What Does Creatine Do? - Explained

Posted by: Robert Swilley

Before I answer the question, what does creatine do, I'll briefly explain creatine. This substance is found naturally in the body, and it's not an essential nutrient since our body manufactures it from L-arginine, L-methionine, and glycine. I won't get too technical here, but 95% of our body's creatine level is located in our muscles.

It is generally taken as a supplement combined with a high protein diet by bodybuilders and other athletes who are attempting to increase their muscle mass. If you have a history of kidney problems or you are diabetic you probably should not take creatine. It may alter activities of insulin and is processed by the kidneys so proceed with caution. If you're an otherwise healthy individual you can safely take 5 to 20 grams a day as this dosage appears very safe without too bad of side effects.

What Does Creatine Do?

How Creatine Works in The Body

It's most notable trait is its role in energy production. There is evidence that it can stimulate muscle growth in a few different ways. Your muscles can perform more work which results in increased protein synthesis, and the muscle will also hold more water in its cells. This extra water makes your muscle become volumized or super-hydrated. There is even evidence that shows supplementation of creatine can make muscle tears repair quicker!

The Side Effects…

The most commonly reported side effect is stomach ache. One way to avoid this side effect is to take it in liquid form. The liquid form is known as Creatine Serum.  Make sure to drink plenty of water as you should when taking any supplements to prevent dehydration and keep your kidneys flushed out.  Dehydration can occur since more water is drawn to the muscles than normal.  Watch out for fuller and shapelier muscles too. Wait, that’s a good thing right?

Different Forms of Creatine

There are several several types of creatine which I'll discuss below:

  • Creatine Powder – It’s the oldest type, generally gritty tasting, and in my experience more likely to cause stomach ache. I find that's more typical with low quality brands. If you get a quality brand you shouldn't have these issues.
  • Creatine Ethyl Ester (CEE) – It claims to have greater absorption, higher potency, and faster results. A British study found that it does not work as well and is unstable.
  • Kre Alkalyn Creatine – It remains stable when mixed with liquid and reaches muscle cells at full strength.
  • Creatine Serum – This form is liquid, has a variety of flavors, low dosage, and less chance of dehydration

Different Types of Creatine

Conclusion

I hope I’ve helped you understand how creatine works.  As you can see there are many different forms to choose from.

If you're looking for an excellent pre-workout supplement with Creatine I'd recommend USP Lab's Jack3d. It contains Creatine Monohydrate, Caffiene, and Beta-Alanine. Note that Jack3d only has 1 gram of creatine in it. You will probably want to take at least 3-4 grams (no more than 5 grams) a day. It's best to take creatine before and after your workout to keep it at an optimal level in your body.

I recommend mixing Optimum Nutrition's Micronized Creatine Powder in your post workout shake. It contains 5 gram of creatine per teaspoon so a half teaspoon is all you need if you're taking Jack3d.

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