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Gain Muscle With Creatine

May 25, 2008
What Is Creatine?

Creatine monohydrate is a compound made by the human body and is also a component of our everyday diets to gain muscle. The main sources are fish, meat and poultry. Creatine is found in any foods containing animal muscle.

The typical western diet contains about 1 gram of creatine per day, other then vegetarians who consume next to none. Our body doesn't receive sufficient amounts of creatine just from the food we eat. Creatine is produced in the liver, pancreas and kidneys, and is transported to the body's muscles through the bloodstream. About 95% of our body's stores are found in the skeletal muscle, and our daily turnover adds up to around 2grams.

When Creatine is transferred to the muscle it is transformed into creatine phosphate with amounts varying from person to person. This high-powered metabolite is used to regenerate the muscles main energy source, ATP. When you do heavy exercise your levels of ATP drop rapidly and creatine is responsible for restoring the levels of ATP.

Why Take It?

Creatine is one of the most researched supplements of all. It all began in 1992 Barcelona Olympics when numerous British athletes supplementing creatine said it was what made them so successful. Word of mouth is not enough to prove that creatine improves performance. A lot of research was then conducted on creatine. The studies showed the intake of high doses of creatine over a number of days, increased the levels of creatine and creatine phosphate found in muscles. Since then much more research has been completed, with the agreement being that creatine supplements increase muscle creatine, hence improving exercise captivity and performance.

What Does Creatine Supplementation Do?

Creatine is one of the more popular supplements amongst bodybuilders. When it comes to building muscle creatine is your best mate.

1. Provides Energy For Your Muscles

ATP is the body's source of explosive energy. Your body also obtains energy from carbohydrates, but it takes a much longer period of time to become a usable energy source. So when the body is in need of energy fast it turns to it's sources of ATP. ATP can provide a huge burst of energy to your muscles fast but can last as little as 15 seconds; this is where the creatine kicks in. When ATP sources are depleted you are left with ADP, which is basically useless for exercise. The Creatine phosphate reacts with the ADP to turn it into ATP. So creatine takes a useless chemical and turns it into a useable energy (ATP).

2. Enhances Protein Synthesis

Creatine allows your body to stay in a higher anabolic state for longer, therefore allowing more rapid lean muscle growth.

3. Increases Muscle Volume

Creatine increases the water retention of muscles. In some cases during the first few weeks of supplementing with creatine, users can put on kilograms of weight, called water weight. This makes your muscles appear larger.

4. Acts As A Lactic Acid Buffer

Lactic Acid builds up in the muscles being stimulated during heavy training. New studies show that creatine can act as a buffer towards lactic acid therefore delaying the build up of lactic acid.

How To Supplement With Creatine

There are two methods of supplementing with creatine to obtain muscle saturation. There is still debate to which method is best.

1) Loading/Maintenance Method

This the most common way of commencing creatine supplementation. The first 5 days are known as the loading phase. During this period you take a dosage of 20-30grams of creatine per day, this rapidly saturates the muscles with creatine. The second phase is the "maintenance" phase. Now that the muscles are saturated with creatine all you have to do is maintain it. A dosage of 3-10grams per day is efficient.

2) Gradual Intake Method

This method skips the loading phase and allows for gradual muscle saturation. Eventually this will achieve the same result, but in a longer period of time.

More research has gone into creatine over the years and a new product has emerged, Creatine Ethyl Ester. Regular Creatine monohydrate is absorbed poorly by the body and its effectiveness is dependent upon the cells ability to absorb it. The poor absorption rate of creatine monohydrate requires the user to ingest copious dosages of creatine to achieve desired effect "Loading Phase"

Creatine monohydrate is semilipopholic. This means that it uses fat as a transport system inefficiently. The esterification of substances will increase their lipopholic abilities, therefore, esterified creatine will use fat more efficiently to penetrate the cell wall and exert its effects upon cellular function. This means, simply, that not only will dosage requirements be lower, but the absorption of esterified creatine will be increased.

Many athletes have "off periods" where they stop taking creatine altogether, although it is not necessary. Normally 6 weeks on 2 weeks off, athletes believe better results are achieved in doing so. It is recommended to go by manufacturers label recommendations.

Dangers and Side Effects

Some agencies have issued health warnings regarding creatine supplementation. However others have disputed this and blamed it on a misunderstanding of animal studies. Some mild side effects have been reported like dehydration and stomach aches, but these can be prevented by drinking enough water. There is no long term side effects reported to date and there have not been enough studies into long term side effects to indicate any damage. To date there is no evidence that creatine supplementation in healthy people will pose any problems. The important point to remember is, like any supplement, only take what you need, don't abuse it. Tripling creatine dosages will not achieve triple the results!

Other Creatine Questions and Myths:

Do creatine supplements effect hormone levels? No
Is creatine a type of steroid? No
Does creatine make you fat? No
Do I need to cycle creatine supplements? No, it's up to you.
Is creatine safe for pregnant women? Consult your doctor.
Is creatine a stable solution? No. Mix it up and drink immediately.
Are creatine supplements ok for vegetarian use? Absolutely

Copyright 2008, Masszymes Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Join and tens of thousands of dedicated natural bodybuilders on the quest to achieving freaky big gains without steroids. Go to http://bodybuilding.freakygrowth.com and you'll learn some amazing secrets about bodybuilding, muscle-building supplementation, bodybuilding and much more. Take action NOW!
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