Thinking about trying creatine? This is what you need to know:
Think of creatine as muscle medicine – the extra strength formula.
Doesn't affect kidneys
When you supplement your diet with this amino acid, you spur the
production of proteins your body uses to weave muscle fibres, says Dr Douglas
Kalman, a sports nutritionist at Florida International University.
Read more: 9 post-workout foods that will help you build muscle and recover faster
“Using creatine while weight training typically enhances strength
gains by five to 15% in the first month, with no side effects,” he says.
In fact, a landmark study from Belgium confirmed that daily use of
creatine by healthy adults for as long as five years does not affect the
kidneys. That said, people with diabetes or a kidney disorder should steer
clear, since their already overworked organs may have trouble processing the
Read more: This is exactly how to escape a botched bench press
You’ll see a bunch of different forms of creatine on your
supplement store’s shelves. As for which type to buy, Kalman recommends
sticking with classic creatine monohydrate – it’s as effective as newer
formulas but less expensive. For the first month, take 5g a day, mixed
into your post-workout
A 'loading phase'
“Creatine monohydrate is the exact compound that more than 95% of the studies used, so why take a chance on another compound from a
safety and effectiveness perspective?” says Dr Mark Tarnopolsky,
professor of paediatrics and medicine and director of the neuromuscular and
neurometabolic clinic at McMaster University Medical Center in Ontario.
Read more: Creatine vs. BCAAs, the lowdown on why they work, and which one we think is best
The first week you go on creatine, some experts recommend a
“loading phase” of 20g a day for five to seven days. Afterward, go to 5g per day. On rest days, consume your 5g at any time. After
the first month, drink 5g after training.
The fine print: See
your doctor first if you have high blood pressure or diabetes. If you regularly
take any prescription meds or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like
ibuprofen (which can tax the kidneys), if you’re over age 40 (since kidney
function slowly declines after age 30), or if you have a history of kidney or
This article was originally published on www.mh.co.za
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