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Creatine… a word many gym-goers and avid trainers are familiar with. If you’ve been in the supplements aisle of your local pharmacy, I am sure you have seen it too.  But what exactly is creatine and why do so many bodybuilders and gym fanatics swear by it? Well, according to Healthline[1] “Creatine is a substance that is found naturally in muscle cells. It helps your muscles produce energy during heavy lifting or high-intensity exercise. Taking creatine as a supplement is very popular among athletes and bodybuilders to gain muscle, enhance strength and improve exercise performance. Chemically speaking, it shares many similarities with amino acids. Your body can produce it from the amino acids glycine and arginine. Several factors affect your body’s creatine stores, including meat intake, exercise, amount of muscle mass and levels of hormones like testosterone and IGF-1. About 95% of your body’s creatine is stored in muscles in the form of phosphocreatine. The other 5% is found in your brain, kidneys and liver. When you supplement, you increase your stores of phosphocreatine. This is a form of stored energy in the cells, as it helps your body produce more of a high-energy molecule called ATP. ATP is often called the body’s energy currency. When you have more ATP, your body can perform better during exercise. Creatine also alters several cellular processes that lead to increased muscle mass, strength and recovery”. [2] Creatine has proven itself over the years to be one of the most effective supplements for improving performance during repeated bouts of intense exercise. As far back as the 1970s, Soviet scientists knew that creatine supplements improved performance, and it contributed to the USSR’s Olympic dominance through the 70s and 80s”.

So what exactly does creatine do and why do you need to incorporate it into your exercise routine?  [3]Creatine is effective for both short- and long-term muscle growth. It assists many different people, including sedentary individuals, older adults, and elite athletes.  One 14-week study in older adults determined that adding creatine to a weight-training program significantly increased leg strength and muscle mass. In a 12-week study in weightlifters, creatine increased muscle fiber growth 2–3 times more than training alone. The increase in total body mass also doubled alongside one-rep max for bench press, a common strength exercise. A large review of the most popular supplements selected creatine as the single most beneficial supplement for adding muscle mass. Another added benefit of creatine is that [4] when combined with weight training creatine slows the loss of bone mass as you age and could ease the effects of osteoarthritis, where joints become stiff and painful. With that said creatine, inevitably, has a different effect on individuals. Generally, the effects of creatine should be evident in a week in most using the supplement— with your training volume and strength increasing. Studies in the journal of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that muscle fibres grow faster after creatine supplementation and resistance-based exercise. However, it is important that people remember that this is not a magic pill.  [5]Creatine monohydrate supplementation is not a magic powder that turns fat mass into muscle mass,” says Andreas Kasper, Performance Nutritionist at England Rugby.”Dosing with creatine can help increase our muscles store of the metabolite, which is linked with repeated bouts of high-intensity performance such as sprinting and lifting weights. When we resynthesise at a high rate, it means potentially we can exercise more readily [6] and may even have a higher intensity session with shorter rest periods required, which hypothetically would aid with hypertrophy [7]. However, you still have to lift the weights and bigger muscles do not always equal increased strength.” [8]Research has shown that creatine can assist in improving muscle strength which is why many gym enthusiasts swear by it.  MedlinePlus[9] labels creatine as “possibly effective”. Analyses of this research show that creatine seems to modestly improve upper body strength and lower body strength in both younger and older adults.”

Contrary to popular belief, there are however other uses of creatine other than muscle building. When we hear the word creatine we immediately think gym and muscle building but what most people don’t know is that creatine is not only about increasing muscle mass.  Creatine also has some other benefits you might not be aware of.  As anyone who’s ever pulled an all-nighter in the office knows, sleep deprivation has a negative effect on mental performance and mood. What you might not be aware of is that this is partially due to a drop in creatine levels in the brain. University College Chichester studies suggest that guzzling a creatine supplement can help to offset the decline in mental performance that normally happens when you’re short on sleep.[10]

In another study on a group of elite rugby players, researchers from the UK Sports Council found that creatine worked just as well as caffeine at wiping out the effects of sleep deprivation on performance during a simple rugby skill test[11]. So next time you might consider adding creatine to your breakfast shake instead of having that cup of coffee.  At Divine Ratio we understand the important role creatine can play in your fitness journey that is why we suggest you try our Creatine Pure.  It is perfect in assisting in sports that require quick, short bursts of energy like sprinting[12], so next time you feel like running a lap, grab your shaker, mix well and be on your way.

 

 

[1] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-creatine

[2] https://www.menshealth.com/uk/building-muscle/a750240/what-is-creatine/

[3] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-creatine#how-it-works

[4] https://www.menshealth.com/uk/building-muscle/a750240/what-is-creatine/

[5] Hultman E, Bergstrom J, Spreit L, Soderlund K: Energy metabolism and fatigue. In Biochemistry of Exercise VII Edited by: Taylor A, Goll- nick PD, Green H. Human Kinetics: Champaign, IL; 1990:73-92.

[6]  Hultman E, Bergstrom J, Spreit L, Soderlund K: Energy metabolism and fatigue. In Biochemistry of Exercise VII Edited by: Taylor A, Goll- nick PD, Green H. Human Kinetics: Champaign, IL; 1990:73-92.

 

[7] G.L. Close, D.L. Hamilton, A. Philp, L.M. Burke, J.P. Morton. New strategies in sports nutrition to increase exercise performance. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 98, 144-158.

[8] G.L. Close, D.L. Hamilton, A. Philp, L.M. Burke, J.P. Morton. New strategies in sports nutrition to increase exercise performance. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 98, 144-158.

[9] https://www.menshealth.com/uk/building-muscle/a750240/what-is-creatine/

[10] https://www.menshealth.com/uk/building-muscle/a750240/what-is-creatine/

[11] https://www.menshealth.com/uk/building-muscle/a750240/what-is-creatine/

[12] https://divineratio.co.za/product/creatine/

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