Amino acid and creatine guide
Amino acids and creatine are two different types of nutrients that play important roles in the body.
When we talk about building muscle mass and especially for beginners, the best choice of supplements comes down to protein and creatine. However these two items are also so different, both in terms of building muscle mass and in the way they are built worked and used.
What is creatine?
Creatine is a naturally occurring substance that is found primarily in muscle tissue. It is involved in the production of ATP, which is the primary energy source for muscle contractions.
It is produced mainly in the kidneys, liver and pancreas, and consists of three amino acids: arginine, glycine, and methionine and is responsible for increasing ATP (adenosine triphosphate) levels.
ATP is the nucleotide responsible for the transfer and storage of energy in cells, which includes both muscle and skeletal muscle fibers. ATP is also known as chemical energy. During physical activity, our muscles wear out ATP reserves, and replenishing them through creatine results in better endurance and greater strength.
In short, creatine is a supplement whose use we want to increase strength and endurance in training and as such, it has proven to be very effective in the vast majority of people. By increasing ATP levels, creatine makes it possible for better physical performance through increased muscle strength and volume.
In food, it is found in foods rich in proteins, and it is most abundant in red meat – especially beef, lamb, and pork. It is also present in fish meat and chicken but in much smaller amounts’ quantities. For example, in pork, there is an average of 0.7 grams of creatine per 100 grams of meat, while in chicken the chest has only 0.4 grams. As a supplement, it is produced in the laboratory synthetically.
The action of creatine
At the very start of some more difficult physical activities (sprinting, heavy series of squats, bench, rowing…), the body as the energy source uses what is first available to it, which is creatine phosphate. Creatine is stored in the muscles in the form of creatine phosphate and its main role is the resynthesis of ATP, the main energy compound used to obtain energy for all chemical reaction’s organisms. (Synthesis of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, muscle contraction, active transport of substances, conduction of nerve impulses, resorption of nutrients, etc.)
In short, this means that if we add creatine as a supplement to our diet, we will have more energy training, mostly in explosive movements and heavy sets. Of course, not drastically more power (don’t expect miracles). For aerobic sports (football, basketball), as well as for running long distances (over 400m), creatine supplementation makes no sense.
Since creatine enters the cells with water, and in some way hydrates them, its consumption increases thus it affects the increase in muscle volume. The term “volume” of muscle is used deliberately here. Because, contrary to belief, creatine does NOT increase muscle mass directly but only volume through the water that leads to the muscle.
Therefore, it is recommended to add about 80 ml of water to 1 gram of creatine for better absorption. So, if drink 10 grams of creatine per day, and add at least 800 ml of water over the daily intake.
One of the most exciting things about creatine is its effects on brain health and neurological treatment of diseases. Like muscles, the brain also stores phosphocreatine and needs a lot of ATP molecules for it optimal functioning.
It is important to mention the therapeutic effect of creatine supplementation. In patients with arthritis, creatine is showed outstanding results in the recovery of muscle strength and prevention of atrophy. Also, some research indicates its positive effects on Parkinson’s disease. Its effects reach the improvement of brain functions, reduction of blood sugar, and tissue protection from damage.
How to use creatine?
- With a loading period of 4-5 days when a larger dose of 20-25g is taken (this dose should divide into 4 smaller doses of 5g each and take them during the day), after which there is a maintenance period when a smaller dose of 3-5 g is taken (in order for creatine reserves to be maximal, it is necessary to from 3 to 4 weeks).
- Without a loading period, when you constantly go with the same dose of 5-15gr. Which way is better and which doses will suit you should be discovered by yourself, with time and experimentation. You can take breaks from creatine, but you don’t have to.
Which way is better and which doses will suit you should be discovered by yourself, with time and experimentation. You can take breaks from creatine, but you don’t have to.
Types of creatine
- Creatine monohydrate is the most common choice of exercisers, and as such is the most popular. Exactly this form creatine is also the cheapest, and since it is characterized by direct absorption, it gives excellent results.
- Creatine malate is another type of creatine. Unlike monohydrates, it dissolves much more easily in water, so it is a little easier on the stomach, especially for those who have problems when using it.
- Kre-alkaline is the so-called buffered creatine and represents the newest type of it. The manufacturers say it is the best, considering that it eliminates lactic acid from the muscles, which is the cause of inflammation and reduced performance. By eliminating it, therefore, contributes to greater strength, and due to the form in which it comes, it also does not cause any stomach upset.
- Creatine ethyl ester is similar to monohydrate but is “esterified” for better absorption, digestion, but also efficiency. Due to better efficiency, significantly smaller doses are needed and compared to the monohydrate, no causes stomach problems.
- Finally, we have creatine complexes which are also a new trend. As the name suggests, they imply combination of types of creatine, and in one supplement you can find the aforementioned variations plus additional substances such as taurine, arginine, and other amino acids.
The difference between protein and creatine
Protein and creatine are different substances, so they cannot be better than each other. You can also consider protein as a food, and not strictly as a nutritional supplement. Therefore, he does not draw water for it already “acts” like you ate a piece of meat, a couple of eggs, or any protein-rich food. Creatine is a substance that increases muscle volume and strength when pulling water. It does NOT build muscle mass directly, so after the end of use, the excess water is thrown out and the resulting volume and strength are greater it measures leprosy. For maximum results, it’s best to combine both!
Why are you not progressing from creatine?
Studies have shown that even 25% of people do not react to creatine at all, that is, they do not notice any benefits when he takes it. That group of people is called non-responders. If you find yourself in this group, don’t that you are wasting your money because you will not improve from creatine, even at higher doses. In other words, there’s no need to waste money on something your body doesn’t accept
Creatine is one of the most well-researched supplements available, with studies lasting as long as 4 years did not indicate any side effects. If you are a healthy person without kidney or liver problems, creatine will not have any side effects.
Possible negative effects are nausea, stomach pain, and diarrhea. They are expected in the phase “filling”. Dehydration is also possible, because creatine draws water into the muscles, especially if you don’t drink enough water. Although these effects rarely occur, it is necessary to mention them. Adverse effects are also possible in kidney disease when the elimination of creatinine is difficult. People with pre-existing liver or kidney problems should consult a doctor first before they start using creatine.
In summary, amino acids and creatine are both important nutrients for the body, with different roles and functions. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and are essential for many biological processes, while creatine is involved in energy production and is commonly used as a sports supplement.