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Creatine NotesLearn about creatine monohydrate. Creatine is an effective bodybuilding supplement.
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Creatine monohydrate helps build muscle. It draws energy into muscles. It allows you to exercise longer, and lift more weight. It occurs naturally in meat, but many supplement brands are available.

Testosterone. Does creatine monohydrate affect your testosterone or growth hormone levels? The data in the medical research indicates that it does not have an impact. One study shows this in the short-term.

Quote It is concluded that short-term creatine supplementation does not alter the responses of growth hormone, testosterone, and cortisol to a single bout of heavy-resistance training.

The effects of creatine supplementation

Long-term. But what about the long-term? My research into long-term creatine supplementation yielded the same result. No differences were found in serum testosterone or growth hormone.

Quote All group means fell within normal clinical ranges. There were no differences in the reported incidence of muscle injury, cramps, or other side effects. These data suggest that long-term creatine supplementation does not result in adverse health effects.

Creatine supplementation and health variables

Risks. One review I found, done at a university in Belgium, provides a medical opinion. The researchers found no evidence of health risks in people who are generally healthy. But they also state that rare negative effects will occur.

Quote We believe that there is no evidence for deleterious effects in healthy individuals. Idiosyncratic effects may occur when large amounts of an exogenous substance containing an amino group are consumed, with the consequent increased load on the liver and kidneys.

Adverse effects of creatine supplementation

Creatine monohydrate has risks just like any substance. Even food and drinks have risks—and not just alcohol. Even drinking too much water can cause health risks. Even exercising too much can cause health problems.

So Used moderately, with monitoring of your health condition, creatine is very safe, but not without risks.

Story. I started taking creatine when I started bodybuilding. I first bought capsules. I hated swallowing those. I then bought micronized creatine powder. I now buy Optimum Nutrition creatine powder in large 4-pound containers.

Muscle gains. Does creatine help me build muscle? I cannot answer scientifically. But it does cause my muscles to be larger and firmer. It makes me stronger. I spend more time in the gym when I take creatine 5 grams every day.

Also Creatine has health benefits outside of muscle mass gains. I continue taking creatine for these benefits as well.

AM or PM. Creatine is taken daily for a long period of time for best results. But at what time in the day is creatine best taken? Should bodybuilders take it before or after a workout? Creatine can be taken in the AM or the PM.

Creatine in AM. If you take creatine in the morning, this means you take it before your workout. When people take their creatine, they sometimes feel bloated. It is probably not a good idea to take creatine in the AM because of this.

Creatine in PM. Taking creating in the evening is probably a better solution. It won't matter so much that you have the bloated feeling at night. You will have done most of your daily exercise and also your workout by this point.

Tip Creatine is probably best taken after a workout or in the evening. It can impact your weight lifting workouts to some extent.

Therefore It is not advisable to take it before you lift. Your performance would decrease.

Steps. How can you use creatine monohydrate each day to help build muscle? It is not necessary to use a loading phase for creatine. Instead we can just use the creatine monohydrate each day in a quantity of about five grams.

1. Open the creatine container. Always carefully read the supplement's nutrition facts and its label. Creatine has a bitter smell.

2. Take one teaspoonful of creatine powder. A teaspoon is a normal-sized spoon you have around the kitchen. It holds 5 g (five grams).

3. Put creatine in cup. Make sure the cup is clean. If the creatine monohydrate dries on the cup, it can be easily rinsed.

4. Put juice or water in the cup. Some options for liquid include grape juice, orange juice, water and sugar, Gatorade or Powerade.

5. Drink. This will give you 5 grams of creatine monohydrate each day. Eventually this will build up to a good level.

Heart. Creatine monohydrate supplementation may sometimes have negative effects on the heart. One report describes a man who was using creatine and developed atrial fibrillation, a dangerous heart condition.

Quote We report the case of a 30-year-old Caucasian man who came to the emergency department. When the patient was questioned about use of herbal products and supplements, the use of creatine monohydrate was revealed.

Lone atrial fibrillation with creatine monohydrate

Heart problems. Other reports have shown that creatine monohydrate causes atrial fibrillation. This is rare among users, but many anecdotal reports confirm this happens. It may be caused in only those with pre-existing heart conditions.

Breaks. Creatine monohydrate is an important bodybuilding supplement. I don't dispute this. But should we stop taking creatine for a period of time and then restart it? There is some rationale to taking breaks from creatine.

Note Creatine can be cycled. Taking breaks from creatine can be helpful to bodybuilders.

I will start from the medical perspective of creatine usage. If creatine were something that would be dangerous to take non-stop, it would not be sold on the market. It would be restricted by government agencies such as the FDA.

So I expect it is safe to take non-stop for healthy people. It is not as harmful as alcohol and tobacco.

The second point is that all strength trainees should do heavy work. This means things like barbell squats and bench presses of hundreds of pounds/kilograms. With this sort of heavy lifting, you will need to take breaks.

Obviously You cannot do heavy squats every single day. I recommend doing lighter workout intervals.

As with all things, creatine is best used in moderation. Balance in life is important. I recommend taking several weeks off from creatine during these periods of lighter workouts. There is more to life than extreme workouts.

Form. Creatine helps build muscle. But it is confusing to figure out how much creatine to take, what kind of creatine to take, and when to take it. Before you can get started, you probably ask yourself: What is the best creatine supplement?

To figure out what the best creatine supplement is, I drew upon my knowledge of weight training. I have read a lot of information about creatine from scientific and medical sources. Most of these sources use creatine monohydrate.

Note This means that the scientific evidence for creatine's usefulness is based on creatine monohydrate.

And When you buy this in a store or online, it will be a white powder. It does not taste particularly good.

The simplest form of creatine, creatine monohydrate, is the best form. It is the most studied and most proven. Many think that it is better absorbed when mixed with sugar and water or juice.

Optimum Nutrition. I review Optimum Nutrition's unflavored, micronized creatine powder. I have used this product in various sizes. This review emphasizes the quality of the product, not the results from using the creatine.

Sizes of creatine powder. First, I am a longer-term creatine user. I take it for several months in a row. I then stop it for one month. Because of this, I need to buy larger supplies of creatine powder.

Note I take only five grams per day. I don't use a loading phase, which may be unnecessary.

Note 2 The size of creatine powder by Optimum Nutrition I am reviewing is the 2000 g container (4.4 pounds).

Taste. How is the taste of Optimum Nutrition creatine powder? The taste is not "good" but not bad either. It does not have a pleasant taste but certainly won't make you want to vomit either. I don't mind it.

Mixing it. How well does the creatine powder mix? It does not mix as well as glutamine powder or whey protein powder does. You need to stir the glass and then quickly drink it. I take one teaspoon mixed in a cup of water.

Quality. The quality of the Optimum Nutrition creatine powder is excellent. It does not contain any unknown materials that I can see. Optimum Nutrition's products are reliable and usually of high quality.

Tip I recommend Optimum Nutrition creatine powder for people engaged in vigorous strength training.

Also For unflavored, raw creatine powder, the Optimum Nutrition product is good. It is cheap when compared to other supplements.

Cost. What is the cost of creatine? It is cheapest to buy it in bulk. If you are not sure you want to take creatine for a long period of time, try a smaller container first. I recommend the powder.

Summary. Creatine has health benefits. Muscle mass gains are the most prominent—bodybuilders benefit from creatine. Some creatine products are easier to use than others. Creatine can be taken for weeks or months and then stopped.

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