Table of Contents:
- 1. What is Creatine Monohydrate?
- 2. How Does Creatine Monohydrate Work?
- 3. Benefits of Creatine Monohydrate
- 4. How to Take Creatine Monohydrate
- 5. Creatine Monohydrate Side Effects
- 6. Best Creatine Monohydrate Products
- 7. FAQ
- 7.1. Is Creatine Monohydrate Loading Required?
- 7.2. What is Creapure® Creatine Monohydrate?
- 7.3. What is Micronized Creatine Monohydrate?
- 7.4. Does Caffeine Affect Creatine Monohydrate?
This Guide Teaches You:
- How creatine helps to provide more workout energy, improving performance and potential gains.
- What benefits you may receive from creatine monohydrate supplementation.
- How much creatine monohydrate to take per day, and when.
- About Creapure, and why it's considered the industry gold standard.
Creatine Monohydrate is one of the most popular supplements used by people looking to build lean muscle mass, maximize performance and increase strength. According to survey data, over 40% of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) athletes reported that they have used creatine.
Despite being one of the most scientifically studied sports supplement ingredients available, there’s still a huge array of misinformation that exists in gyms and on the internet. This guide will give you the creatine monohydrate facts and answer any questions you have.
If you have any questions about creatine monohydrate after reading this guide please post them in the comments below.
What is Creatine Monohydrate?
Creatine monohydrate is a natural substance that turns into creatine phosphate in the body. Creatine phosphate helps make a substance called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP provides the energy for muscle contractions.
The body is able to product some creatine by itself, and can also get creatine from some foods like red meat and oily fish. However, levels of creatine in food sources may be reduced during the process of cooking.
How Does Creatine Monohydrate Work?
To understand how creatine monohydrate works you first need to know what ATP is and what it does. ATP is the immediate source of energy for muscle contraction. Muscle fibers only contain enough ATP to power a few twitches, additional ATP must be drawn from the body’s ATP “pool”. Creatine monohydrate is converted into creatine phosphate in the body to keep the ATP pool filled.
What does this mean in the real world? Having a good reservoir of ATP available may help you lift heavier weights for more reps by providing your muscles with enough the fast-converting energy it needs for maximum performance. You’ll often hear this referred to as “explosive energy”.
Benefits of Creatine Monohydrate
Now that you understand how creatine monohydrate works you can probably already see some of the benefits of using it. Here’s a list of the possible benefits of taking creatine for someone who is doing intense resistance training (weight training) or a sport which requires high amounts of instant energy (for example a sprinter).
- Enhanced muscle mass/strength
- Increased muscle energy availability
- Increased power output (more sets/reps)
- Weight gain
- Enhanced recovery after exercise
How to Take Creatine Monohydrate
The general recommended dose of creatine monohydrate is 3-5g daily. There’s no general consensus on the best time of day to take creatine. Many people mix creatine powder with other supplements they’re already taking like whey protein. Creatine can also be mixed with warm water (improves solubility), fruit juice or caffeine-free tea. It’s important to note that creatine monohydrate should be prepared fresh when you need to take it. Do not pre-mix you creatine powder ahead of time.
No long term studies have been conducted on creatine monohydrate so it’s generally recommended that you cycle it. An example of a creatine monohydrate cycle might be 8 weeks on and 4 weeks off.
Creatine Monohydrate Side Effects
Creatine monohydrate is generally safe when used at recommended doses. Remember that “less is more” when it comes to taking creatine. Taking more doesn’t mean it’s going to work better. Once your ATP pool is full, excess creatine is excreted (wasted) by the body. As creatine draws water from the body into muscle cells it’s very important that you drink adequate fluids when taking it.
Creatine usage is generally not recommended for people under the age of 18. This is because of the lack of research of creatine supplementation in teenagers.
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Is Creatine Monohydrate Loading Required?
When creatine monohydrate first became a popular sports supplement many manufacturers recommended that you “load” their products for 5-7 days in order to get your muscles saturated with creatine thereby speeding up the results. This theory has never been proven in any scientific research and today most manufacturers recommend that you simply take 3-5g of creatine monohydrate daily.
What is Creapure® Creatine Monohydrate?
Creapure® is recognized in the supplement industry as the “gold standard” of creatine monohydrate manufacturers. Creapure® brand creatine monohydrate is manufactured in Germany and can be found in hundreds of creatine products sold worldwide. To find out if your creatine monohydrate powder or capsules have Creapure® just look for “Creapure®” in the nutritional information.
What is Micronized Creatine Monohydrate?
As the name suggests, micronized creatine monohydrate is regular creatine monohydrate powder that has been micronized. Micronizing is the process of grinding the powder to an ultra-fine form, usually about 20 times finer than regular powder. What this means is the creatine will dissolve in liquid much faster, and in theory, be absorbed by the body easier. If you’ve ever tried non-micronized creatine you’ll know that there can be a fair amount of “grit” in the bottom of the glass or shaker. This is creatine that hasn’t dissolved. This is vital creatine you need in your body, not in the bottom of a cup.
Most creatine monohydrate supplements are now micronized. It’s recommended you always used a micronized product to get the best results.
Does Caffeine Affect Creatine Monohydrate?
According to Creapure, one of the most respected manufacturers of Creatine Monohydrate in Germany, large doses of caffeine may affect your performance results from taking creatine. However smaller doses of caffeine such as coffee and most pre-workout powders should be OK. Here’s a quote from their website:
“Taking large doses of caffeine (5 mg per kg body weight per day) cancels the ergogenic (performance enhancing) effect of creatine. Smaller amounts of caffeine (for example, 1–2 cups of coffee), on the other hand, do not seem to have an adverse impact on the effects of creatine.”
- John W. Kimball. Fueling Muscle Contraction. (http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/M/Muscles.html#creatine)
- Balsom PD, Söderlund K, Sjödin B, Ekblom B. Skeletal muscle metabolism during short duration high-intensity exercise: influence of creatine supplementation.
- Balsom PD, Söderlund K, Ekblom B. Creatine in humans with special reference to creatine supplementation.
- Casey A, Constantin-Teodosiu D, Howell S, Hultman E, Greenhaff PL. Creatine ingestion favorably affects performance and muscle metabolism during maximal exercise in humans.
- Terjung RL, Clarkson P, Eichner ER, Greenhaff PL, Hespel PJ, Israel RG, Kraemer WJ, Meyer RA, Spriet LL, Tarnopolsky MA, Wagenmakers AJ, Williams MH. American College of Sports Medicine roundtable. The physiological and health effects of oral creatine supplementation.
- Effects of creatine supplementation on oxidative stress profile of athletes (http://www.jissn.com/content/9/1/56)
- Official Creature website http://www.creapure.com/en/creapure-in-athletics/intake-recommendations