In your body you have a compound called ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate). Think of ATP as an energy-containing compound. What is important to know about ATP is that the body can very quickly get energy from an ATP reaction. You have other sources of energy such as fat - but they take longer to convert into a useable energy source. When you are doing an intense quick-burst activity - such as lifting a weight or sprinting- your muscles must contract and need a quick source of energy. This immediate energy comes from ATP.
When your muscles use ATP for energy, a chemical process happens where the ATP is broken down into two simpler compounds: ADP (adenosine di-phosphate) and inorganic phosphate. This process of ATP turning into ADP releases the energy, which gives your muscles the ability to contract. Unfortunately, we do not have an endless supply of ATP. In fact, your muscles only contain enough ATP to last about 10-15 seconds at maximum exertion. In case you were wondering - no, the ADP cannot be used to create more energy for your muscles.
Here is where the creatine comes in - or more specifically the creatine phosphate. Creatine phosphate is able to react with the ADP in your body and turn "useless" ADP back into the "super- useful" energy source - ATP. More ATP in your body means more fuel for your muscles.
Looks like we just made up that word "volumization" doesn't it? Actually, it's just a fancy name for the process of pulling fluid into the muscle cells and thus increasing the volume of the muscles. Creatine has been shown to pull water into your muscle cells, which increases their diameter and, as a result, the size of your muscles.3. Buffers lactic acid build-up
Research has shown that creatine can help buffer lactic acid that builds up in the muscles during exercise. This leads to that nasty burning sensation you get in your muscles. Scientifically it is a complicated process - basically the creatine bonds with a hydrogen ion, and that helps delay the build-up of lactic acid. More research needs to be done to see if this point is true.4. Enhances Protein Synthesis
There is some data to indicate that creatine helps put the body in a more anabolic state where protein synthesis can occur. The more protein synthesis - the greater potential for muscle gain. So, there you have what creatine does in a nutshell. Of all 4 points, point #1 represents the most important function of creatine in the body. Points #3 and 4 are more debated but still look to be valid.
Creatine supplements have been around for a while now and are available in several different formulations, each claiming to be better absorbed than its predecessor. Below is a short summary of some popular types of creatine you’ll find on the market today:
Creatine monohydrate is usually loaded at 20- 30 grams per day, divided into 4 daily doses, for the first 5-7 days. Maintenance doses range from 5-10 grams per day. We would recommend that you lean towards the higher dose if you are over 200 pounds, and if you are less than 200 pounds, lean towards the lower dose. Other forms of creatine have different dosing protocols: 4-6 grams per day for creatine ethyl ester, and 1.5-3 grams per day for Kre-Alkalyn, for instance We recommend taking creatine both before and after a workout: about 1 hour before, to take advantage of creatine’s energy-producing benefits, and immediately after, for maintenance of muscle creatine stores.
Excess creatine is eventually converted into the waste product creatinine and excreted from the body.