Creatine is the most popular supplement among people working on increasing muscle mass and strength. Available in the form of powder, tablets, capsules or effervescent drinks, it has been a basic product for athletes and an exemplary scientific research supplement for decades. Creatine is the best-tested and safe supplement. It is worth mentioning that creatine occurs naturally in muscles, which means that food can also be a source from which it is supplied to the body. Red meat is the richest in creatine. Creatine was discovered in 1832 and described as beta-methyl-guanidine-acetic acid. Creatine is an energy reservoir for renewing ATP, - the main energy carrier in the body.
There are many varieties of creatine on the market that have slightly different properties. The most popular form of creatine is creatine monohydrate. It is definitely the cheapest and very effective in terms of gaining lean body mass and muscle strength. The effects of using creatine monohydrate are quickly noticeable and clear. Most scientific studies prove that the positive effects of creatine supplementation start at doses of 3g per day. The dosage of creatine monohydrate should, therefore, take this amount into account. However, the time of taking creatine is irrelevant, because it is an adaptive supplement whose effects can be seen only after saturating the muscles with creatine. There is another way of dosing creatine, divided into cycles in which we can distinguish the loading phase and the maintenance phase. The loading phase is a period of intense muscle saturation with creatine, where a daily dose of 20-25g creatine is used. This phase lasts about 5 days, and for the next 25 - 35 days lower doses are used, about 5g per day. Then we talk about the maintenance phase. After this period, creatine supplementation should be discontinued for several weeks. The loading phase will benefit mainly vegetarians and people with nutrition problems because the main source of creatine in the diet is red meat.
Creatine malate is also one of the most popular forms of creatine. It is a combination of malic acid and creatine. It is a stable compound that does not convert to creatinine in acidic gastric juice. Buffered forms of creatine, such as Kre-Alkalyn, have similar properties. Both of these preparations are characterized by a large economy of supplementation, although they do not always belong to cheap supplements. The effects of creatine malate supplementation are clear and fast. However, this is not a clear indicator of the best form of creatine. Despite the huge variety of preparations, it is impossible to indicate the strongest creatine on the market. Certainly, the one that is used regularly will work the strongest.
Can creatine be overdosed? It can be, but it doesn't have side effects. Excess creatine will be excreted in the urine. Some people think that high doses of creatine can have a bad effect on kidney health. Another side effect of creatine use may be subcutaneous water retention, and many people associate this phenomenon with creatine monohydrate supplementation.