What Happens to Your Body On Creatine?
A step-by-step journey inside your body after taking creatine. Learn what happens to your body when you take creatine and find out exactly how to use creatine for muscle growth. Questions like how much creatine you should take, what creatine is best, and what are the side effects of creatine will all be answered in this video.
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Creatine is one of the most popular supplements for building muscle and increasing athletic performance. Research shows that “45 to 75% of athletes like powerlifters, boxers, and weightlifters use creatine (1) So what actually happens to your body when you take creatine? Is it safe long term and what kind of effects can you expect both the good and the bad. Well, today we're going to take a journey inside the body to see exactly what happens after creatine is consumed.
And first, you should know that less than 200 years ago we didn't even know what creatine was. It wasn't until 1832 that it was discovered by a French Scientist (*) that successfully extracted it from beef. It was only then that we started to learn that this molecule is very common and it gets produced by mammals from the amino acids glycine, methionine, and arginine. Specifically, your body primarily produces creatine out of these amino acids in the liver, although it’s also synthesized to a lesser extent in the kidneys and pancreas. Research shows that a 70 kilogram or 155-pound man with an average physique, naturally has about 120 grams of creatine stored in his body without any supplementation. (2) About 90-95% of this creatine is located within his muscle cells, where the creatine can quickly be used to provide benefits for energy production and athletic performance. the other 5 to 10 percent of creatine can be found all over the body in other cells and tissues including the brain.
While your body creates about one to two grams of creatine per day on its own, you can also get more creatine from food or supplements. Especially red meat and fish score high in creatine because like I said 90 to 95 percent of creatine is found in human muscle and this is also true for animal muscle. One pound of beef or salmon provides about one to two grams of creatine and it's estimated that, on average, most people get about half of their daily creatine intake from animal meats. Since vegetarians and vegans don’t eat meat, they often have lower levels of creatine in their bodies. (2.5) This is because even though your body does create about one to two grams of creatine per day, on average, your body also releases about two grams of creatine per day in the form of creatinine. So, if you don’t eat meat products and you don’t supplement with creatine, you're unlikely to become deficient, but you can end up with lower levels of creatine in your muscles and circulatory system, and that will have a negative effect on your athletic performance.
On the other hand, if you take in a surplus of creatine through supplementation or food the most significant impact that it'll have after entering your body will be enhanced energy production. You see muscle contractions require energy, which comes from the breakdown of adenosine triphosphate, also known as ATP. The amount of ATP found within a muscle is generally so low that it’s only enough to generate energy for a fraction of a second'. After it generates that energy it breaks down into ADP which can't be used for energy. At this point, your body will use a phosphate molecule to recycle this bi-product Adp, back into Atp so it can be used for energy again. And that’s exactly where creatine comes into play, most people don't know that creatine is actually turned into creatine phosphate inside the body. Creatine phosphate serves as the phosphate donor for the replenishment of ATP. In other words, creatine provides a buffer against muscle fatigue by assisting with the energy production process.
So the steps are first the creatine is ingested either through food or in a supplement form. The creatine is converted into creatine phosphate and this leads to more creatine phosphate being stored in your muscle tissue. That extra phosphate becomes available for ATP recycling and ultimately leads to muscles being able to produce more energy for longer with less fatigue. It's thanks to this mechanism that creatine is so highly effective at increasing athletic performance and power output.
In fact, in a large meta-analysis that included 22 studies on creatine (4) researchers found that it was able to significantly increase lifting performance. (6) The results showed that the average increase in weight lifting performance was 14 percent higher in the creatine group than in the placebo group. Other studies on creatine supplementation in relation to athletic performance, also demonstrated impressive results. (7) With short-term creatine supplementation leads to improved maximal power, strength...