In today’s post, we will talk about a very important chemical substance for our body, creatine. We usually know a lot about her in the sports world, but do we know everything? Keep reading.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is a chemical substance that we can find in our bodies. This substance is of vital importance since it participates in the production of energy for the muscles we can find it in most skeletal muscles. It is very important to control the amount of in our body, otherwise, it could seriously affect our day-to-day.
Foods rich in creatine
Creatine is widely used to improve sports performance, but this substance does not only exist as a dietary supplement, there are also many foods rich in CK.
Ten foods rich in creatine
Thanks to meats such as beef or beef, as long as lean cuts with little fat are chosen, we can get up to an average of 5 g for each kilo of intake. Red meat, in addition to its high protein content, is associated with less chance of developing dementia or other mental illnesses.
Perhaps it is one of the less common elements that we can consume, but it is one of the richest in creatine with an average of almost 8 g per kilo. This fish is also ideal to help us gain muscle mass; It is also a very good source of omega-3.
This food is perhaps the best-known in fitness life. It is considered white meat, low in fat, and rich in group B vitamins. It contains 4 g of CK per kilo.
This type of fish provides high-quality protein, group B vitamins, and minerals such as phosphorus, among others.
This food is considered essential for sports life since it is rich in creatine and provides very little fat in our bodies. However, we should not abuse its consumption due to its high salt content. It contains an average of 3 g of CK per kilo.
This food is white meat that will provide you, in addition to creatine, a high content of proteins and minerals that are most beneficial for physical activity. It is very rich in vitamins and will help reduce fatigue and tiredness. It contains an average of 3.5 g of CK per kilo.
This is a fatty fish, rich in omega 3, and very healthy because it helps us to improve our immune system. This food contains approximately 4.5 g of CK per kilo.
This food can have approximately 4 g of CK per kilo, but we have to be very careful when consuming it since it has a high volume of fat and we must consume it in moderation. Another benefit offered by this food is its high content of vitamin B12.
This type of meat has many types of benefits even though it is never the most recommended for physical activity.
This food is perhaps the most common due to its well-known performance in sports. Eggs in general, and their whites in particular, contain a significant amount of creatine, perfect for feeding your muscle and improving your performance in the gym. It should be emphasized that it is a very easy food to use in different types of recipes. It contains an average of 0.35 g of CK per 100 g.
How much creatine can I take?
When we talk about the exact dose of CK that a person should take, we are not talking about a specific number it is usually between 1 and 2 g of creatine per day if no other type of dietary supplement is taken of creatine.
We can say that creatine reserves are usually between 60 and 70%. The intention with which we take CK as a supplement is to increase our reserves between 20 and 40% more, and thus benefit from the benefits of this chemical substance.
Who can use this supplement?
This food supplement can be used by those people who are starting in the world of sports since they are the ones who need a high level of CK the most to have more effective workouts, and not go into deficit.
Although it is true, we should discuss this with a sports and sports nutrition professional to see what would be necessary creatine that we should take to achieve our goals, and have a good performance in our physical activity or training; either through food or through food supplements.
We must also discuss when it is best to take creatine. Many scientific studies acknowledge that protein and carbohydrates will better retain CK in muscle; how can it be in the post-training session together with a protein shake and some carbohydrates such as bananas?
Effects of creatine
When we talk about creatine, we have to consider that it is one of the most effective supplements and its effects on increasing strength and muscle volume have been widely proven. There are certain controversies about its consumption, so we are going to talk about the effects that it has, both positive and negative:
Positive effects of creatine
Now we are going to discuss the different positive effects that creatine supplementation brings us.
Improves muscle recovery
Creatine has properties in muscle regeneration after training. Various studies claim that taking this type of supplementation reduces inflammation and cell damage that follows the physical activity. That is why it is recommended that it be used as a post-workout.
Improves high intensity training capacity
Creatine is also used to a large extent to quickly and immediately energize muscle fibers so they don’t fatigue quickly. This is also used to be able to perform more repetitions or sprint faster. Creatine is considered to be essential to regenerate ATP and preparing for faster recovery.
Improves brain function
Another of the functionalities that have been most developed concerning creatine as a supplement has been as a treatment for neurodegenerative, vascular, and muscular diseases and disorders.
It has been shown that those with neurodegenerative disorders associated with creatine deficiency may require supplemental CK to support the central nervous system.
Improve muscle volume
The best benefit for bodybuilders and athletes is the effect it has on what we think of as muscle bulk. In the first weeks, it is very common to increase body weight by about 2 kg, since one of the effects is fluid retention.
Negative effects of creatine
When we talk about negative effects, we do not find any significance when we talk about a supplementation of no more than six months, that is, as a short-term treatment; but we can find these side effects in long-term treatments such as:
- Muscle cramps.
- Weight gain.
- Muscle strains and pulls.
- Kidney damage.
- Liver dysfunction.
- Stomach ache.
Among many others, that is why the consumption of CK as a supplement must be accompanied by medical supervision; since taking high doses of creatine could damage the kidneys; In addition, if we take creatine supplementation accompanied by other medications, it could increase the risk of kidney damage.
Wiemspro electrostimulation and Creatine
When we make special mention of electrostimulation, it is because it is increasingly used as a complement to training.
Electrostimulation is considered a way of exercising muscles using electrical impulses, which generate impulses that mimic the action potential that comes from the central nervous system.
In short, these electrical impulses penetrate the deepest muscle fibers creating a powerful muscle contraction. When we train with electrostimulation we increase the effects of the training up to 50%, so we obtain better results with less effort and in less time. With conventional training, this would not be possible.
That said, training with electrostimulation considerably increases physical effort, hence the question arises as to whether it affects CK.
From the Wiems Lab laboratory, we have studied the effect that electrostimulation could have on our body concerning creatine kinase.
As we mentioned at the beginning of the post, this type of protein is considered a marker of muscle damage and proper muscle function. (A muscle failure can cause rhabdomyolysis).
Especially with electrostimulation, there have always been some speculations about the damage that muscle overload or overexertion can cause; but after conducting various studies, it has been confirmed that a WB-EMS (Whole Body Electrostimulation) workout does not produce or enhance muscle damage. This is because the level of the CK protein does not increase. After carrying out 6 weeks of training for 3 days a week and with a duration of 45 minutes on average, we did not find an increase in CK or creatine kinase in the blood; Therefore, we can confirm that the Wiemspro electrostimulation system is respectful of the body.
When should you take creatine?
Creatine is a nutritional supplement that is mainly used in high-intensity, short-duration sports, such as weightlifting and explosive sports. The most common form of creatine is creatine monohydrate, which is used to increase energy availability in muscles.
Creatine is generally taken in cycles. Here is a general recommendation on how to take creatine:
- Loading phase (optional): Many people opt for a “loading phase” for the first 5-7 days. During this phase, higher doses of creatine are taken to quickly saturate the muscles with it. For example, 20 grams per day (divided into 4 doses of 5 grams) is common for the loading phase.
- Maintenance Phase: After the loading phase, you move into a maintenance phase where you take a lower dose of creatine to keep levels high in your muscles. A typical maintenance dose is 3-5 grams per day.
- Time to take it: Creatine can be taken at any time of the day. Some people prefer to take it before training, while others take it after. There is no hard and fast rule about the time of day to take it, so you can choose the time that is most convenient for you. Just make sure you are consistent with the daily intake.
- What to mix it with: Creatine is commonly mixed with water or juice. The important thing is that it dissolves completely before consuming it.
Remember that before taking any supplement, it is important to consult a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to make sure it is suitable for your personal needs and goals. Additionally, it is essential to stay well hydrated when taking creatine as it can increase water retention in your muscles.
What should I not eat if I am taking creatine?
While you are taking creatine, there are no specific foods you should avoid. However, there are some general guidelines you can consider to maximize the benefits of creatine and ensure your diet is compatible with your supplementation program. Here are some tips:
- Caffeine: Caffeine in large quantities may decrease the effectiveness of creatine. If you consume caffeine, make sure not to abuse it. This doesn’t mean you should completely eliminate coffee or tea from your diet, but it is wise not to consume large amounts of caffeine at the same time as taking creatine.
- Alcohol: Excessive alcohol consumption can reduce the effectiveness of creatine and can also be detrimental to your overall fitness goals. Limit alcohol consumption, especially if you want to get the maximum benefit from creatine.
- Balanced diet: Creatine works best when combined with a balanced, protein-rich diet. Make sure you get enough protein from sources such as lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy and legumes to help your muscles use creatine effectively.
- Hydration: Creatine can increase water retention in your muscles, so it’s important to stay well hydrated. Drink enough water throughout the day to help your body maintain fluid balance.
- Competitive supplements: Some people take various supplements to enhance performance. If you are taking other supplements, make sure they are compatible with creatine and that there are no negative interactions between them. Consult a healthcare professional or registered dietitian if you have specific questions about combining supplements.
What is better, protein or creatine to increase muscle mass?
Protein and creatine are two popular supplements in the fitness and bodybuilding arena, and each has its own purpose and benefits. Instead of comparing them and saying which is better, it is important to understand their differences and how they can complement each other in a muscle mass gain strategy.
- Protein: Protein is essential for muscle growth and repair. It contributes to the increase in lean muscle mass, as long as it is combined with adequate resistance training. Protein is found in foods such as lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy, legumes, and protein powder supplements. For people who have difficulty meeting their protein needs through diet, protein shakes may be helpful.
- Creatine: Creatine is a compound that can help improve performance in high-intensity exercise and increase water retention in muscle cells. This can result in a temporary increase in muscle size and greater strength. It is especially beneficial for explosive exercises, such as weight lifting and short-term high-intensity exercises.
For most people, it’s not a question of choosing between protein or creatine, but rather using both effectively. Many bodybuilders and endurance athletes combine protein supplements with creatine in their routines to reap the benefits of both.
That said, it is essential to remember that supplements should never replace a balanced and nutritious diet. The basis of any muscle mass gain program should be a proper diet that includes sufficient protein and carbohydrate intake, along with effective resistance training and good rest.
Before taking any supplement, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to ensure it is safe and appropriate for your personal goals and conditions.
What happens if you have low creatine?
Low levels of creatinine, not creatine, in the body can be an indicator of certain health problems or decreased kidney function. Creatinine is a waste product generated by muscle metabolism, and is eliminated primarily through the kidneys. Blood creatinine levels are an important marker of kidney function.
Here are some possible reasons for having low creatinine levels:
- Kidney function problems: Low blood creatinine levels may be an indicator of a decrease in the kidneys’ ability to filter and remove waste products, which could be a sign of kidney disease.
- Muscle atrophy: Low creatinine levels could be associated with loss of muscle mass, which often occurs in weakened health conditions or in situations of prolonged immobility.
- Low muscle content: In people with little muscle tissue, such as the elderly, blood creatinine levels may be lower.
- Malnutrition: Malnutrition, especially a lack of protein, can contribute to low creatinine levels.
- Pregnant women: Pregnant women may experience a temporary decrease in creatinine levels due to changes in the circulatory and renal system during pregnancy.
Importantly, low creatinine levels are not necessarily a problem in themselves, but are often an indicator of other underlying problems, such as kidney disease or muscle loss. If you are concerned about having low creatinine levels, it is important to speak with a health professional to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment if necessary. Treatment will depend on the specific cause and may include dietary changes, exercise, or therapies to address the underlying condition.
Conclusions about creatine
In conclusion, it is important to emphasize the importance of CK in our body, especially if we are sportsmen or athletes. It is very important to have a good diet and, if necessary for our sports performance, to consume creatine supplements, as long as a specialist recommends it after a study.
On the other hand, we have concluded that electrostimulation, although it strengthens the muscle by up to 50%, does not produce negative effects or a deficit in creatine consumption.
If you liked this post, subscribe and access other Academy studies here.