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How Does Creatine Supplementation Work?

blog workout nutrition Mar 06, 2023

How Does Supplementing with Creatine work?πŸ€”

Let’s use a simple analogy to explain the overall gist before getting into specifics.

You can think of supplementing with creatine just like you would think about watering a plantπŸͺ΄

Let’s say you planted basil seeds in a pot in your backyard. You could let nature do its thing and those basil seeds would grow over time as it rained periodically 🌦️

Or you could wake up every morning and water it yourself, ensuring that it grows at an efficient rate ⏱️ you could use it sooner to make pesto πŸ˜‹ 

Supplementing with creatine is equivalent to you taking the extra step to water the plant every day, versus waiting for it to eventually rain and grow on its own.

⬆️ This analogy isn’t perfect (most plants don’t need watering every day), but hopefully, it helps you understand the general concept more easily πŸ˜‰

Alright, now for all you nerds out there who want to understand the specifics, let’s getttt nerdyyyy πŸ€“ πŸŽ‰ 

The body uses ATP (adenosine triphosphate) primarily for energy.

ATP = the “energy currency” of our cells⚑

Triphosphate = 3️⃣ phosphates 

When you use ATP for energy, you burn off one of the phosphates and it becomes ADP (adenosine diphosphate). 

Diphosphate = 2️⃣ phosphates

Your body can't utilize ADP for energy πŸ™…‍♀️ because it needs that 3rd phosphate…so it needs to become ATP again!

This will happen naturally with energy turnover πŸ” after a while..however, this is where creatine supplementation comes into play βœ… 

We have another energy store called Creatine Phosphate.

Creatine phosphate can lend it's phosphate to that ADP so it now has 3️⃣ phosphates and is ATP again.

Wahoo, our body can use it for energy again! πŸ₯³

If your creatine stores are full (or 'topped off'), it makes this process a bit faster because you're able to go through the cycle of turning ADP ➑️ ATP more efficiently.

You can think of supplementing with creatine as “topping off the tank”β›½

It allows you to maintain energy for slightly longer. So maybe it allows you to push out one more rep or go two seconds longer in a workout. That may not seem like much, but over time, it can definitely add up! πŸ™Œ

I know what you’re thinking - "But don't we get creatine from the food we eat?"

Yes, creatine is found naturally in animal foods (meat πŸ₯©, fish 🐟, eggs 🍳, etc.), so why supplement? 🀨

Well, typically we can’t maximally top off our creatine stores with just food because the concentration isn’t high enough... 

Especially if you don’t eat a ton of animal products, you definitely won’t have close to topped-off stores 🫣

So supplementing with creatine ensures that your stores are always full and that can lead to increased performance over time πŸ—“ 

This has proven to be true for over 30+ years in the research!πŸ”¬

βœ… Recommended dosage:

🎯 3-5 grams of creatine monohydrate per day

There are also benefits that go beyond just muscle building and performance 🀩 Other than skeletal muscle using ATP for energy, your brain uses it too! 🧠  

The same cycle I mentioned that happens during exercise, happens when you’re thinking or processing memories πŸ’­

Supplementing with creatine has been shown to increase cognitive function, focus, and memory, as well as aid in other age-related cognitive declines! πŸ‘πŸ» 

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