1a.) Creatine has been one of the most popular sport supplements for more than a decade. It has been the subject of more research than any other supplement on the market...even protein. It has no side effects if taken sensibly and is completely safe as a nutritional supplement.
1b.) HOWEVER, do consider these other factors.....
2.) Creatine is a solute (substance dissolved in fluid) when it enters the body, therefore it needs to be taken along side an adequate amount of fluid, e.g. 35ml per kg bodyweight is ideal.
3.) Inadequate fluid intake could result in dehydration, a rise in blood pressure, kidney strain and reduced cognitive function.
4.) Consider your ingestion of creatine through natural sources such as meat or fish. Creatine is a nitrogenous organic compound, meaning nitrogenous waste (via creatine’s breakdown) has to be excreted via the kidneys. So if you choose to follow a creatine supplement regimen, try not to consume more than 1-2 portions of red meat, and 3-5 portions of poultry a week in order to avoid undue strain on your kidneys.
5.) Creatine is also synthesised endogenously (within the body) in the kidney, and is made via the amino acids glycine, arginine and methionine. Therefore if you do not like the taste, texture or general idea of consuming creatine, then why not try one of the aforementioned amino acids to boost creatine synthesis endogenously.
6.) Consume creatine alongside a protein supplement to maximise its effects. Protein is the main building block of skeletal muscle, meaning creatine’s anabolic (growth) properties are minimised if protein levels are inadequate. Greenwood, Kalman and Antonio, (2008) state that muscle anabolism is significantly increased if creatine is consumed in conjunction with whey protein.
7.) Consider the type of creatine you are consuming, creatine comes in the form of:
- Pure Creatine
- Creatine Monohydrate
- Creatine Ethyl Ester HCL
- Tricreatine Citrate
- Creatine Pyruvate
- Magnesium Creatine
- Creatine Citrate
8.) Creatine monohydrate is the purest (other than 100% pure creatine) form of creatine available and is the most readily absorbed form.
9.) To maximise the absorption of creatine, try consuming it with a quick release (high glycaemic index sugar). This induces an insulin surge, which is an anabolic (growth) hormone meaning you significantly increase muscle hypertrophy if you consume quick release carbohydrates such as fresh fruit juice, dextrose or maltadextrin with both your creatine and protein shake.
10.) The quickest way of increasing creatine stores in muscle is to consume approx 0.3 grams of creatine monohydrate per kg of bodyweight for the first 3 days (loading phase to achieve tissue saturation). Then consume 3-5 grams a day in order to maintain the muscle creatine stores (maintenance phase).