Originally Posted by Taurus
...Yes, and a 2-3 gram maintenance dose daily. ***Creatine should be avoided by people with pre-existing kidney disease or by people with disease such as diabetes that increase the risk for kidney dysfunction.*** In a minority of individuals, creatine use can cause muscle cramping, gastrointestinal pain, nausea and diarrhea with subsequent dehydration. During creatine supplementation, water intake should be no less than 64ozs.
Notes: As of 2000, the annual consumption of creatine in the US alone was estimated to exceed 4 million kilograms per year.
2-3 grams isn't effective. You're thinking of creatine ester ether. Remember that alot of creatine consumed turns into creatinine, rendering it useless. At least 5 grams
should be consumed to feel an effect. Too add to what you said,
3. How does creatine work?
After being ingested, creatine is absorbed into the bloodstream, most likely by the amino acid transporter (3), and usually reaches a maximum plasma concentration in less than two hours (4). While blood levels are elevated, the creatine transporter (CreaT) actively transports creatine into skeletal muscle, cardiac muscle, and the brain (3). At this point, there are a variety of mechanisms by which creatine may exert its ergogenic effects.
Modulation of energy metabolism - Creatine operates as an energy and pH buffer during exercise. Creatine kinase catalyzes a reaction between free creatine and phosphor ions (from the breakdown of ATP to ADP), resulting in phosphocreatine (PCr), which is locked into the muscle cell due to its strong negative charge. The PCr can then react with ADP to form ATP during exercise, and during rest periods more PCr is generated. All of this equates to more energy during sets and faster recovery between sets (3).
Increased protein synthesis - Supplementing with creatine has been shown to increase intracellular water retention (5). Not only does this have the benefit of making the muscles appear larger, it may have an anabolic effect as well. Hyperhydration stimulates protein synthesis and inhibits protein breakdown, and cell volume has a correlation with catabolism in a variety of ailments (6). Numerous studies have confirmed that creatine supplementation prevents protein catabolism (3, 7). There is also evidence that creatine increases satellite cell mitotic activity (8).
Reduced oxidative stress - In addition to direct effects on energy metabolism and protein synthesis, creatine also has indirect effects on them because it protects against tissue damage, thus increasing the body's ability to regenerate ATP (3) and synthesize protein and protecting against a variety of other harms caused by exercise-induced oxidation. Creatine primarily protects against the peroxynitrite and superoxide free radicals (9).
4. What are some further benefits of creatine use?
Neuroprotection - Creatine is found in high concentrations in the brain, and is being explored in the treatment of a variety of neurodegenerative diseases. Creatine supplementation increases total creatine levels primarily in grey matter, white matter, the cerebellum, and the thalamus. Similar to its action in skeletal muscle, creatine operates through a variety of pathways in the brain, such as reducing oxidative stress and correcting mitochondrial dysfunction (3). A recent study on mice and rats showed creatine to provide a 36%-50% reduction in cortical damage caused by traumatic brain injury by improving mitochondrial function, decreasing reactive oxygen species, and maintaining ATP levels (10). This is a new area of research, so few human studies have been done on its neuroprotectant effects at this point. One study found that supplementation of creatine at 5 grams a day for 8 days decreased task-evoked mental fatigue and increased oxygen utilization in the brain (11).
Cardiac health - Since creatine is also found in high concentrations in the heart, its activity there has been studied as well. It protects the heart in a variety of ways, and has been shown to reduce the occurrence of arrhythmia (12), protect cardiac tissue from metabolic stress (13), and reduce plasma cholesterol and triglycerides (14).
5. Are there any side effects?
There are very few side effects associated with creatine use (3, 22). Gastrointestinal discomfort is experienced by some, but generally goes away when dosage is lowered. Weight gain is also a common side effect, however this is mostly water weight (from muscle cell volumization). There are two case reports in the literature of creatine exacerbating renal dysfunction, but multiple studies have shown it to have no impact on healthy individuals
(3, 15, 21, 22). You should consult a doctor before using creatine if you have a kidney disorder.