When Should You Take Creatine? That and More...
Content you'll find:
1. What is creatine?
2. What is the role of creatine in the body?
3. Creatine Monohydrate Benefits
4. Who should consider supplementing with Creatine?
5. How much creatine should you take?
6. When should creatine be taken?
7. Are there any risks of taking creatine?
Creatine supplementation is very popular among athlete populations in particular and is one of the most sought after supplements on the Kinetica website. However, many people do not fully understand the mechanism behind creatine supplementation within the body and how it may benefit an individual. In this article we discuss the evidence behind Kinetica’s creatine, what it is, how it works, who should consider supplementing with it and much, much more!
What is creatine?
Creatine is a naturally occurring compound made of the amino acids glycine, methionine and arginine (1,2). which is found in the human body, primarily in the muscle (95%) but some is also present in the brain (5%) and testes (1). Each day, the body actually makes around 1g of creatine naturally. We can also consume creatine from some food sources such as red meat and some seafoods. You can read our detailed blog outlining what is creatine and who should use it.
What is the role of creatine in the body?
When we exercise, we use energy. This energy is generated by using a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Depending on the type of exercise we are doing (eg; low, medium or high intensity), we will use different energy systems. When we participate in short, rapid bursts of exercise lasting 0-10 seconds (think of very heavy lifts in the gym, jumping or sprinting), we use a specific energy-generation system in the body called the ATP-phosphagen system (1,3).
During this type of exercise, the body needs to recreate energy quickly. During exercise, ATP loses a phosphate group and becomes ADP (adenosine diphosphate). The body only has enough stored ATP to provide energy to the muscles for a few seconds and therefore, must find another phosphate group to recreate more ATP quickly. Energy regeneration within muscles happens by using ‘phosphocreatine’ – a molecule which kindly donates its phosphate group to recreate more ATP. Therefore, if there is more creatine available (through supplementation) within the muscle, more energy can be potentially regenerated.
Creatine Monohydrate benefits
Creatine monohydrate is one of type creatine which has the most scientific evidence to support its efficacy. As creatine is primarily involved in the energy system mentioned above, most performance benefits are seen in short-duration, high-intensity activities and sports which involve these. Creatine supplementation enhances your exercise capacity and therefore, training adaptations. Increased energy availability allows an athlete to work harder, which may lead to improvements in exercise performance (1).
Creatine supplementation has been shown to improve strength, muscle mass, single sprint and repetitive sprint performance, performance during maximal lifts, anaerobic threshold and aerobic capacity. Research has also shown that supplementation with creatine monohydrate may reduce risk of injury, improve rehabilitation if injured and enhance recovery from exercise (1, 3). Interestingly, supplementation with creatine has also been shown to improve tolerance to exercise in the heat (1).
When considering which creatine supplement to purchase, it’s important to choose an option that is quality driven. Kinetica uses industry renowned Creapure® Creatine Monohydrate in the 100% Creatine product plus it’s WADA batch tested and Informed Sport approved so athletes and active individuals can rest assured it is at the optimum standard to deliver on both health and performance goals.
Who should consider supplementing with creatine?
Those who may benefit from creatine supplementation include those involved in:
- Team sports like football, GAA, rugby or basketball
- Olympic weight-lifting
- Combat sports
- Short-duration swim events
- Track/field events
- Rowing and similar water sports
Similarly, if you are someone who wishes to increase lean body mass or improve strength, creatine supplementation can help with this.
How much creatine should you take?
The recommended dosage of creatine is 3-5g per day (1 scoop of Kinetica Creatine Monohydrate powder is 3.4g) for most individuals in order to maintain their creatine stores. If you have not taken creatine before, a loading phase may be helpful to saturate creatine stores more quickly. To do this, consumption of 0.3g of creatine per kg bodyweight per day for 5-7 days is recommended (this is the ‘loading phase’). Some people find it helpful to spread this loading phase of creatine across the day. For example, if a 70kg person is doing a loading phase and needs 21g of creatine per day to achieve this (0.3g x 70kg = 21g per day), they may choose to consume 4 x 5g servings of creatine across the day for 5-7 days. After the loading phase, a person can continue to consume 3-5g of creatine per day. If someone prefers to avoid the loading phase, they may simply begin to consume 3-5g of creatine per day. In doing this, creatine stores will still become saturated with creatine, however, it will take longer than the loading phase (1, 2).
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When should creatine be taken?
Creatine can be consumed at a time that suits you best. The main consideration with creatine is to take it consistently – ie; every day. Evidence suggests that consuming creatine with carbohydrate or carbohydrate and protein together may increase the uptake of creatine although this does not appear to have any significant effect on the performance benefits of creatine (1, 2).
Are there any risks of taking creatine?
The International Society for Sports Nutritionists current position stand on the safety and efficacy creatine supplementation in exercise, sport and medicine currently states that ‘there is no compelling scientific evidence that the short- or long-term use of creatine monohydrate (up to 30 g/day for 5 years) has any detrimental effects on otherwise healthy individuals or among clinical populations who may benefit from creatine supplementation’. (1)
Some users will experience weight gain, particularly at the beginning of using creatine supplement. However, this is mainly due to the water retention which occurs as creatine draws water into the muscle (1). Others have reported bloating (particularly during a loading phase) when creatine is consumed and if this is experienced, consuming creatine in smaller doses throughout the day and not on an empty stomach, may be helpful to alleviate such discomforts.
Note: some people (approximately 25%) who use a creatine supplement are ‘non-responders’ which means that they do not experience the benefits of creatine supplementation listed above. This is because they have baseline creatine stored within the body before supplementation or have more type 2 muscle fibres (4,5).
1. Creatine monohydrate is a very well researched sports nutrition supplement which has been shown to enhance sports performance and increase strength and lean body mass in those participating in high-intensity activities and sports. That is why it is so popular - it can really make a difference to sports performance!
2. Creatine is both safe to consume AND may enhance recovery from exercise and rehabilitation from injury.
3. 3-5g of creatine per day is sufficient for most individuals to elicit performance benefits and if taken consistently, can be an effective ergogenic aid.
4. A loading phase (~20g of creatine per day) when beginning creatine supplementation may be helpful to saturated body stores more quickly. After this, a maintenance phase of 3-5g of creatine per day is recommended.
5. It is important to note that some individuals may not experience the sports performance benefits of creatine supplementation (‘non-responders’).
6. Creatine can be consumed at any time of the day - the most important factor when it comes to creatine supplementation is consistency. Why not try adding it to your post-training smoothie this week? Build a habit of taking creatine daily by adding it into your routine!
Kinetica’s Creatine product is tested to comply with WADA exacting standards under the Informed Sport regime so you can be confident that it is a safe and effective choice.
You can purchase Kinetica’s Creatine right now by clicking here! It goes really well with Kinetica’s Oatgain, Whey or High Protein Ready-to-drink shakes - a perfect mix to kick-start the recovery process after a tough training session!
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About the author.
Emma is a Sports & Exercise Nutritionist (ANutr, SENr) with a specific background in performance nutrition. Emma has worked with numerous sports teams, coaches and athletes, providing them with the education, tools and support that they need to reach their potential. At present, Emma works with daveynutrition, run by Daniel Davey and as the Academy Performance Nutritionist with Connacht Rugby.
- Kreider, R.B., Kalman, D.S., Antonio, J., Ziegenfuss, T.N., Wildman, R., Collins, R., Candow, D.G., Kleiner, S.M., Almada, A.L. and Lopez, H.L., 2017. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 14(1), p.18.
- EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA), 2016. Creatine in combination with resistance training and improvement in muscle strength: evaluation of a health claim pursuant to Article 13 (5) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. EFSA Journal, 14(2), p.4400
- Burke, D.G., Candow, D.G., Chilibeck, P.D., MacNeil, L.G., Roy, B.D., Tarnopolsky, M.A. and Ziegenfuss, T., 2008. Effect of creatine supplementation and resistance-exercise training on muscle insulin-like growth factor in young adults. International Journal of Sport Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism, 18(4).
- Syrotuik, D.G. and Bell, G.J., 2004. Acute creatine monohydrate supplementation: a descriptive physiological profile of responders vs. nonresponders. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 18(3), pp.610-617.
- Greenhaff, P.L., Bodin, K., Soderlund, K. and Hultman, E., 1994. Effect of oral creatine supplementation on skeletal muscle phosphocreatine resynthesis. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology And Metabolism, 266(5), pp.E725-E730.