Many recreational athletes expect the use of creatine a more effective training and faster muscle. Scientifically proven, however, these effects have not yet been proven. Creatine is generally considered to be well-tolerated, however side effects such as diarrhea or flatulence may occur. So that the intake is not associated with more serious dangers, you should always buy only high-quality creatine. Otherwise, impurities with harmful substances threaten.
What is creatine?
Creatine is sold as a dietary supplement in the form of a white, odorless and tasteless powder. Originally, however, creatine is an endogenous acid that occurs primarily in the muscle cells. In the body, it is produced in the liver, kidneys and pancreas. Basic building blocks are the three amino acids arginine, glycine and methionine.
Creatine for building muscle
Many athletes expect to gain more effective training and increased performance by taking creatine. So far, however, a performance-enhancing effect has not yet been scientifically proven. It can be assumed that creatine has a positive effect on performance only in combination with targeted training.
Great performance leaps should not be expected by taking creatine. However, especially short, intense loads can be sustained longer. In addition, the performance should be maintained at a high level for repetitive intense stress longer. In the first place benefit strength athletes such as bodybuilders, weightlifter or sprinter.
Many athletes also hope that the intake of creatine causes a faster muscle. This is probably due to water retention in the muscles. Because of its effects, creatine is also used to treat certain conditions, such as muscle disorders and muscular atrophy associated with muscle disorders.
Is creatine doping?
Creatine is not listed as a dietary supplement on the doping list and is therefore not prohibited for top athletes. However, traces of anabolic steroids have been detected in some products. For example, anabolic steroids may mix with creatine if the bottling equipment has not been properly cleaned.
That's why it's important to always look for high quality when you buy creatine products. Anabolic steroids are harmful to our body, and in competitive athletes, they can also lead to a positive doping test.
Take creatine properly
During a creatine regimen, it is important to absorb enough fluid. This not only flushes the powder better into the stomach, but also promotes absorption into the blood and muscles. If you drink too little, creatine can be less effective.
Nowadays, creatine is not only available as a powder, but also in the form of liquids, bars or chewable tablets. Often, however, these products are less effective: In liquids, for example, creatine may lose its effect over time - the breakdown agent creatinine forms. And bars or chewable tablets are usually not taken with enough liquid for creatine to be fully effective.
Ideally, creatine should not be taken before, but after training. If the daily dose is not taken all at once but spread throughout the day, optimal recovery will be ensured. Incidentally, creatine can not only be supplied to the body via dietary supplements, but also via fish such as salmon, herring and cod, as well as beef and pork.
Dosage of creatine
Depending on the provider, different doses are recommended for creatine cures. Initially, a multi-day loading phase takes place, in which larger amounts of creatine are taken in order to completely fill the reservoirs. To avoid side effects, do not take more than five grams during this phase.
In the subsequent maintenance phase, it is advisable to consume only about ten percent of the original amount. After four weeks, it should be just as long a withdrawal phase in which no creatine is taken. This is necessary because the artificial supply reduces the body's own production.
Side effects of creatine
Possible side effects of creatine include bad breath, bloating, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. It can also lead to muscle spasms and water retention in the muscles. These symptoms increase during the loading phase. The water retention can lead to an increase in weight between one and three kilograms. The muscle cramps can usually be counteracted well by the intake of magnesium.
If you get more side effects from taking creatine, you should see a doctor. This also applies if you have a limited kidney function. Because the breakdown product of creatine - creatinine - is excreted by the kidneys. So far, it is not known that the intake of creatine can cause harmful long-term effects.
When buying creatine, it is important to buy a high quality product. Otherwise, there is a risk that the powder contains other ingredients that can have a negative impact on health. Many cheap products contain instead of creatine also larger amounts of the ineffective degradation product creatinine.
To distinguish high quality from low quality creatine is not that easy. Because creatine is a dietary supplement rather than a medical product, it is not subject to strict quality controls.
To offer creatine cheaper, some manufacturers save on the removal of impurities. But that brings dangers, because so can cheap powders harmful substances such as dihydrotriazine, dicyandiamide or mercury are. Such impurities can not be detected by the naked eye, but only by laboratory analysis. It is therefore recommended to buy primarily products that were made in Germany.
Effect of creatine
In order for us to move, our body needs energy. This energy is released in the muscle cells through the cleavage of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) to ADP (adenosine diphosphate) and phosphoric acid. However, the ATP supply in the body is exhausted after only a few seconds. In order to continue to release energy, the body uses in the next step on intense stress in creatine phosphate back.
Creatine phosphate is produced in the liver from creatine and phosphate. It ensures in the muscles that ADP can be transformed back into ATP. Thus, the body again new energy reserves are available. By taking creatine, the concentration of creatine phosphate in the muscle cells can be increased.