As one of the most consumed sports supplement, creatine is also a naturally occurring compound within the human body. It can also be synthesized from the amino acids arginine, glycine, and methionine. It is primarily metabolized in the liver and kidneys, where it is converted into creatinine by a process called dephosphorylation . Creatinine is then excreted by the kidneys and eliminated from the body through urine.
Although humans can generate it, the majority of this molecule in the body comes from food, mainly meat, and fish. In addition, it can be consumed through supplementation. “Loading” is the most effective and well-studied technique for supplementing creatine. This involves starting with a high dose (20-25 grams per day) for 5-7 days before decreasing to a maintenance dose (3-5 grams per day) . This “loading” phase can assist in rapidly saturating the muscles with it, resulting in faster improvements in muscular development and strength. Regardless of the supplementation strategy, muscular creatine levels are comparable after 1 month of supplementation. It is also recommended to take it with a carbohydrate source such as dextrose or glucose for better absorption.
Creatine supplementation has been well-researched and confirmed to be safe. It’s also worth noting that this substance might induce negative effects including weight gain via water retention, gastrointestinal irritation, and muscle cramping . These unwanted effects are usually minor and can be prevented by remaining hydrated, starting with a low dose, and gradually increasing the dosage over time.
Creatine has been shown to increase muscular reserves and improve performance during intense activities . Supplementation has also been shown in studies to increase muscle mass, strength, and power . It is crucial to note, however, that the effects of the supplement vary by individual, and some people may not enjoy the same benefits as others.
How Creatine Works
Creatine works by boosting phosphocreatine availability in the muscles, which can then be used to create additional ATP during intense workouts . This extra energy leads to enhanced power production and endurance. This molecule also functions as an intracellular reservoir, assisting in the reduction of lactic acid accumulation in muscles, which can contribute to exhaustion. Furthermore, it has been found to increase muscle growth in muscle cells by enhancing protein synthesis and hydration.
Physiology Around Supplementation
If we want to know when is the optimal time to take the supplement, we must first learn or contemplate the basics of physiology. When determining the timing of supplementation, it is critical to consider the time it takes for the concentration in the blood to increase after exercise. This helps determine whether absorption pre workout or post workout increases intramuscular creatine differently.
This substance is actively absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and circulated to body tissues . The timing of supplement intake with exercise is determined by how long blood concentrations take to rise. This can help identify whether molecule intake pre or post workout increases intramuscular levels. Creatine monohydrate absorbs virtually completely , and 2 g in an aqueous solution achieves maximum plasma concentration in about an hour. When the dose was 10 g, the maximal plasma concentration reached around the second hour, as in previous procedures [8,9]. Although larger doses >10 g can take up to 2.5 hours to achieve peak blood concentration , the most typical single dose of 5 g should peak roughly 1-2 hours after ingestion and remain elevated for four hours . If supplement uptake is greatest when muscle blood flow is highest, supplementation should be timed to correspond with peak circulating creatine levels during this period.
Supplementation & Exercises
Exercises have been proven to boost creatine uptake into muscles by increasing blood flow to the working muscle, known as hyperemia. This increased blood flow can help to meet the energy needs of the skeletal muscles during exercises and may improve creatine delivery and retention. However, the processes underlying this phenomenon have not been thoroughly investigated, and the extent to which blood flow increases during and post-workout is controlled by a variety of parameters including exercise duration, type, intensity, and volume. Thus, the time of ingestion in relation to activity may influence supplementation efficacy.
Resistance training sessions typically last 60-70 minutes . If a person supplements before or during activity, creatine will accumulate during the workout, and peak concentration in the blood may also occur during exercise. Exercise increases blood flow to active muscles, which may boost creatine supply and absorption, explaining the higher loading observed following exercise [9,10]. Pre-exercise supplementation may be more effective than post-exercise supplementation in increasing muscle creatine content. Muscle blood flow gradually diminishes after 30 minutes .
The first study looked at how creatine supplement timing impacts intramuscular creatine content, muscle-fiber growth, strength, and body composition . Researchers noticed intriguing effects after ten weeks of training. Creatine taken around exercises enhanced intramuscular storages, maximum dynamic strength, lean mass, and cross-sectional area type II fibers more than creatine taken at other times of the day. These findings suggest that supplement timing influences strength and muscle growth. However, because study participants used creatine with other supplements, the findings should be viewed with caution. Famous scientist Jose Antonio investigated the effect of creatine timing around exercise in 2013 .
What is the Best Time to Take Creatine?
According to physiology, the optimal time for supplementation is before exercises. However, in practice post workout supplementation might be more effective. So basically, people should try both and see what works best for them. Undoubtedly, taking creatine during workout is more effective than taking it at random throughout the day. Also, future studies will most likely provide more evidence and provide more useful guidance on this problem. Keep an eye out.
What About creGAAtine, as a New Revolutionary Formula?
CreGAAtine is a nutritional dietary supplement that combines creatine monohydrate and guanidinoacetic acid, its immediate precursor (GAA). The evidence for creatine also applies to creGAAtine. Based on the scientific research, there are even grater benefits that creGAAtine provides, giving 8.5 times more energy than creatine and enters the cell four different ways, so the intake time and absorption go way faster and easier. In case if you want to try out creGAAtine, shop here.
⦁ Wyss, M., & Kaddurah-Daouk, R. (2000). Creatine and creatinine metabolism. Physiological reviews.
⦁ Kraemer, W. J., & Volek, J. S. (1999). Creatine supplementation: its role in human performance. Clinics in sports medicine, 18(3), 651-666.
⦁ Kim, H. J., Kim, C. K., Carpentier, A., & Poortmans, J. R. (2011). Studies on the safety of creatine supplementation. Amino acids, 40(5), 1409-1418.
⦁ Buford, T. W., Kreider, R. B., Stout, J. R., Greenwood, M., Campbell, B., Spano, M., … & Antonio, J. (2007). International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation and exercise. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 4(1), 1-8.
⦁ Kreider, R. B., Kalman, D. S., Antonio, J., Ziegenfuss, T. N., Wildman, R., Collins, R., … & Lopez, H. L. (2017). International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 14(1), 18.
⦁ Persky, A. M., Brazeau, G. A., & Hochhaus, G. (2003). Pharmacokinetics of the dietary supplement creatine. Clinical pharmacokinetics, 42(6), 557-574.
⦁ Jäger, R., Harris, R. C., Purpura, M., & Francaux, M. (2007). Comparison of new forms of creatine in raising plasma creatine levels. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 4(1), 1-5.
⦁ Green, A. L., Hultman, E., Macdonald, I. A., Sewell, D. A., & Greenhaff, P. L. (1996). Carbohydrate ingestion augments skeletal muscle creatine accumulation during creatine supplementation in humans. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology And Metabolism, 271(5), E821-E826.