In debating which topic to explore for today’s article I took into consideration the fact that the most recent re-opening phase here in Ontario meant a long-awaited return to gyms and organized sports.
I know for both myself and my clients this represents a very important milestone as it pertains to both mental and physical health, and with this mind it did seem fitting to discuss something in the realm of exercise-related nutrition.
But what exactly should that be?
Well, a quick look at Amazon.ca’s top selling supplements list, on which creatine monohydrate placed second, answered that question for me.
That brings us to today’s article, where I will help you better understand the utility of creatine supplementation so that you can proceed accordingly if the topic arises with your clients. And it’s very likely that it will.
Creatine 101 – An Introduction
Creatine is a naturally occurring compound that we have access to via various forms of animal protein (ie. fish, meat, poultry) and is also synthesized on a daily basis by the liver and kidneys using a combination of amino acids. For this reason, it is technically considered an amino acid derivative.
Creatine serves a number of biological functions but for today’s article we must underline the role it plays in supporting muscle cells to rapidly replenish the energy required for contraction (in the form of ATP) during times of high physical demand.
Supplemental creatine, specifically creatine monohydrate, increases the body’s capacity to store creatine and thus improves our muscle capacity to regenerate and utilize ATP for energy. In turn, this can contribute to increases in strength and performance when applied in the proper context.
For this reason, creatinine supplements have become among the most widely used and well researched sports supplements on the markets and one of the relatively few for which there is a strong understanding of its utility and proper usage.
Who, How & When To Use Creatine
Like any supplement or performance aid, creatine monohydrate is not a one-stop-shop to improve exercise output in every single context. It is best studied for use in high-intensity and shorter duration type activities (such as those involving sprinting, HIIT or lifting weights). Regarding moderate intensity longer duration activities (such as most types of casual running), it may hold little utility.
Creatine monohydrate is considered safe for long-term use at recommended levels across multiple demographics, including adolescents and the elderly. In the case of younger athletes, creatine usage may only be recommended in those who: compete in a sport at a very high level; are receiving guidance on proper use of the supplement; and have already achieved a good state of nutritional guidance/dietary balance.
The most scientifically supported method of creatine monohydrate supplementation to achieve the intended performance benefits may be to consume approximately 0.3 grams per kilogram of body weight per day for one week before proceeding to consuming between 3-5 grams daily thereafter.
Want To Learn More?
My hope is that today’s article has given you a good baseline from which to converse to your clients about creatine supplementation.
If you’d like further details, click through to access further information on either the list of potential performance benefits of creatine use or a more exhaustive list of the types of sports/activities that may justify their use, as provided by Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
Hope you enjoyed today’s article!
-Andy De Santis RD MPH