What is Creatine?

Creatine is not a mineral, vitamin, or hormone. Creatine is a natural nutrient found in our bodies and the bodies of most animals. The chemical name for creatine is methyl guanidine-acetic acid. Creatine is made up of three amino acids - arginine, glycine, and methionine. Our liver has the ability to combine these three amino acids and synthesize creatine. We also get creatine from our diet (i.e. animal sources like beef, salmon, tuna, etc.) or through supplements. Approximately 95% of the body's stored creatine is found in skeletal muscle. The remaining 5% is scattered through the body, with the highest concentrations in the heart, brain, and testes. Iron Muscle Supplements gives you below various creatine supplements to help to achieve your bodybuilding goals.

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What does creatine do?

1. Provides additional energy for your muscles

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.

2. Volumizes muscle cells

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.

Types of Creatine

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- The first widely-used form of creatine on the market, and still one of the most popular. Creatine monohydrate is basically creatine attached to water - about 88% creatine, 12% water- so for every gram of creatine monohydrate powder taken, 880 mg is creatine. Most studies showing the ergogenic benefits of creatine have used creatine monohydrate as the source.
  • Creatine phosphate- In order to use creatine as a rapid energy source, it needs to be bound to phosphate, hence the appeal of selling creatine in phosphate form. However, no current studies have shown it to be superior to to monohydrate. Creatine phosphate consists of 62.3% creatine and 37.7% phosphate.
  • Creatine pyruvate- Creatine pyruvate consists of 60% creatine and 40% pyruvate. This form of creatine was created because pyruvate has been shown to reduce fatigue. There has been at least one study showing increased bioavailability of creatine pyruvate, but it has yet to gain wide acceptance among creatine users.
  • Creatine citrate- This form, usually containing 50-60% creatine, was initially popular because of its increased solubility and its ability to reduce fatigue. Again, no studies have shown it to be more effective than creatine monohydrate.
  • Creatine esters (i.e. CEE)- These are supplements in which creatine is attached to either ethanol or methanol. Pharmaceutical companies often attach certain drugs to alcohols in order to increase bioavailability. A recent study comparing the popular creatine ethyl ester to creatine monohydrate found that both resulted in similar improvements. Creatine ethyl ester consists of 82.4% creatine.
  • Creatine hydrochloride (Creatine HCI)- Highly-concentrated Creatine HCI hit the market just a few years ago, in 2009. It was shown in one study to be up to 59 times more soluble in water than creatine monohydrate.
  • Buffered creatine (trademarked as Kre-Alkalyn)- This form is claimed to enhance the effects of creatine through greater creatine retention at lower doses. Studies have found little difference in muscle creatine content and training results between the two, however.

When and How Much Creatine Should I Take?

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.

Creatine Products

What happens to creatine that is not used by the body?

Excess creatine is eventually converted into the waste product creatinine and excreted from the body.

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Iron Muscle Supplements is your one-stop shop for high-quality supplements. We have a great variety of brands and products, from muscle builders and prohormone alternatives to ephedra-based items. We help fitness enthusiasts, bodybuilders, and other athletes all over the world get the physique they want.