Of all the sports nutrition supplements available, one stands alone as the undisputed king: Creatine. For decades, creatine has stood the test of time as a clinically proven performance enhancer. Numerous gold standard, university research studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of creatine time and time again. Creatine dramatically enhances muscle, strength, power, and speed in high-intensity sports such as football, hockey, and weightlifting. The most researched and scientifically validated form of creatine is creatine monohydrate.
Creatine helps to supply energy to muscle cells by increasing the formation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) – the primary fuel source for activities like sprinting and weight training. It is an essential nutrient made by three amino acids in the body – arginine, glycine and methionine. Creatine undergoes a chemical process in the body to form phosphocreatine, which is used as an energy source in muscle. According to a meta-analysis by the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), creatine monohydrate is the “most effective ergogenic nutritional supplement currently available to athletes in terms of increasing high-intensity exercise capacity and lean body mass during training.” Hundreds of peer-reviewed research studies have demonstrated increases in work capacity in weight training exercises, increases in maximal power, sprint performance, rate of force development, and lean body mass.
When we dose creatine monohydrate, the body (liver, kidney and pancreas) takes it and converts it into Phosphocreatine. Ultimately, blood transports creatine to your muscles, where it is used to replenish Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) stores. This is important because ATP is the primary energy source used to make your muscles contract when you are sprinting down a track, breaking tackles on a football field, skating away from a defender on the ice, or setting a new PR in the gym.
Creatine also has other benefits for athletes. Creatine has been shown in several studies to increase aerobic performance and can even enhance cognitive function! A double-blind, placebo controlled study demonstrated that creatine monohydrate supplementation caused a significant increase in working memory and intelligence. When creatine is stored within the muscle cell, it attracts water. This attraction causes a state of super hydration, thereby creating a fuller look to the muscle and, more importantly, an increase in strength.
There are multiple studies supporting the safety of creatine monohydrate. The duration of these studies has varied from several weeks all the way up to five years. These studies showed that creatine supplementation was indeed safe. Other studies have looked at how the liver, pancreas and kidneys handle creatine; they found it to be safe as well. These studies were performed with pharmaceutical grade products, free of contaminants.
In summary, creatine monohydrate is one of the most well researched, battle tested, and safe musclebuilding products available on the market. Creatine serves to supply energy to cells, including muscle. Creatine acts as a reserve power source, and helps to replenish ATP, which is the primary energy source of the body. For hard-training athletes, the benefits of creatine supplementation include increased strength, explosive power, speed and lean mass (muscle). Pound for pound, creatine monohydrate is the most effective performance enhancing supplement money can buy.
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