Creatine is a well-known phenomenon, especially among strength athletes. It is used as a sports supplement to support the recovery and growth of muscles in the body during strenuous exercise. To find out whether you also need creatine as part of your sports routine, it is important to know what this substance is and how it can help you with the sporting and physical goals you want to achieve. Read more below.
What is creatine?
It is a substance produced by the body itself in the liver and kidneys. About 1 to 2 grams are produced here per day, for which the amino acids glycine, arginine and methionine are necessary. Since your body can store up to 5 grams per day, it is important to also get creatine from your diet. Good sources of creatine are fish and meat. 100 grams of meat or fish contains about 0,5, which is still a lot less than the body can store. For this reason, it may be useful to creatine as a supplement so that you do not have to eat kilos of meat to get the desired amount of creatine.
What is the function?
It can be seen as an energy source that is mainly used for maximum effort such as lifting weights or short sprints. In this kind of effort, the type 2 muscle fibers are of extra importance, because as fast-twitch muscle fibers they provide fast power. The active compound creatine phosphate fulfills the role of transporter, by transporting the energy-providing substance adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to the muscle cells of the fast type-2 fibres. Here, the more creatine available, the more energy the muscles have in the short term. This results in the ability to do just a few extra reps, lift heavier weights, or run a better sprint.
Creatine and muscle mass
The substance provides the muscles in your body with energy in the short term. In addition, creatine has another function that is useful in muscle mass and its construction. Creatine absorbs water, which promotes water retention in your muscle cells. This causes an increase in muscle volume and mass. Strictly speaking, this is not an increase in muscle mass, as only volume has increased. It is certainly not uncommon for you to gain a few kilos in the first weeks of creatine supplementation.
Who is it suitable for?
If you are an avid athlete who regularly does intensive or explosive strength exercises, a sports supplement such as creatine can certainly be something for you. If you only train once a week, or not very intensively, then creatine supplements are probably unnecessary. People who do not eat meat, such as vegans and vegetarians, get little or no creatine from their food. So it can be a very useful supplement for this group of people. Because most forms of creatine sold as supplements are synthetic, it is a suitable product for vegans and vegetarians.
Dosage of Creatine
The human body cannot absorb more than 5 grams per day. It is the logical conclusion to take a maximum of 5 grams per day. Overdoses can cause stomach and intestinal problems. Do you eat enough meat or fish on a daily basis? Then in principle you do not need to take more than 4 grams extra.