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Bodybuilding Supplements Review - Creatine

What is creatine? Creatine is a substance, made by the human body, which supplies energy to muscles. Carried in the bloodstream it originates in the kidneys, liver and pancreas. Once it reaches the muscles, it is converted into phosphocreatine (creatine phosphate). Regenerating the muscles' ultimate energy source, ATP (adenosine triphosphate), is where this high-powered metabolite does its work.

I've used creatine as follows - 5 grams (powder form) a day stirred into a glass of cold water. I did not preload. The effects I felt were my muscles felt fuller and more pumped, my endurance increased in the gym and I was able to move more weight. For example, I knew that the creatine was kicking in when I was able to pump out 2 extra reps on my heaviest squat set. I felt that these welcome effects plateaued at about the six week mark which in my mind is a good argument for cycling the product however many users stay on it continuously. Personally I felt no ill effects from creatine although I have talked to a couple of guys at the gym who said that it gave them headaches. May have been a case of not drinking enough water which is very important as you'll see later in this article. But hey, if you try creatine and you notice any ill effects obviously stop using it.

Here's some things I learned since my first creatine experience. Use warm, not hot, water instead of cold to mix your creatine powder. The drink will be less gritty and there is some evidence that using warm water increases the uptake of creatine into your system. Doesn't have to completely dissolve though. Avoid mixing it with any kind of citrus juice as it has been shown to negate creatine effectiveness. Avoid mixing up a glass and letting it sit around because it will degrade over time.

Creatine increases the amount of water in your muscles making them fuller therefore weight gain is to be expected. It will pull water from where ever it can find it in the body so this cannot be stressed enough. Drink lots of water while on creatine. This is very important. Also, if you have kidney problems do not use creatine. Your kidneys excrete creatinine, a waste product produced when creatine is metabolized by the body. When supplementing with creatine you are going to produce more creatinine. Healthy kidneys can handle it, unhealthy ones may have problems dealing. Caffiene acts as a diuretic so you may want to avoid it while on creatine.

An interesting note. Creatinine levels are often used in blood and urine tests to measure kidney health as high levels could indicate that compromised kidneys are not clearing creatinine properly from the body. So if you're using creatine and your creatinine levels are therefore raised if you go for a physical or an insurance policy blood and urine test the creatinine results could be affected. I would recommend stopping your creatine supplementation a week or so before taking a blood or urine test.

Here are two ways to supplement with creatine. Load for five days using 20 to 30 grams per day, divided into 5 gram doses, then on the sixth day and for the duration of your creatine cycle take 5 to 10 grams per day. The other method is to just take 5 to 10 grams per day for the duration of your cycle without loading. The only difference is that when you load you raise creatine levels faster. I prefer the plain powdered form of creatine although it is also available in capsules and powder premixed with sugars and flavors. There's evidence that raising insulin levels increase creatine levels in muscles. But if you preload 4 creatine drinks a day and use the sugary premixed brands thats a lot of sugar and everyone knows that too much sugar makes you fat. But don't despair. Use those brands to take your creatine post workout when your muscles are screaming for carbs like sugar anyway and will utilize it in a beneficial way.

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