Everything You Need To Know About Creatine
This page is a collection of everything you need to know about creatine. Creatine is a prominently used substance, and for good reason.
This page explores what creatine is, how creatine supplements work, and which products to use, and answers many questions you may have.
Every week this page is updated and added to. It is an expanding creatine encyclopedia.
I hope to answer as many of your questions as possible and clear up any misconceptions you may have about creatine.
Feel free to skip around using the table of contents to answer your inquiries.
Everything You Need To Know About Creatine: Introduction
To begin, let’s address the basics of creatine. What creatine is, what it does, and where it comes from.
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is a compound naturally produced by humans. The liver, kidneys, and pancreas produce small amounts of creatine.
95 percent of creatine resides within skeletal muscles. The other 5 percent is in the brain, heart, and other areas.
Creatine is primarily comprised of three amino acids: arginine, glycine, and methionine.
The Functions of Creatine
The primary function of creatine is to help synthesize ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP activates the chemical reaction, which gives your muscles the energy required to perform a movement.
Increased creatine stores within the skeletal muscles allow for increased ATP production, therefore, more muscular capacity.
Recent research indicates that creatine may have functions beyond muscular performance. The ‘other’ 5 percent of creatine that is not in the muscle may have benefits such as neuroprotection.
As more studies are published, more is to be discovered about the new properties of creatine.
Where Does Creatine Come From?
As stated previously, creatine production occurs in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas (albeit in relatively small amounts).
Although creatine is a non-essential nutrient, to get adequate creatine intake, humans (especially athletes) rely on getting creatine from dietary sources.
Foods that contain creatine are primarily meats and fish. For optimal athletic performance, creatine supplementation is needed to meet intake needs.
The average serving of creatine supplements contains 5 grams. Getting that amount via non-supplemental means is unlikely.
Foods That Contain Creatine (Creatine per 100g)
Everything You Need To Know About Creatine: Muscle Building
One of the most common purposes for creatine supplementation is the gain strength and/or build muscle.
Let’s inspect what role creatine can play in accomplishing your weightlifting goals.
How Does Creatine Help Build Muscle?
Muscle is built by creating micro-tears in muscle fibers via weight lifting.
After the muscle fibers have micro-tears, your body uses nutrients (i.e., protein) to repair them slightly bigger and slightly stronger than before.
Of course, there are numerous other factors that affect muscle growth. For now, let us just consider how creatine can aid the process.
Taking a creatine supplement increases creatine stores. Since creatine aids ATP production, more creatine leads to more ATP. This property of creatine means that creatine supplements increase muscular capacity and endurance.
When lifting weights, progressive overload and training to failure are integral principles. Creatine helps with both. If you are able to perform 7-8 reps with x amount of weight, taking creatine may allow your muscles to handle 10-12 reps with that same weight.
Not to mention, creatine also improves muscle recovery. So, not only are you building muscle more effectively during your workouts, but you are also recovering more quickly from your workouts.
How Much Creatine To Gain Muscle?
The standard creatine dosage for weightlifters and athletes alike is 5 grams daily.
Some people believe that a loading phase is necessary to saturate the muscles with creatine. However, taking creatine in high doses (such as in a loading phase) increases the risk of diarrhea.
If you do engage in a creatine-loading phase, ensure you are drinking plenty of water to avoid any acute-adverse side effects.
I believe that 5 grams is the appropriate creatine dosage and is sufficient for loading phases and non-loading phases.
When Should I Get My Creatine In?
When you take your creatine is not of the utmost importance. Factors such as your dosage consistency and what you take creatine with are more important.
That being said, there are a couple of aspects to consider.
First, avoid taking creatine on an empty stomach. Taking creatine on an empty stomach may cause adverse side effects such as stomach pain, nausea, and less effective creatine absorption.
Second, avoid taking creatine right before bed. Taking creatine before bed will activate the digestive system and worsen the quality of your sleep. Like taking creatine on an empty stomach, taking creatine right before bed may upset your stomach.
Lastly, studies show evidence that taking creatine before a workout is optimal. Research is promising although more research is needed to confirm the claim.
What Should I Take Creatine With?
When taking creatine, it is crucial to maintain adequate hydration. Creatine supplements have the potential to put a strain on your excretory system.
To avoid adverse effects and to help your body properly digest creatine drink plenty of water. Drinking more than enough water should be a top priority when taking a creatine supplement.
Also, creatine is absorbed most effectively alongside carbohydrates and/or protein. For this reason, I recommend taking creatine with juice or a quick snack.
The Benefits of Creatine
Over the past three decades, thousands of studies have found convincing evidence that creatine possesses tremendous athletic benefits.
Most notably, creatine has a powerful effect on muscular capacity and post-workout recovery. However, the benefits do not end there.
Creatine improves anaerobic stamina and possesses neuroprotective properties as well. Emerging studies are finding that creatine may help defend against concussions and reduce the risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
More studies continue to be published, which reveal new and exciting creatine benefits.
Is Taking Creatine Necessary?
No. Taking creatine is not necessary to achieve your goals.
However, for athletes and weightlifters, I would strongly consider it.
Creatine is a well-researched supplement that offers tremendous benefits. Studies show that for the average healthy adult, creatine supplementation possesses no adverse health risks.
Creatine can help you reach your potential more effectively, optimally, and safely.
Everything You Need To Know About Creatine: Health Implications
Is Creatine Harmful?
Of all the dietary supplements in the world, creatine is the most well-researched.
Thousands of studies have looked into the positive and negative effects that the supplement has on people.
What these studies have found is that both long-term and short-term creatine supplementation poses no adverse health risks to the average healthy adult.
That being said, everyone is different and has unique medical circumstances. For instance, creatine has worsened inflammation in individuals with asthma.
To avoid any adverse health effects, it is highly recommended that you consult with your doctor before starting any new supplement.
How Much Creatine Is Healthy?
A typical creatine dose is 5 grams daily. Some individuals partake in a loading phase for the first week or two of taking creatine.
A typical loading phase entails 10-25 grams of creatine daily. The idea of the loading phase is to saturate the muscles with creatine.
However, some studies suggest that creatine supplementation of more than 10 grams daily increases the risk of diarrhea and may cause stomach pain.
It is crucial that if you participate in a loading phase, you maintain adequate hydration throughout.
In my opinion, 5 grams of creatine daily is plenty and there is not a definite need for a loading phase.
How Does Creatine Affect Digestion?
Pertaining to creatin’s effect on digestion, the only evidence that exists is that creatine dosage exceeding 10 grams may increase the risk of diarrhea.
Less than 5 grams of creatine daily is proven to have no significant effect on the GI tract and therefore does not increase bowel movements.
Additionally, taking creatine on an empty stomach or taking creatine before bed may cause stomach discomfort.
Is Creatine Linked To Causation of Chronic Diseases?
Based on the research and evidence that exists, creatine does not increase the risk of any chronic diseases.
However, studies following long-term creatine supplementation and its effects on chronic disease are not plentiful.
More studies are necessary to state with total confidence that there is no link between long-term creatine supplementation and the causation of chronic disease.
However, based on existing research, there is no reason to believe that creatine has disease-causing implications.
Everything You Need To Know About Creatine: FAQs/Related Content
Is Creatine Safe For Teens?
Experts believe that creatine should affect adolescents similarly to the way it affects adults.
However, directly applying literature discussing creatine’s effects on adults to teenagers would be dangerous and irresponsible.
More research is needed on this matter to be sure that creatine is safe for teens.
All things considered, creatine is more than likely safe for adolescents.
To learn more, click here.
Is Creatine Better In Pills or Capsules?
Powder for most people.
The only reason that I would say creatine powder is better than pills for most people is that it tends to be less expensive.
Although, if other factors such as flavor, convenience, etc. are more important to you, the answer may be different. Maybe creatine gummies are right for you.
To answer this question, click here.
Does Creatine Cause Gyno?
Research shows no link between creatine supplementation and enlarged breast tissue in boys/men.
Learn more about how creatine affects hormones here.
Can You Dry Scoop Creatine?
Yes, but it is not recommended.
Creatine is best absorbed when taken with something else. Not to mention, dry-scooping creatine is a choking hazard.
Learn more here.
Can You Take Creatine Before Bed?
Technically, yes but you might not want to.
Taking creatine before bed may cause stomach discomfort. It also activates your digestive system and will worsen your quality of sleep.
Learn more here.
Can Creatine Make You Taller?
Some studies show evidence that creatine supplementation increases HGH (human growth hormone) levels.
To learn more about this question, click here.
Does Creatine Make You Fart?
Studies confirm that a creatine dosage of fewer than 5 grams daily has no effect on the GI tract.
Learn more about how creatine affects digestion here.
Can You Take Creatine On A Plane?
However, if your powder container exceeds 12 oz or 350 mL it will need to be placed into a separate bin during the x-ray process.
To learn more about the TSA regulations regarding powder containers, click here.
Can You Take Creatine On An Empty Stomach?
It is not advised.
Taking creatine on an empty stomach can lead to stomach discomfort or nausea. Also, creatine is absorbed more effectively when taken alongside carbs or protein.
Learn more about this question here.
Does Creatine Cause Bloating?
Creatine most likely will cause rapid weight gain. However, the added weight is from increased water retention within the muscles.
To learn more about creatine ‘water weight,’ click here.
Can Creatine Expire?
Creatine containers have expiration dates on them. However, creatine pills and powder can last 1-2 years beyond their expiration date.
To learn more about this question, click here.
Does Creatine Make You Poop?
Since creatine does not affect the GI tract, it does not increase bowel movement. Although, higher doses (exceeding 5 grams daily) may increase the risk of diarrhea.
Learn more about this question here.
Does Creatine Break A Fast?
By itself, creatine contains 0 calories. Therefore dry-scooping creatine or taking it alongside water does not break a fast.
Many forms of creatine do contain calories, however, and therefore would break a fast.
To learn more, click here.
Everything You Need To Know About Creatine: Videos
Everything You Need To Know About Creatine: Recommended Products
Azeil Supplements Review
Azeil Supplements offers a unique creatine gummy. If you are someone who does not like pills or the hassle of creatine powders you may want to give Azeil Supps a try.
16 Highest Quality Creatine Supplements
All creatine essentially works the exact same. However, what makes some brands stand out amongst the others is cost, flavor, quality, and other minor factors.
Bodytech 100 Pure Creatine Monohydrate Review
Bodytech 100 Pure is a high-quality, reasonably priced creatine supplement.
This product has received overwhelmingly positive product reviews and is regarded as a top-tier supplement.
- National Library of Medicine – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6279854/
- My Protein – https://us.myprotein.com/thezone/supplements/creatine-pills-vs-powder-which-better/
- Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children – https://www.arnoldpalmerhospital.com/content-hub/should-i-let-my-teen-use-creatine
- Off-Season Athlete – https://offseasonathlete.com/benefits-of-creatine-for-teen-athletes/
- American Academy of Pediatrics – https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article-abstract/108/2/421/63924/Creatine-Use-Among-Young-Athletes?
- USADA – https://www.usada.org/spirit-of-sport/education/athletes-need-know-creatine/
- Mayo Clinic – https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-creatine/art-20347591#:~:text=Creatine
- National Library of Medicine – https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Creatine