Next in our series of 'How To' videos is our take on how you can go about maximising your results with Creatine supplements. Enjoy.
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.
There are numerous forms of Creatine on the market including Creatine Ethyl Ester HCL, Micronised Creatine, Tricreatine Citrate, Magnesium Creatine and Creatine Monohydrate to name a few, but the two most popular forms by far are Ethyl Ester and Monohydrate!
So what’s the difference?
Further research is needed on Creatine ethyl ester but the theory is that ethyl ester increases the bio-availability of Creatine. Esterification is a process commonly used in the pharmaceutical industry to increase the bio-availability of drugs, but it is unclear whether this process works for Creatine too.
Creatine Monohydrate is widely regarded as the most effective Creatine on the market. Unlike ethyl ester, it is stable in acidic conditions, such as those in the stomach meaning more of it can be used by the body. Other than pure 100% Creatine which isn’t sold on its own, Monohydrate is the purest form of Creatine on the market and consequently, is the most readily absorbed by the body! Consider also Micronised Creatine from brands such as PhD, Optimum Health and Optimum Nutrition. Micronised Creatine is 20x finer than regular monohydrate meaning it digests quicker, absorbs better, and is generally the most pure form of Creatine due to the extra purification steps and processing it undergoes.
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.
How to take Creatine
The quickest way of increasing creatine stores in muscle is to consume approx 0.2 grams of creatine monohydrate per kg of bodyweight for the first 3-4 days. This is known as the loading phase to help achieve tissue saturation.
Then consume approx 0.05g per kg bw (3-5 grams for an avg 80kg male) a day in order to maintain muscle creatine stores (known as the maintenance phase).
After 4 weeks, be sure to observe a flush out phase whereby you stop taking creatine and consume 35ml/kg bw of water or other fluids for a minimum of 3 weeks to flush your kidneys of the Creatine solute.
The only recognised side effect of creatine is weight gain in the form of muscle size and mass. This means creatine is a safe, effective and affordable supplement to support muscle development, power, concentration and performance enhancement.
Consume a minimum of 35ml of fluid per kg bodyweight (approx 10-12 200ml cups of fluid) to ensure you don’t become dehydrated!
Bergstrom, J. & Hultman, E. (1966). Muscle glycogen synthesis after exercise: an enhancing factor localised to the muscle cells in man. Nature. 210: 309-310.
Greenwood, M., Kalman, D, S., & Antonio, J. (2008). Nutritional Supplements in Sports and Exercise. Creatine. NJ: Humana Press.
Sestilli, P., Martinelli, C., Bravi, G., Picolli, G., Curci, R., et al. (2006). Creatine supplementation affords cytoprotection in oxidatively injured cultured mammalian cells via direct antioxidant activity. Free Radical Biology and Medicine. 40: 837-849.
Wyss, M. & Schulze, A. (2002). Health implications of creatine: can oral creatine supplementation protect against neurological and atherosclerotic disease? Neuroscience. 112: 243-260.