Creatine, the most affordable and widely researched dietary supplement in the world, is the #1 most popular supplement used by people trying to gain muscle size. Creatine monohydrate, the most basic and inexpensive form of creatine, has been shown to be just as effective and sometimes more so than other more expensive formulas. Creatine can help enhance protein synthesis, which in turn helps muscles grow as it will typically add 2 to 3 pounds to your frame. Many studies have been completed on creatine over the last 80 years, however mainstream use of the supplement has only gained popularity in the past ten years. According to survey data, over 40% of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) athletes reported that they have used creatine in some form during their training.
Creatine is naturally produced by the liver and kidneys using the amino acids arginine, glycine, and methionine. It can also be found in small amounts in animal foods most notably red meat; however, in order to ingest the recommended amount of 5 grams of a day, you would need to take in almost 3 pounds of meat every day!!! This is obviously extremely difficult if not impossible, therefore most choose to supplement.
How Much Creatine Monohydrate Should I Take?
Depending on body weight, you should take 3 to 5 grams of creatine daily keeping in mind that it will be at least three weeks before any true changes are noticeable. This is because creatine monohydrate does not have an acute response, meaning taking this dietary supplement will not cause an immediate physical reaction. Studies have shown, it has minimal to no effect immediately upon indigestion therefore it does not matter if it’s taken before or after a workout if you take it on a consistent basis however, there are some who would disagree. Some athletes and lifters would argue that creatine works best for them when taken within 30 minutes after a workout because it will be better absorbed by the muscles when they are fatigued. There is no one size fits all, I recommend you try different regimes and do what is best for you.
How Does Creatine Monohydrate Effect the Body?
Creatine works by taking water and pushing it into your muscle cells so it is important to drink plenty of water when taking it to see maximum results. Your body must reach the appropriate level of saturation as creatine is stored in the muscles and must build up and be slowly released over time. There are some who believe that you must “load up”, meaning that you ought to consume large amounts of creatine in the firsts few days to weeks and then reduce intake thereafter. Some professionals advise against this as over consumption can cause gastrointestinal problems and is not absorbed by the intestines. Again, there are many lifters and athletes who believe that “load
ing” is beneficial in reaching muscle saturation quicker and more efficiently. This is another instance where you need to decide what is best for you and your body through trial and error.
Despite there being differing opinions on the timing and dosage amount of this supplement, there is little debate over the efficacy of creatine monohydrate. From decades of research there are several well proven benefits including: greater increases in lean body mass, increased work capacity and improved training, and increased muscle levels of creatine. Any healthy physically active male or female could reap great benefits by adding this supplement to their regime.
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