Creatine Transformation: Does it work?

Creatine Transformation

What is Creatine?

Creatine is a natural substance found in the body, primarily in the muscles. It is also found in small amounts in certain foods, such as meat and fish. What can a creatine transformation actually do? Well, creatine is most commonly used by athletes, bodybuilders, and weightlifters to help improve exercise performance and increase muscle mass. When taken as a dietary supplement, it is typically in the form of creatine monohydrate. Some people also use it for other purposes, such as to help treat certain brain disorders and improve cognitive function.  Creatine Transformation

Over 50% of professional athletes such as boxers and track and field athletes are reportedly using the supplement. It is also becoming more popular amongst amateur athletes and high school lifters.  Most of whom are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits to be gained by taking creatine. For more information click here.

How does your body create creatine?

Creatine is produced naturally in the body, primarily in the liver, pancreas, and kidneys. It is made from the amino acids, arginine, glycine, and methionine. These amino acids are obtained through the diet or through the synthesis of other amino acids in the body. Creatine is then transported to the muscles, where it is stored and used as needed. During times of physical activity, the body breaks down stored creatine to produce energy.

Therefore, it helps power our muscles through high-intensity workouts, such as a tough set of bench presses.  About 95% of creatine is stored in our muscles and 5% of it is stored in the brain. This is why it’s been heavily linked to both muscular improvements and brain function.

Creatine Transformation: What does creatine do to the muscles?

We all have a baseline level of creatine in our muscles, supplementing with creatine can increase that baseline level by about 30%. This results in our muscles having more creatine and therefore more power.  Over time, this can lead to more strength and muscle mass, as well as improve exercise performance.  The effect of creatine supplementation may be most pronounced in people who are not already consuming a high-protein diet.  Phosphoceatine

Creatine works by increasing the body’s supply of phosphocreatine, a molecule that is used to produce energy during periods of high-intensity exercise. When you take creatine as a supplement, your muscles store more phosphocreatine, which can then be used to produce energy more quickly. This can help you exercise harder and for longer periods of time, leading to improved performance and possibly greater muscle growth.

While supplementing, not everyone will experience the same increase in creatine levels.  This is because 20% to 30% of people already have fully saturated muscle creatine levels.  They will therefore not experience the same creatine transformation. Other people will have naturally lower creatine levels, such as vegetarians, as creatine is found in meat. Supplementation will benefit them.  It is more than likely that creatine supplementation will benefit most people who take it for enhancing athletic performance.

What other benefits does supplementing with creatine produce?

  • It can produce more energy for cells
  • It can improves high-intensity exercise performance such as sprinting, power lifting, boxing etc.
  • It can help decrease the amount of time the body needs to recover  Creatine Transformation
  • It may lower blood sugar
  • As previously mentioned it can improve cognitive function
  • It will accelerate muscle growth

What are the different types of creatine?

Creatine monohydrate 

When taken as a supplement, creatine is typically in the form of creatine monohydrate, which is the most widely studied form of creatine and is generally considered to be safe and effective when used as directed. Creatine monohydrate is typically available as a powder that can be mixed with water or other beverages. It is also sometimes available in capsule form.

The powder form is generally considered to be more convenient and easier to use, as it can be easily mixed with a variety of beverages. The capsules may be more convenient for people who prefer to take their supplements in pill form or have difficulty swallowing powders. It is important to store creatine monohydrate according to the instructions on the label, as exposure to moisture or heat can affect its stability and effectiveness.  Creatine Transformation

Increasing muscle mass while reducing body fat at the same time is the main goal of bodybuilders and athletes. Creatine monohydrate has been shown to do all of these things.  It is little wonder that it is one of the most popular and studied supplements on the market.

Creatine ethyl ester 

Creatine ethyl ester (CEE) is a form of the dietary supplement creatine that has been esterified, or chemically modified, with ethyl alcohol. It is marketed as a more easily absorbed form of creatine that may have improved bioavailability compared to other forms of creatine. Some people prefer this type of creatine because it can be consumed in smaller doses than creatine monohydrate. Creatine monohydrate is usually taken in 20 gram doses or more, but creatine ethyl ester is taken in doses  couple of only a couple of grams each day.

Some studies have suggested that CEE may be more effective at increasing muscle strength and size than regular creatine monohydrate, but more research is needed to confirm these findings. It is important to note that the safety and effectiveness of CEE as a dietary supplement have not been fully established, and it is not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for use as a dietary supplement.

Creatine hydrochloride

Creatine hydrochloride (HCL) is a form of the dietary supplement creatine that has been combined with hydrochloric acid. As it dissolves in water more efficiently than creatine monohydrate, it makes it easier to consume. The body is therefore able to absorb much more of it, up to 60% more than creatine monohydrate.  As a result, you don’t have to consume as much creatine hydrochloride to get the same effect as creatine monohydrate.

Some studies have suggested that creatine HCL may be more effective at increasing muscle strength and size than regular creatine monohydrate, but again, more research is needed to confirm these findings.

Liquid creatine

As you might have guessed, liquid creatine is creatine that is in liquid form. In stead of pills or powder it comes in a bottle of liquid. One potential benefit of taking creatine in liquid form is that it may be absorbed more quickly by the body. However, there is limited scientific research to support this claim, and more research is needed to determine whether there are any significant differences in the absorption of creatine between different forms.  For more information on absorption click here.

Which form of creatine is best?  Creatine Transformation

There is no definitive answer to this question as the best form of creatine will depend on individual preference and what works best for you. Some people may find it more convenient to take creatine in powder form because it can be easily mixed into beverages or other foods. Others may prefer taking creatine in capsule form because it is more portable and easy to take on the go. And still others may prefer taking creatine in liquid form because it may be absorbed more quickly by the body (although this has not been definitively established through scientific research). Ultimately, the most important thing is to choose a form of creatine that is convenient and easy for you to use consistently.

The International Society of Sports Nutrition found that creatine monohydrate is the best supplement that is available for increasing high-intensity exercise performance and improving lean body mass.  Creatine monohydrate is the safest option because of the evidence to support its effectiveness.

Creatine Transformation: The Loading Phase

The saturation phase of creatine supplementation refers to the period of time during which the muscles become fully saturated with creatine. When you first start taking creatine, your muscles will begin to store more of the molecule, which can lead to an increase in muscle mass and strength. This process is known as the loading phase.  You will not experience the full benefits of your supplementation until full saturation.

During the loading phase, you take a bit of creatine every day to increase your stores as fast as possible. You then decrease this doseage to maintain your new elevated levels. It should take about 7 days to fully saturate your muscles. After this, is when you can start experiencing some of its benefit.

The length of the saturation phase and the recommended dosage for the maintenance phase can vary depending on the specific product you are using and your individual needs and goals. It is important to follow the dosage guidelines provided by the manufacturer.

Creatine Transformation: The Maintenance Phase

During the maintenance phase, you will continue to take a smaller dose of creatine on a daily basis to help maintain the increased levels of phosphocreatine in your muscles.  This can help to support muscle strength and power, as well as improve exercise performance.  It’s important to note that while creatine supplementation may be beneficial for some people, it is not for everyone. Some people may experience side effects from taking creatine.

Are there any side effects?

Initial Weight Gain

One of the side effects most people experience when beginning to take creatine is water retention. This may cause a small spike in your body weight. This is because when creatine is taken into a muscle cell, it also draws water into that cell. It can actually make your muscles look and feel a bit fuller.  Research has suggested that the weight gain can be anything from 1 to 3 lbs.  This does not necessarily mean that everyone that supplements with creatine will gain weight.

Stomach cramps and discomfort  Stomach cramps

Another reported side effect is stomach cramps specifically during the loading phase. If you want to avoid this, splitting up your creatine into smaller doses may help.  Also, avoid taking creatine on an empty stomach or with caffeine.  It can upset your stomach.  Sometimes discomfort is due to creatine being poorly dissolved by the body.  Try mixing your creatine with hot water so it dissolves fully.

Dehydration

Creatine does not directly cause dehydration. However, some people may experience an increase in muscle cramps and muscle fatigue when taking high doses of creatine. This can lead to an increased risk of dehydration if they do not drink enough fluids. This is because the muscles need adequate hydration to function properly, and if they become dehydrated, they may not be able to perform at their best. It is important to drink plenty of water when taking creatine to help reduce the risk of dehydration and muscle cramps.

Nausea

There is limited scientific research on the causes of nausea in people who take creatine. However, some people may experience nausea as a side effect of taking high doses of creatine, particularly if they are not used to taking the supplement. It is thought that the nausea may be due to the body’s reaction to the sudden increase in creatine intake. Some people may be more sensitive to the effects of creatine and may be more likely to experience side effects such as nausea. It is generally recommended to start with a lower dose of creatine. You can then gradually increase the dose over time to help reduce the risk of side effects.

Creatine Transformation; Is it worth it?

Creatine Transformation: Increased Strength

Firstly, your strength should increase.  Less experienced athletes seem to make the larger gains but even just a slight increase in strength is well worth it, as far as supplements go. One study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that supplementation with creatine increased muscle strength and power in trained athletes, as well as muscle mass in untrained individuals. Another study, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, found that creatine supplementation improved upper body strength in women.  If you would like a beginner’s strength workout click here.

Other research studies have also found that creatine can improve strength and muscle mass in people with certain medical conditions, such as muscle-wasting diseases and Parkinson’s disease.  Overall, the evidence suggests that creatine is effective at improving strength and muscle mass in people who participate in strength training, as well as in some populations with specific medical conditions.

Creatine Transformation: Faster Recovery

Some research studies have found that creatine may help to improve recovery after exercise. For example, a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that creatine supplementation helped to reduce muscle damage and soreness following resistance exercise. Another study, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, found that creatine supplementation reduced muscle damage and improved recovery in soccer players who participated in high-intensity interval training. Faster Recovery

Other research studies have also suggested that creatine may help to reduce muscle fatigue and improve recovery in people with certain medical conditions, such as muscular dystrophy. The evidence does suggest that creatine may be helpful for improving recovery after exercise. Although more research is needed to fully understand its effects. It is important to note that the effects of creatine on recovery may vary from person to person. It is not a substitute for proper nutrition, hydration, and rest after exercise.  Check out my other article on taking rest here.

Should I try a creatine transformation?

If you are interested in trying creatine, it is a good idea to speak with a healthcare provider or a sports medicine specialist. They will check to see if it might be a good option for you. They will be able to provide you with more information about the potential benefits and risks of taking creatine and can help you to determine if it is a safe and appropriate choice for you based on your individual needs and health status. It is also important to note that the effects of creatine will vary depending on the individual and the creatine transformation may not be the same for everyone. As with any dietary supplement, it is important to use caution and to follow the recommended dosage instructions on the product label.

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References

  1. Kreider, R. B., Kalman, D. S., Antonio, J., Ziegenfuss, T. N., Wildman, R., Collins, R., … & Lopez, H. (2017). International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 14(1), 18.
  2. Smith, E. M., Fukuda, D. H., Kendall, K. L., Moon, J. R., Beck, T. W., Cramer, J. T., … & Stout, J. R. (2017). Effects of oral creatine supplementation on upper body strength and muscle volume. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 31(5), 1379-1387.
  3. Balsom, P. D., Söderlund, K., & Ekblom, B. (1994). Creatine supplementation and dynamic high-intensity intermittent exercise. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports, 4(5), 269-277.
  4. Syrotuik, D. G., & Bell, G. J. (2004). Acute creatine monohydrate supplementation: a descriptive physiological profile of responders and nonresponders. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 18(3), 610-617.

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