What is creatine? Is it safe? Most pressingly, does creatine work?
Creatine, by far, is one of the most widely used and studied supplements in the health and fitness world. Even with all this notoriety, however, creatine is still fairly misunderstood.
So to help with this, let's consider the basics: What is creatine? Is it safe? Most pressingly, does creatine work?
What Is It?
Simply put, creatine is a naturally occurring substance that is produced in the body and found in many foods, including meat, eggs and fish.
But why is it there? What does it do?
That's actually a pretty complex question to answer. Primarily, creatine plays a key role in your body's energy production system by providing high-energy phosphate molecules in its alternate form of phosphocreatine.
To fully understand the importance of this, we need to revisit high school biology. As you may - or may not – remember, the primary fuel for everything that happens in your body is called adenosinetriphosphate (ATP).
As the intimidating name suggests, ATP contains three (tri) phosphates. When it's processed, however, ATP loses one of those phosphates and just becomes ADP. To be useful again, it needs to reclaim a phosphate molecule.
In addition, your body cannot store large amounts of ATP but must, instead, store ADP. When it's time for action, then, phosphates have to come from somewhere. Creatine is that somewhere.
By means of this process, creatine plays a key role in athletic performance, as well as the health of your brain, liver and bones.
But just because creatine performs these incredibly useful functions in the body, doesn't necessarily mean that there's any benefit from supplementation. So, we come down to the big question: Does it work?
It All Depends
As with many supplements, the answer to this question depends on what you're expecting creatine to do. Often, there are misconception that led to disappointment when people first start taking creatine.
First, then, let's talk about what it absolutely does not do.
Creatine has no acute effects. This means that, not matter how many scoops you load into your preworkout ritual, you likely won't see any benefits on that first workout. Or the second. Or third. Or even for that first week.
Creatine supplementation is all about saturation – meaning that you must take creatine regularly for a stretch of time, allowing it to build up in your system before you will notice any effects. Generally, this takes about two weeks but this can vary wildly from person to person.
Once you're past that, though, what can you expect?
In numerous studies, creatine supplementation has been shown to improve endurance and power output in a variety of activities. In fact, creatine is one of the few so-called ergogenic supplements that is actually proven to work.
When you increase the concentration of creatine in your muscles during intense workouts, it lowers the accumulation of lactate and levels of ammonia, both of which can prevent you from reaching peak performance.
As a result, supplementing with creatine can help you recover quicker and benefit you when performing high-intensity workouts like sprinting or lifting heavy weights.
Is It Safe?
Despite claims to the contrary, creatine is not a steroid. In fact, creatine is considered safe for most otherwise healthy individuals and is even used in the treatment of conditions that are associated with muscle loss and atrophy
So yes, creatine works and is remarkably safe.
Naked Nutrition is proud to offer a creatine powder that meets our high standards and is one of the fastest and best dissolving creatine powders on the market.