Almost every athlete professional or novice has used creatine in some form .Of all the work out supplements out there creatine by far has been the most researched and widely used in the market. . Creatine yields great benefits to the user that understands how to incorporate it into their workout regime however without understanding of how creatine works you're just wasting your money. There are some things you should know if you are debating whether or not to add creatine in your work out strategy but aren't really sure if you should take the plunge.
What Is Creatine
Creatine is a naturally occurring substance in the body that is produced by the kidneys and liver its main purpose is to supply muscles with energy. The way it does this is by promoting the formation of ATP(adenosine triphosphate). When the cell needs power the ATP bond is broken, this breaking of the bond releases energy into the cell fueling muscles. The left over result is ADP (adenosine diphosphate). Creatine carries a single phosphate bond with it and helps ADP gain it's lost phostphate bond.
Creatine comes in three forms monohydrate, citrate and phosphate. Monohydrate is the most common and is usually mixed with water. The reason it is called monohydrate is because it is micronized meaning that they pulverize the granules into a very fine powder. Citrate is allows creatine to be very water soluble meaning it dissolves in water very quickly. Phosphate means that the creatine molecule does not have to find a stray phosphate bond to form ATP it simply joins itself to ADP to create the bond. No one kind of creatine does the trick. I've found that the more water soluble the easier it is on your system and the more likely you are to absorb the creatine.
Generally there is a loading phase on each type of creatine supplement however creatine is most effective when consumed orally at a rate between 5 to 20 grams per day after the initial loading phase. Check the directions on your creatine package as manufacturers have different loading phase requirements.
Depending on your level of health creatine is a relatively safe supplement however that does not mean there are no side effects. General side effects of creatine include bloating and slight dehydration or nausea. In rare cases creatine has been reported to increase formaldehyde production in the body however that is with large quantities of consumption over a long period of time with individuals that exceed the normal limit excessively. Over production of formaldehyde can have some nasty side effects like vascular damage and kidney function issues.
My Own Personal Experience
For years I've been taking creatine citrate and I can tell you that 5 - 20 grams per day is all you really need. I haven't experienced any major side effects from taking it other than feeling a little water logged because I usually mix my creatine citrate with at least 4 or 5 cups of water. I've noticed that when I go off cycle for about a month my strength and focus are not where they are at. In addition make sure you take plenty of water or juice when you take creatine during the loading phase because it does make you slightly dehydrated and as always lower the dosages if you feel nausea.