Published On: December 15, 2022Categories: General

With so many different supplements in today’s fitness world, it can be overwhelming to try and decide what to buy. Today we will be breaking down creatine, talking about what exactly it is, if you should be taking it, and how to take it.

Creatine is made up of three amino acids, and is found in foods such as red meat and milk. However, the levels found in these foods are much lower than what can be consumed through supplementing with creatine. If you wanted to get your full daily dose of creatine, you would have to drink 200 cups of milk!

Creatine works by binding with a phosphate group to create more of your short-term, high-intensity energy stores. Increasing these energy stores will increase your exercise capacity; this means you might run a little faster, lift a little heavier, and see increases in fitness quicker! But the benefits don’t stop there, creatine also improves bone, brain, and heart health.

To add to the positives, creatine is one of the safest supplements you can take. The International Olympic Committee stated that there were “no negative health effects with long-term use when appropriate loading protocols were followed.”

When deciding to buy creatine from supplement stores, make sure that it says creatine monohydrate, this will ensure that you are buying 100% creatine without any added fillers (and it is also often the cheapest!). It is flavorless, and you can take it by adding it to your morning coffee, putting it in a protein shake, or mixing it with a glass of water. Here are two main dosing strategies you can use to start taking creatine:

  1. High Overload: take 20 grams per day for 5 days, then take 5 grams per day. This is best
    if you want to see increases in your strength.
  2. Candow Method: take 0.1 grams/kg/day. For example, if you weigh 70 kg, you would
    take 7 grams of creatine every day.

Overall, creatine is safe, cheap, and can lead to some sweet fitness improvements. If you have any other questions about creatine and its effects, feel free to email the author of this article, ecflemin@ualberta.ca.

References:

  1. Forbes, S. C., Candow, D. G., Ostojic, S. M., Roberts, M. D., & Chilibeck, P. D. (2021). Meta-analysis examining the importance of creatine ingestion strategies on lean tissue mass and strength in older adults. Nutrients, 13(6), 1912. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13061912
  2. Maughan, R. J., Burke, L. M., Dvorak, J., Larson-Meyer, D. E., Peeling, P., Phillips, S. M., Rawson, E. S., Walsh, N. P., Garthe, I., Geyer, H., Meeusen, R., van Loon, L., Shirreffs, S. M., Spriet, L. L., Stuart, M., Vernec, A., Currell, K., Ali, V. M., Budgett, R. G. M., Ljungqvist, A., … Engebretsen, L. (2018). IOC Consensus statement: Dietary supplements and the high-performance athlete. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 28(2), 104–125. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijsnem.2018-0020
  3. Mills, S., Candow, D. G., Forbes, S. C., Neary, J. P., Ormsbee, M. J., & Antonio, J. (2020). Effects of creatine supplementation during resistance training sessions in physically active young adults. Nutrients, 12(6), 1880. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12061880