Creatine - The Secret to Big Muscles and More Strength
Creatine is the fastest way to get bigger and fuller muscles!
It’s also the secret ingredient to boost energy and strength.
Everyone in the bodybuilding world has taken creatine at some point in their career. Have you tried it yet?
Most trainers will recommend creatine to beginners. You want fast results, you take creatine and follow your training routine. Maybe, increase your protein consumption a bit. And voila-
You see growth in your muscles in a matter of weeks!
We all want fast results, even more, when we are starting out. Creatine is one of the most popular supplements that act on many levels to build and maintain muscles.
You also get the power to work out harder, maximizing your gains that show up as more muscle mass.
But how does creatine do all of these?
We have created a whole section exclusively for all your queries on creatine. This post will take on each crucial aspect of creatine for bodybuilders and provide the information you need. It has everything you need to know in great depths for your full understanding.
For our first section, we will explore how creatine adds strength and build muscles. We have quoted an expert international bodybuilder with his own blog to make things clear.
Here’s how creatine helps you fulfill your fitness goals.
Creatine Stimulates Hypertrophy
- Creatine directly stimulates our intramuscular fluids that aid in muscle growth. As a result, your muscle cells draw fluid and make muscles grow.
- Additionally, the process of hypertrophy sets in to help synthesize protein.
- The whole reaction even checks protein breakdown to help preserve your muscles.
- Creatine increases the growth hormone IGF-1. That leads our bodies to form proteins and grow muscles.
- Creatine brings down the levels of myostatin in our blood. As you may know, myostatin can restrict muscle growth.
Creatine Allows You to Work Harder
Creatine increases the phosphocreatine stores in our muscles. This phosphocreatine gets converted to ATP that powers our muscles for exercises.
But as we exercise, our muscles deplete the stored phosphocreatine. At this time, the creatine from your supplement will jump in and keep powering your muscles.
That means you can increase the intensity of your workouts and gain more muscle in less time.
Creatine has consistently shown positive results in studies and clinical trials. The common results include-
- Increased power
- More muscle strength
- Development of lean muscle mass
- Reduction in fatigue
- More endurance
- Improved recovery
Creatine is no doubt the king of supplements for adding muscle mass. We have a whole blog post dedicated to how creatine provides fast results. Just click below to read.
What is Creatine
We talked all about the wonders of creatine without even mentioning what it is. So silly of us!
Let’s sum up our muscle-building friend in a few words.
Creatine is not a stranger to humans. In fact, our bodies make their own creatine.
You see, we need creatine to work and think. Our muscles and brain both use creatine to function normally.
Our skeletal muscles store 95% creatine. That surely tells you why it’s so crucial for working out!
Creatine is made by our kidneys and livers using three amino acids-
We can also get creatine by eating fish and meat. For this reason, vegetarians may have lower levels of creatine in their blood.
That’s how our bodies make creatine. Now, let’s see how you make creatine supplements.
How Creatine is Made in Labs
Supplement manufacturers make creatine crystals out of sarcosine and cyanamide. Some catalyst compounds may also go into the mix. All the ingredients go into a reactor and turn into creatine in a powder form.
Creatine delivers the energy for muscles to contract. Without creatine, you wouldn’t even be able to do any exercise.
Daily Creatine Requirements
For ordinary people, 1 to 3-grams creatine is sufficient to drive bodily functions.
Athletes, on the other hand, need more creatine as they burn more energy. Someone into intensive training will need 5 – 10-grams creatine daily, according to the ISSN.
People who can’t produce their own creatine may need 10 to 30-grams every day.
Creatine works in interesting ways to provide its amazing benefits. We have a detailed post below with all the right information you need.
Types of Creatine
Creatine is available in more forms than you can count. However, not all forms are stable and provide good results. Here are some examples-
- Creatine hydrochloride
- Creatine monohydrate
- Creatine ethyl ester
- Creatine citrate
- pH-buffered creatine
We are keeping our list short, as not all types are useful. The first two types- Monohydrate and Hydrochloride (HCL), are the most researched and popular. Most supplements either contain creatine HCL or creatine monohydrate.
We will talk in detail about HCL and monohydrate in the following sections. For now, you don’t really need to fill your head up with unnecessary creatine forms that are not effective.
Benefits and Effectiveness
We discussed the most significant benefits of creatine in our first section. Let’s quickly recap those!
1. Add lean muscle mass
Creatine facilitates protein synthesis and actively builds muscles. It induces the process of hypertrophy to add muscle mass. Additionally, the boost of growth hormones from creatine leads to anabolic muscle-building processes.
2. Increase power and muscle strength
Creatine replenishes your muscle ATP to give you more power. You also gain muscle strength and work out harder for additional muscle mass.
3. Inhibit protein breakdown
Creatine inhibits protein breakdown to preserve muscles. You can aim for a quick recovery and maintain the muscles you already have. This is prominent even during weight-loss programs that result in muscle loss. Creatine also prevents muscle loss for older adults.
4. Improve muscle healing
In studies, participants who took creatine experienced fewer muscle cramps and injuries. They also missed fewer training sessions due to health reasons than those who didn’t take creatine.
5. Exercise harder
More power and strength help you train intensively. As a result, you can add more muscles.
Interestingly, this is not where the benefits of creatine end! Rather, they extend far beyond. Let’s find out some more benefits of creatine-
6. Sharp Cognition
You know our brain needs creatine to function. As a result, it facilitates cognition.
The magic substance even boosts dopamine levels and stimulates mitochondria function. That goes on to improve your brain functions.
In studies, creatine improved complex cognitive skills and mood. Results also include better processing speed, improved working memory, and even an increase in intelligence!
7. Healthy Heart
Fatigue is a result of a weak or compromised heart. Creatine has actively helped people with heart failure lead a better and fatigue-less life. It may also improve heart health by-
- Preventing constriction of blood vessels
- Reducing bad cholesterol and triglycerides
8. Low Blood Sugar
Research shows creatine to keep blood sugar levels in control, even after a high-carb meal. You can keep your blood sugar in control and get the best results by incorporating exercise into your routine.
Some animal studies show the prospect of using creatine for diabetes, too.
9. More Energy and Less Tiredness
Do you really need more explanation on this?
Just scroll above and read how creatine increases energy and strength.
10. May Help in Neurological Diseases
Creatine may have a beneficial effect in many nerve-related diseases like-
- Ischemic strokes
- Spinal cord injuries
We have written all about the benefits of creatine in detail in a special blog. You can find out even more benefits of taking creatine. Just click below!
Best Way to Take Creatine (Plus Time)
When is the best time to take creatine?
Everyone seems to have their own opinions on the best time to take creatine. Some say take it before working out, while others suggest just the opposite.
Whom do you trust?
Timing is Key for Success
The timing of a supplement can decide the degree of success you will have with the results. The same applies to creatine, and there is a right time to take it.
However, you can’t trust personal opinions, right? You need scientific proof as your health and career depend on it.
Fortunately, we are here to help you with the right facts. We will check out the benefits of taking creatine before and after working out. Obviously, our findings are based on scientific evidence as usual.
Pre Workout Benefits
Taking creatine before working out is a good way to stay energized for your training. You can improve your muscle strength, power, and athletic performance.
Many pre-workout supplements also contain creatine to provide an energy boost. You may even take creatine 30-minutes before exercising for a supercharged workout. The end result will be more protein synthesis for more muscle mass.
Post Workout Benefits
Some studies researched the effects of creatine when taken after workouts. Having your creatine after exercising can lead to-
- Better muscle recovery
- Lower inflammation
- Less muscle damage
- Less fatigue
So, when do you take your creatine for best results?
Best Time to Take Creatine
Current research shows it’s not that important whether you take creatine before or after working out. What’s more important is taking your creatine shortly before or after exercise.
You are free to choose your own timing!
Another way is to divide your creatine into two doses. Take one before hitting the gym, and one right after coming back.
This is a great way to ensure you don’t miss out on any benefits.
Best Way to Take Creatine
Should you follow a creatine loading phase?
Many bodybuilders follow a loading phase where they saturate their muscle’s phosphocreatine stores. After that, they cut down the dose and even take time off.
Let’s be clear about one thing. A loading phase is not necessary to build muscles in the long-term.
However, if you have a contest coming up, it may be useful for improving performance.
Here is a typical loading/rest protocol you can follow-
- Loading phase:Take 5-grams creatine x 4-times (20 grams) for a week.
- Maintenance phase:Take 3 – 5-grams creatine for three to four weeks.
- Recycling phase:Take 2-week rest.
- Restart the cycle.
Note: Do remember to drink a lot of water throughout the day when using creatine.
We are going to leave you with two posts to explore below. You will get a more detailed explanation of what we discussed here.
Best Creatine Combination for Magical Transformation
Creatine is a sure way to build muscles in a short time. But what if we say you can get even better results?
All of us have one thing in mind when we start lifting weights. We always think- how quickly can I build muscles? When will I get the physique I desire?
Interestingly, this thought is not just limited to beginners. Some people who have been lifting weights for over a year also feel the same. They workout for extended hours, but are not able to add muscles.
We can help you out with a secret combination that quickens the results of creatine like anything! Not only that, but the combination can also even contribute to bigger muscles.
Combination 1: Creatine + Whey Protein
You see, protein is a must for athletes to build muscles. Taking creatine is only a part of the equation. The other part is adding a quality source of protein with ample essential amino acids.
Whey has been proved to be one of the best to build muscles. Our bodies quickly digest whey and use the amino acids actively to synthesize protein and add muscle mass. Research backs up whey as an ideal supplement for muscle-building goals.
Adding whey with your creatine can add muscle mass in just 2-weeks time!
Yes, you read it right.
Creatine and whey can give you superior results in just two weeks. Just try out the combination, and you will never look back.
Creatine and whey can give you superior results in just two weeks. Just try out the combination, and you will never look back.
Whey and creatine together create a safe and tested formula that works wonders.
Combination 2: Creatine + Mass Gainer
Creatine and mass gainers are a wonderful combination. Many bodybuilders use this formula during the bulking stage. You will also find many mass gainers in the market that contain creatine along with protein, carbs, and fat.
Adding creatine with mass gainers will provide similar results as the whey protein combination. Creatine and your mass gainer pair up to give you the muscle mass you always dreamt of.
Combining creatine with mass gainers is also a good idea as the protein in mass gainers may not always be whey. Bringing in creatine will act as a catalyst and maximize the results.
Along with that, you can also build muscles much faster than taking creatine alone.
You can read more about the awesome uses of mass gainers by clicking below.
Combination 3: Creatine + Carbs
This is the second-best combination of creatine.
You can combine creatine with a carb-based meal for enhancing the results. Many athletes take creatine with sugary drinks to add some carb. This helps our bodies absorb creatine effectively and use it for building muscles.
Note: Loading yourself up with sugar may not be a good idea. Too much sugar can have adverse effects on the body. You can experience chronic inflammation, heart diseases, and strokes. Simple carbs may be more preferable for this reason.
We will leave you with a bit of reading to do to hone your understanding.
Creatine for Women
Did you female readers feel left out till now?
Creatine is as effective for the fairer sex as it is for males. You can get a performance boost and build lean muscles, without exceptions.
However, women have an entirely different set of apprehensions about creatine. Things that keep them awake at night and question the use of creatine. For example-
Will creatine make you gain weight?
Does creatine make you bloated?
Is creatine suited only for men?
Let’s answer your questions one by one!
Can Creatine Lead to Weight Gain?
Creatine doesn’t contain any fat. Additionally, it contains 0 calories. There’s no way you can get fat by taking creatine.
However, you will gain lean muscles as you work out. Naturally, more muscles mean more muscle fiber, and that increase your weight a bit.
But, if you want muscles, you have to be okay with a little weight gain. You have no way around!
Does Creatine Make You Bloated?
Some early studies on creatine noted an increase of intramuscular fluid. That led some people to conclude creatine makes you bloated.
But, those studies were mostly on men. Research shows women to be less susceptible to bloating or fluid retention than men.
The water content in your cells may go up, but only for the first few days. Contrary to your belief, that isn’t going to make you look bloated at all!
Is Creatine Only for Men?
Creatine is safe and sound for both males and females. No studies have ever found creatine to cause any damage in healthy people.
Creatine is completely okay for your livers, kidneys, and other organs.
Till now, we have only addressed the concerns about creatine. Next, we will see what it can really do for women.
Results of Creatine for Women
– Improved Performance
Creatine recharges your ATP to provide energy to muscles. Studies show creatine to boost agility and sprint performance in female athletes.
– More Strength
Creatine makes women more powerful!
Research by KU Leuven research university and others show creatine to increase 1RM (by 20% – 25%) in case of many exercises like-
- Bench press
- Leg press
- Back squat
- Leg extension
– Lean Muscles
Creatine is ideal for you to get the toned look you desire. Of course, it can even give you fuller and bigger muscles, if you want! But we will leave that to your fitness goals.
You’d be happy to know creatine builds lean muscles without getting you fat or bloated. So, use creatine without worries to fulfill your fitness goals, no matter what they are!
– Better Brain Functions
Creatine also provides energy for your brain to keep functioning. Additionally, it has shown potential for use in various psychological and neurological diseases.
– Improved Lifestyle for Older Women
Creatine can keep you feeling like your liberated self, even in old age.
Some research show creatine to improve the quality of life for older adults. You can also stay active, and even increase your lean mass.
Along with that, you can expect healthy bones and relief from osteoporosis. (with strength training)
Creatine During Pregnancy
We will not make any conclusions for this section. But whatever research exists, creatine seems to be safe during pregnancy.
In animal studies, it even led to healthy and active babies.
Do seek your doctor’s advice if you consider using creatine in pregnancy.
We mentioned a number of studies in our women’s section for creatine. All of them are referenced in our detailed take on creatine for women linked below. Give it a read for a complete picture.
Creatine HCL or creatine monohydrate?
This seems to be an everlasting debate in the fitness world. Some will recommend creatine HCL, while others will ask you to go for creatine monohydrate.
Are there even any differences? Is one of them more effective than the other?
First, let’s take a closer look at both the forms of creatine.
What is Creatine HCL
HCL or hydrochloric acid is added to many food products for flavouring and preserving purposes. You will find HCL in many canned foods and sauces. Our stomach also produces hydrochloric acid from leafy vegetables.
Creatine HCL is just hydrochloric acid added to creatine. According to some sources, creatine HCL dissolves much better in water than creatine monohydrate.
Now, many people used this dissolvability to claim creatine HCL better than monohydrate. They say creatine HCL-
- Is absorbed better by our bodies
- Doesn’t cause water retention
- Has no side effects
But are these claims true?
What is Creatine Monohydrate
Before we answer the question, let’s see what creatine monohydrate is all about.
Monohydrate is a form of hydrate that has one molecule of water for every molecule of the parent substance. You also have dihydrate that contains two molecules of water.
So, creatine monohydrate is just creatine, with one molecule of crystallized water per molecule of creatine. Sounds a bit confusing, right?
Things to know:
- Creatine monohydrate is the most researched form of creatine.
- There are more than 1,000 studies on creatine monohydrate.
- This is the form associated with all the wonderful results.
- Creatine monohydrate is the closes to the creatine made by our bodies
Now, let’s take the claims about creatine HCL one-by-one.
Our Bodies Absorb Creatine HCL Better
Creatine HCL dissolves better in water- up to 38-times!
However, that’s water, and not our stomach juices and digestive enzymes.
There are no studies to show our bodies absorb HCL better than monohydrate. No researcher ever compared the two in terms of their absorbing qualities.
In fact, creatine HCL has a very limited number of studies.
Creatine HCL Doesn’t Cause Water Retention
Creatine increases intramuscular fluid that leads to hypertrophy. Any water retention is temporary and goes away after some time.
But does creatine HCL free of water retention?
Again, there is no proof! It’s also a guess based on the better solubility of HCL.
Creatine HCL Has No Side Effects
Some say creatine HCL needs smaller doses, so it doesn’t have side effects.
However, creatine is totally safe. Any side effects may be the result of your body adapting to a new substance.
You may feel stomach cramps or discomfort for a few initial days.
Research doesn’t show creatine HCL to be better than monohydrate in terms of side effects. You may try creatine HCL if monohydrate is causing you troubles.
So, all claims about creatine HCL is baseless.
Creatine HCL is not better than creatine monohydrate. Both can give you the same results.
However, bodybuilders prefer creatine monohydrate because it’s most-researches, effective, and safe. Moreover, creatine monohydrate is way cheaper than HCL.
We have analyzed both forms of creatine at greater depths in our dedicated blog post below. Do check it out!
Myths About Creatine
You hear a lot of things about creatine in your initial days of joining the fitness world.
Among things you hear, some seem to be quite serious, like creatine causes hair fall. We are sure you have heard many such things which you don’t know are true or not.
We decided to put matters to an end and reveal the truth about creatine. Here are some of the most common myths around our best muscle-building friend-
Myth 1: Creatine is a Steroid
This has got to be the most hilarious of all!
Some people say creatine is a steroid. Of course, if you know even a little bit about creatine, you would dismiss this right away as a myth!
We already told you how creatine is made in the lab. There is no way steroids are coming in that equation.
Manufacturers use sarcosine and cyanamide to make creatine crystals. The former is an amino acid, while the second is an organic compound. Then they either add HCL or make it into creatine monohydrate. None of these are steroids.
So, no, creatine is not a steroid! You will need to follow a proper diet and exercise to build muscles.
Additionally, all studies prove creatine to be safe and free of any negative consequences.
However, you should always buy supplements after research to ensure they don’t contain banned substances.
Myth 2: Creatine Damages Kidneys
Many of us have heard this myth many times. Does creatine damage kidneys?
First, let’s see why people believe this myth.
You see, our bodies metabolize creatine and create a byproduct called creatinine. Now, creatinine is also produced by our bodies under several other circumstances like-
- When you eat too much animal protein
- When you exercise more
The creatinine in your blood is filtered by the kidneys and excreted via urine. However, when kidneys stop performing or are compromised, the creatinine levels in your blood increase.
For this, the medical world uses creatinine as an indicator of kidney damage. So, if you have more creatinine in your blood, it may indicate problematic kidneys.
Now, taking creatine will also increase creatinine. But, it doesn’t mean creatine damages kidneys. It’s just like producing more creatinine when you exercise more. Your kidneys don’t even come in the picture.
Many studies have also confirmed the fact. Our blog post below mentions all the studies and deals with the myth in detail. Do give it a read.
Myth 3: Creatine Causes Hair Loss
Can creatine make you bald?
Will taking creatine lead to hair fall?
Worrying about your hair is normal. That doesn’t make you a narcissist!
Now, let’s see if there is any truth to the myth.
DHT or dihydrotestosterone (a byproduct of testosterone) increases in your body when you take creatine. This DHT is associated with a number of hair problems, and even hair fall.
DHT can interact with hair follicles and make them weak. The hair may shrink, stop growing, and even fall off.
As creatine increases DHT, some people think it causes hair loss. Instead of relying on such people’s opinions, let’s see what science has to say!
Is Creatine Related to Hair Loss
A single study found creatine to increase DHT levels in the participants. Articles on the internet generally cite this research when proving creatine causes hair loss.
However, the study didn’t measure hair loss or hair fall. They only recorded the increase in DHT levels.
As a result, we have zero evidence to suggest creatine leads to hair loss or weak hair.
Let’s try to prove the myth from another angle. Let’s find out if creatine increases testosterone, which could lead to an increase in DHT, and maybe hair loss.
Does Creatine Increases Testosterone
Apart from a single study, no evidence has found creatine to make any significant changes to testosterone levels. Research also comes to the same conclusion about free testosterones- creatine has no effect on it.
We have evidence that creatine doesn’t increase testosterone. So, we can surely say you will not get any hair problems from creatine.
Do Women Need to Worry
The role of DHT is far less significant in women. As a result, females don’t have to worry about hair loss from DHT.
Women have very low amounts of testosterone. For this reason, they also have very low levels of DHT.
Moreover, hair fall in women is caused by several other factors like heredity and estrogen levels. Creatine doesn’t have any part in hair fall seen in women.
We have taken on the myth of creatine and hair fall in a separate post. Just click below to read more.
Myth 4: Creatine Needs a Loading Phase
This is yet another common myth doing the rounds in the fitness world.
Even some trainers suggest loading creatine at high doses for a week, followed by a maintenance phase.
Now, this process helps you saturate your muscles with creatine. But does it have any extra benefit?
Well, science doesn’t have any proof to support this myth. Whether you load up or not, creatine has the same results in the long run.
Loading may provide a quick performance boost. If you have a running tournament or show, that might be helpful. But there are no extra benefits of a loading phase.
You can build muscles and increase strength by taking 3 – 5-gram creatine every day.
Myth 5: Creatine Should be Cycled
Some supplements are best in a cycle. You take them for a fixed time, take some days off, and again start your supplement.
Does creatine need cycling?
Maintaining an on and off period for creatine may be necessary when you are following a loading phase.
Else, you don’t need to cycle creatine supplements.
In fact, cycling your creatine can be counterproductive. You need to take creatine for a consistent time to get significant results.
Moreover, creatine is safe even when used in the long-term. So, take a steady and regular dose of creatine every day.
Side Effects and Drawbacks
Is creatine free of side effects?
You may have heard a lot of complaints about creatine. People say it causes many side effects like-
- Muscle cramps
- Kidney stones
- Liver damage
You may add more unpleasant symptoms to the list. But are they true?
Again, we will take the help of research to make any conclusion. Here’s a study that evaluated the effects of creatine for 3 years on college athletes. The researchers also kept a lookout for the negative effects.
Interestingly, the researchers found something exactly the opposite of what people claim.
The athletes who took creatine actually ended up having fewer incidents of muscle cramps or injury.
Likewise, other studies didn’t find creatine to cause dehydration even in hot climates. Additionally, you already know creatine is safe for our organs.
So far, the side effects of creatine seem only to exist in people’s imagination. You can have creatine safely for even 5 years without any negative consequences.
Your Body May Need Time to Adjust
Beginners may feel a bit of discomfort while using creatine for the first time. This is true and applies to many supplements.
We suggest you be patient for at least a week and see if the discomforts pass. If they do, you can continue your supplement without any worries.
- Do keep in mind to drink a lot of water throughout the day.
- Don’t take more than the recommended dose of creatine.
- Don’t take creatine if you have liver or kidney problems. First, talk to your doctor.
Best Creatine Supplement in India
We have almost come to the end of our mega guide on creatine. Hope you enjoyed our thorough information and scientific evidence-based analyses. If you have any more questions, check out the FAQ section below.
Right now, we thought you might like to know about some popular creatine supplements in India. You have quite a few brands selling their products that surely are top picks. Some are more popular in our country, while others have worldwide fame.
We handpicked 5 best creatine in India that you may add to your routine. All of the products on our list are chosen only after months of research and following feedback from the fitness world.
We also checked out what customers are saying!
In the end, we have come up with our valued selection of top creatine supplements in the Indian market. We have top brands like MuscleTech and Optimum Nutrition that deliver guaranteed results.
Along with that, we have included our very own Indian companies that are making a mark. Do check out our exclusive selection if you are considering ordering a bottle of creatine.
Q. Is creatine a safe supplement?
Answer: We have provided ample evidence to show how creatine is safe for us. It doesn’t damage your kidneys, livers, or any other organs. Rather, creatine may improve the health of vital organs like our brains and hearts.
For female folks, we dedicated a whole section to dispel your apprehensions.
Additionally, in our side effects section, we cited years-long studies to prove how creatine is free from adverse consequences.
By now, you can surely believe creatine is safe, and have trust in your supplement. Even 500 studies didn’t find any drawbacks of creatine for healthy people.
Q. Is creatine a steroid?
Answer: Some people may confuse creatine with anabolic steroids. It has such superb results, and you might be tricked to think creatine is a steroid.
However, creatine is made from organic compounds, none of which are steroids. In fact, creatine has no relation to any artificial growth hormones.
Lastly, research shows creatine to be the safest. If it was a steroid, scientists would have known by now. Creatine is being used by bodybuilders and athletes for at least a century.
Q. Can creatine increase body weight?
Answer: Creatine is completely free of calories and fat. Both exist in zero amounts in a scoop of creatine. This means there is no possible way of creatine making you fat. At least, not as long as you go by laws of science and physics.
However, creatine builds lean muscle mass. It can be your best friend to build muscles, if that is your fitness goal.
More muscles mean more muscle fiber or the addition of extra weight. Any weight gain from creatine results from the increase of muscle mass.
In the initial days, creatine will cause more water to go into your muscle cells. This sets in the process of hypertrophy to add muscles. However, this water retention is will not lead to any significant weight gain.
You don’t need to worry about weight gain as long as it’s not coming from fat. Women can also use creatine without any worries about getting fat.
Q. Can creatine help to lose weight?
Answer: Creatine has no direct effect on your weight loss goals. That means creatine will not help you lose weight as a supplement.
However, creatine may have some benefits for those looking to lose weight.
Creatine increases intramuscular fluid. As a result, it can protect your existing muscles from damage when you exercise. This will ensure you lose only fat and not your lean muscles.
Additionally, creatine gives you the energy to work out harder. You will get more energy to exercise and burn more fat.
Creatine can also help you in the cutting stage. Add it to your route and increase your protein intake to preserves muscles while losing fat. Obviously, you will also have to spend more calories than you eat.
Aim for gradual and safe weight loss. Exercising or restricting your diet too much can lead to loss of muscles.
Q. What food is high in creatine?
Answer: Animal meat contains the highest amounts of creatine. You can get around 1-gram of creatine (per 100-grams) from beef steak cooked with its own juice. Creatine is also present in fishes like salmon.
Vegetarian sources are low on creatine. Still, you may get creatine from-
- Seeds, nuts, legumes,
- Dairy products
Vegans generally have lower levels of creatine compared to meat-eaters. As a result, you might need supplementation if your diet doesn’t provide enough creatine.
Animal meat that contains muscle areas is the richest in creatine. While cooking, most of the creatine gets deposited in the juice. For this reason, aim for dishes that use the meat juice for cooking.
Moreover, cooking too long may reduce the creatine content in meat.
Q. Should creatine powder mixes be taken before or after workout?
Answer: We have dedicated a whole section above on how to take creatine. Our analysis showed you the benefits of taking creatine both before and after exercise. So, it’s a matter of personal choice.
However, for best results, take creatine shortly before or after you work out. Research shows it doesn’t really matter whether your time your supplement pre or post-workout.
What matters is you should have your supplement either 15 – 30-minutes before or after exercising.
Alternatively, you can divide your dose into two parts. Take on before lifting the weights, and take another after you are done. This gives you the best of both worlds!
Q. Can taking creatine help my brain?
Answer: Like our bodies, our brains too need the energy to work. For this reason, you will also find creatine phosphate in the brain, along with your skeletal muscles.
So, you can say creatine helps your brain function normally. Without creatine, your brain would not have the fuel to think, control your responses, or solve problems. You need to keep supplying the most vital organ with creatine to keep it functioning.
Moreover, creatine has shown positive effects on many psychological or neurological disorders. It may be used for-
- Memory deficits
Creatine has a positive effect on brain functionality. But taking it will not make you sharper or smarter unless you have a creatine deficiency.
Q. How much Creatine should I take per day?
Answer: Your dose of creatine will depend on whether you are active or not. If you lead a more or less sedentary lifestyle, you may take 1 – 3-grams creatine per day.
The need for creatine increases when you exercise or do more physical activity. Bodybuilders take anything from 5 – 10-grams creatine every day during supplementation.
You can even take 20-grams per day if you are following a loading phase. Then you should cut to a maintenance dose of 2 – 3-grams.
A dose of 5-grams of creatine is considered more than safe for everyone.
Q. Should I take creatine daily or just before workout?
Answer: Creatine has the best results when you use the supplement consistently. You need to use creatine daily for a considerable time to build strength and muscle.
Take creatine daily if you are on a muscle-building goal. Inconsistent dosing will not lead to desired results.
Using creatine only before workouts may give you a temporary energy boost. But you won’t be able to get the long-term benefits.
Industry experts like Creapure recommend using the same dose of creatine every day for more strength and muscle mass. So, it’s always best to use creatine consistently and daily.
Q. How long should you use creatine?
Answer: Creatine needs some time to show its wonderful results. You can obviously pair your creatine with whey protein to get results in two weeks.
If you are using only creatine, experts recommend using the supplement for at least a few months. Some studies we highlighted in this guide used creatine for 3-years at a stretch.
Research shows creatine is safe even when you take it non-stop for 5 years. You have nothing to worry about or fear any negative effects.
You can always look forward to more strength and more lean muscles.
Q. What happens if I go off creatine?
Answer: Creatine is not a drug. You are not going to get any withdrawals or discomfort by quitting creatine. This is the magic of this supplement.
Going off creatine is safe at any time. Your body will go through some changes, but none of them are dangerous or unsafe.
First, the excess creatine from supplementation will leave your body slowly after you stop creatine. This process will take around 2 weeks.
Next, your body will shift back to producing 1 – 2-grams creatine like in normal times.
Now, some of you may wonder what will happen to the muscle you gained on creatine. Be completely sure that stopping creatine won’t make you lose your lean muscles. You will keep the muscles you built if you do the needful- that is, following a proper diet and exercise routine.
You can start and stop creatine any time you wish. There is no danger.
Q. Is it alright to take creatine on an empty stomach?
Answer: Creatine is safe and won’t cause any harm if you take it on an empty stomach. However, that might not be the best way to derive maximum gains from your supplement.
Creatine is not very easily transportable. If you take it on an empty stomach, your body might not do a good job of absorbing the supplement.
That’s why experts recommend a sugary drink or carbs along with creatine. The creatine binds with the food molecules and is better absorbed by our bodies.
Even a little bit of food with creatine will improve the results. But do take care not to eat to your fullest. That might become counterproductive!
If you are on weight loss, pair your creatine with natural fruit juices.
Q. Does creatine expire?
Answer: Creatine, especially creatine monohydrate, is very stable and durable. It has a long shelf life and can be taken safely over a long period.
Research shows creatine to be effective even years after the “best before” date. However, you may want to stay on the safer side and consume your supplement before the expiry or best before date.
You can look for a few signs to determine if your creatine has gone bad. If the supplements have a strong bad smell, then it’s a good idea to get rid of that bottle.
Additionally, discolored powder is also a sign to replace your supplement.
Do make it a point to throw away creatine that is over 3-years old.
Q. Is creatine harmful to a human's kidneys?
Answer: We have discussed in detail how creatine turns out safe in all studies. Not a single researcher has been able to find any flaws with creatine. Your liver, kidneys, and other organs are fine and won’t be damaged by creatine.
Instead of worrying, check out the scientific evidence we have provided in our analysis above. You will see that creatine is not only safe but also beneficial for a number of our organs, like the brain.
People with healthy kidneys will never need to be apprehensive about using creatine. But if you have any kidney disease or weak kidneys, getting medical advice is the best option.
Also, remember to drink adequate water while on creatine.
Q. Does creatine cause hair loss?
Answer: Creatine has no connection with hair loss. This has been proved time and again!
People think creatine leads to hair loss as it increases DHT, which takes a toll on hair health. However, apart from a single study, no other evidence shows creatine to increase DHT.
Moreover, creatine also doesn’t impact testosterone that is needed to make DHT. Also, currently, no evidence links creatine with hair loss. Read our detailed analysis in the Creatine Myths section for more details.
Creatine will not lead to hair loss either in males or females.
Q. Can creatine increase your testosterone levels?
Answer: This can be answered in a single word – “no!”
Every piece of research that tested creatine for testosterone came up with negative results. We don’t have any convincing proof to show creatine increases testosterone. Many studies have assessed the link but didn’t find any relationship.
Creatine doesn’t have any effect on testosterone levels as far as scientists are concerned. You can take a look at the in-depth analysis by Examine.com on the topic for more information.
Q. Does creatine cause erectile dysfunction?
Answer: The question can very well be considered another creatine myth. There is no research or study that says creatine results in erectile dysfunction.
Some people believed in this myth in the earlier days when creatine was new in the market. But years of examining has confirmed creatine safe for humans. Your sexual performance is not going to get hampered in any way.
Creatine doesn’t cause or give you erectile dysfunction. There must be other underlying causes of your libido problems.
You can take creatine safely and enjoy a normal sex life.