Creatine is a highly energetic compound and is essential for sports of high intensity and strength. But as the training progresses, Creatine phosphate stores are depleted, compromising the effectiveness of it.
Creatine is a compound produced naturally by the body, from the amino acids Glycine, Arginine and Methionine, with the endogenous synthesis corresponding to 1 g of Creatine. This synthesis occurs primarily in the liver but also in the kidney and pancreas and is stored in muscle in the form of creatine phosphate.
Creatine can also be obtained from foods like red meat, fish, dairy products and egg. Even when consuming high amounts of these foods, the amount of Creatine is insufficient (average intake of about 1g), making supplementation necessary to reach ideal levels of Creatine in the body. So, in the specific case of vegetarian athletes, this supplementation is essential and unavoidable.
Some effects of Creatine:
– increase in training
– less glycogen dependence
– lower lactate production and acidity
– protein synthesis
There are several types of creatine on the market that help us reach the recommended intake of 3-5 grams per day:
1. Creatine monohydrate (probably the right choice) the oldest, with more scientific support and more attractive price. However, because it is poorly soluble in water, it can cause greater abdominal discomfort.
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2. Micronized Creatine – version of creatine monohydrate in which the molecules were divided to increase the area of absorption by 20 times. You are less likely to experience abdominal discomfort, although it is a more expensive supplement.
3. Creatine Ethyl Ester – The creatine ester bond maximizes absorption and potentiates the results. However, it is very expensive and its taste is not very pleasant.
4. Creatine Citrate – consists of a creatine molecule associated with a citrate molecule. Being very soluble in water causes less gastrointestinal discomfort. However, it is expensive and requires twice the dose of creatine monohydrate to be effective.
5. Creatine Malate – formed by the combination of creatine with malic acid, in order to improve absorption and results. Again, more expensive not justifying the investment versus the monohydrate.
How to take Creatine:
There are 2 ways to supplement with Creatine:
– Load / saturation mode: enables creation of creatine reserves in muscle cells. The recommendation is to consume 20g / day of creatine in regular 5g doses for 5 to 7 days, followed by a steady and reduced intake of about 5g per day.
– Continuous mode: in this case, there is a daily intake of 5g during the whole supplementation period.
It is possible to opt for a protocol with cycles of supplementation: 30 days to supplement followed by 30 days of rest, and so on.
It should also be noted that supplementation protocols are identical for men and women regardless of their weight.
By Joana Correia, Nutricionist