Pin It

What does creatine do?

Post image for What does creatine do?

by Yuan

So what does creatine do? Let’s talk about the physical performance and cognitive enhancing aspects.

Creatine has to do with a little molecule called ATP. Your muscles stores a little bit of this stuff and burns it for fuel during strenuous activity…like when you’re lifting heavy weights or sprinting.

When you take creatine, you can increase the amount of ATP stored in your muscles (technically, it assists your muscles in turning ADP to ATP). Extra ATP in your muscle can give you a little boost in strength and endurance. In the gym, this translates into a few extra reps or even a bigger 1 rep max.

Sounds awesome right? That’s because it is…for some. Unfortunately, this performance boost doesn’t work the same for everyone.

There are 3 levels of response that people experience (according to this study):

  1. Works awesome
  2. Kinda works
  3. Doesn’t work at all (non-responders)

It also seems that the effect isn’t as noticeable for newbies. So if you want to give it a shot, don’t buy the biggest tub you can find to get the better cost per serving. Start with a little bottle to see if it even works for you.

What else does creatine do?

Even if you’re a non-responder, you can still benefit from creatine. It can give you a cognitive boost.

Vegetarians tend to lack creatine in their diet because it’s mostly found in meat and fish. Studies (here and here) have shown that vegetarians taking creatine as a supplement get a boost in their cognitive function. Just 5 grams a day created a very noticeable boost.

Even if you’re not a vegetarian, you can still benefit. Most people won’t be getting 5 grams a day since you get 4-5 g of creatine from 1 kg of uncooked meat (most rich in pork, barely any in chicken).

What kind of creatine to buy

Just get some simple creatine monohydrate, it’s cheaper AND proven to work. The rest are just hype in my humble opinion (a baseless marketing spiel).

To my knowledge, all the peer reviewed studies showing good results have been conducted using creatine monohydrate. There have been ‘studies’ done on the other forms, but upon careful examination…they don’t hold up well.

Once you’ve experienced the effect of creatine monohydrate (or lack of effect depending on your response level), you can experiment with the other creatine forms to see for yourself.

Make sure the creatine you are buying is ‘100% Creapure’. This stuff is 100% creatine monohydrate made in Germany, with no useless fillers.

You don’t need to get the pre-mixed kind that’s loaded with sugar. There is a myth that you need to take creatine with sugar or grape juice for your body to absorb it. This is incorrect.

Creatine and sugar (or grape juice)

One of the most well known and most cited studies was done by Harris and Co. back in 1992. In this original study, creatine was just mixed with water and they had no problems with absorption.

The total creatine content of the quadriceps femoris muscle was measured in 17 subjects and they found a significant increase after supplementation. So we know that saturation in the muscles can be achieved without insulin spikes just fine.

There are arguments made for spiking your insulin with creatine consumption for better absorption and this can work theoretically.

However, the extent of its effectiveness is unknown. Is it worth doing it even? There has never been a study comparing insulin spiked creatine consumption vs non-insulin spiked creatine consumption. The difference could be negligible over the short term and long term. Any argument on this subject is just speculation at this point.

So it’s up to you, but I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to spike your insulin just to take creatine. Having some with your post-workout whey is just fine.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: