what is creatine

What is creatine?

Creatine is made by the body from the amino acid glycine (in the liver, kidneys and pancreas) and forms creatine phoshate, which produces energy by recycling ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate) from ADP (adenosinedi-phosphate). This process is vital to normal muscle contraction in every area of the body, including the heart. Creatine is also found in foods such as meat, fish and poultry. Creatine also encourages water to enter cells (known as cell volumisation), which allows nutrients to cross into the cells, and waste products to move out of the cell much more efficiently.

Creatine supplements are available in several forms, but it is creatine monohydrate that has been used in most research.

Main uses of creatine include:

  • Increasing strength, power and short-term energy (by 10%)
  • Increasing muscle size and fullness
  • Lean weight gain (5-7lbs in 14 days)
  • Reducing high cholesterol and high triglycerides
  • Treatment of muscular disorders

Other information

Many athletes (rugby & football players, sprint runners and swimmers) and bodybuilders use creatine monohydrate with excellent results and is often termed as ‘the one that really works’. Most research has used the powder form in the following doses:

  • Loading phase: 4x 5 gram servings per day for first 5-6 days (If you do not want weight gain miss out this step)
  • Maintenance: 3-5 grams per day for no longer than 8 weeks
  • Rest: followed by a 4 week rest period.

Creatine will not work as well if you are dehydrated, it is therefore vital that 2 litres of water is consumed each day. In addition, around 20-30% of athletes do not gain the results they require. This is because some people are not able to mobilise creatine into muscle tissue efficiently. Researchers have recognised this and so have developed products that overcome this problem. Such products contain creatine monohydrate, glucose and Taurine and encourage a much more efficient uptake of creatine into the muscle tissue. Creatine supplements are available in tablets, capsules or powder.


  • Professional athletes are fine to use Creatine as it is not a drug and will not cause any problems if they are required to take a drug-test, however it is always advisable to use a reputable brand of Creatine, which has been tested for purity.
  • Side effects such as muscle cramps can occur when using Creatine supplements, but this is thought to be due to dehydration. Yet another reason for drinking at least 2 litres of water per day.
  • Some Creatine users experience mild digestive discomfort and even diarrhoea at first, but this usually diminishes after several days.
  • Creatine is best avoided by anyone with kidney or liver disorders.
  • When this article was written there were no well-known negative drug interactions with Creatine supplements.

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