also naturally present in several foods, including:
Fish (especially herring, salmon, and tuna)
Creatine, which is primarily stored in your muscles, is a critical substance used by your body for various functions. However, its most notable role, as far as we’re concerned at least, is related to energy. Your body is essentially a machine that runs on fuel, namely proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. These nutrients are broken down into a form of universal energy called adenosine triphosphate, or ATP for short. When ATP gets broken down by an enzyme called ATPase, it releases a quick burst of energy and becomes adenosine phosphate or ADP. Unfortunately, ADP is essentially energy-depleted and needs to be converted back to ATP before it’s useful again. That’s where creatine phosphate (CP) comes in. In simple terms, ATP “donates” one of its phosphate molecules to turn ADP back to ATP. However, your CP reserves are quite limited. Using supplemental creatine helps to boost your CP levels, so you’re more efficient at converting ADP back to ATP. This results in delayed fatigue, increased energy, and improved recovery (1). While you can get some creatine from food, taking a creatine supplement is the most convenient and efficient way to pump up your creatine phosphate levels. With more creatine “in the tank,” you’ll fatigue slower and recover faster, leading to more productive workouts. Creatine has numerous additional benefits, too, all of which we’ll explore later in this article.
Why Creatine is So Popular?
As stated earlier, creatine is probably the most popular supplement on the planet. It’s big in the world of strength training and bodybuilding, and athletes from most sports use it, too. But why is creatine such a well-regarded supplement when so many other products fail to live up to the hype? Let’s take a look!
Reasons that creatine has been popular for so long include:
As mentioned elsewhere in this article, creatine has been in use for over 30 years. That means generations of lifters have used this well-known product. Needless to say, such longevity has done nothing to make creatine any less popular.
Creatine is not expensive. You can 500 gram buy a tub of creatine monohydrate, which is enough for several months of use, for as little as $20.00. More expensive creatine varieties are available, but, in most cases, they aren’t worth the extra money, and good ole creatine monohydrate will get the job done.
Creatine is such a common supplement that you should be able to buy it in various places, including health food stores, supplement stores, gyms, and even supermarkets. You can also buy it online and have it delivered straight to your door. This wide availability is part of its appeal; you can get it almost anywhere!
Easy to Use
Using creatine is a breeze! Most creatine supplements are sold as loose powder and can be mixed with any warm or cold beverage. As such, creatine is very easy to take. While there are a couple of different dosing protocols, none of them are complex, so even the meatiest of meatheads should have no difficulty using creatine correctly.
Proven to Work
Creatine has been extensively studied, and most of those studies say it is beneficial and safe (2). While its effects are often described as mild, most exercisers are happy for any additional gains, so taking creatine is a no-brainer.
High Media Presence
Although some media outlets have mistakenly called creatine a steroid (it’s not) or blamed it for mental illness and even fueling mass shootings, much of the press surrounding creatine is positive. Some non-exercisers have heard of creatine, even if they don’t know what it is or what it does.
“Hey bro – are you on creatine?” Lifters are sociable creatures who like nothing more than to swap training ideas and tips. Creatine is a common topic of conversation in many gyms, and you probably know at least a few people using this commonplace product. Ask any of your gym bros if you should use creatine, and they’ll probably say yes. Peer recommendations can be a compelling incentive to use creatine.
Endorsed by Athletes
Supplement companies often use famous athletes to promote their products. Some companies sponsor athletes, providing them with products to use. This means that creatine is frequently featured in the media and advertised directly or indirectly by well-known sportsmen and women.
In conclusion, creatine is a popular supplement for a reason. With its proven benefits and ease of use, it’s no wonder that athletes and fitness enthusiasts around the world trust and rely on creatine to enhance their performance and achieve their goals. Whether you’re a seasoned lifter or just starting out, creatine could be the missing piece in your fitness puzzle. So, why not give it a try and experience the benefits for yourself?