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Understanding Concentrated Creatine as a Supplement As with anything, you should understand it before ingesting it. Here are some common questions and their answers so you can make an informed decision. You need to know about any side effects of anything you are going to be taking. The only consistent side effect of creatine is weight gain. Some people also reported stomach problems, muscle cramping, dehydration, and muscle strains. In studies, these side effects didn’t happen with any greater frequency in people taking creatine. What form of creatine should you take? Candy bars, liquids, gums, and citrates can all contain creatine. Regular creatine monohydrate works just as well as any of these other products. They come in more flavors and are more convenient, even if they aren’t more effective. Making sure it is a high quality product is the most important thing. People also wanted to know if they needed to load with creatine. Taking smaller doses over a long period of time is what loading refers to. The first couple days of loading is when the muscles absorb all the creatine they can absorb. It is not necessary that you load for a long period of time. All that you need to do is take some for a couple days and then replenish after each workout. Should you take creatine alone or with other nutrients? Carbohydrates, proteins, and glucose can help you absorb creatine. D-pinitol may also help your muscles to use it better. A drink high in carbohydrates will increase your insulin and help you to use creatine more effectively. You also need to know when to take creatine. It makes sense that you would want to take it before a workout. It is actually more effective to take it after a workout with a carbohydrate or protein supplement. Your muscles will maintain your creatine stores this way. You also need to know if you should cycle on and off of creatine. Breaks every so often are required with some supplements. There is no evidence that this is needed with creatine. If you would like to cycle on and off of it, it is the most effective when you are engaged in heaving training, so plan accordingly.
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Some supplements are affected by caffeine or acidity. Mixing creatine with coffee, tea, or juice has not shown any negative effects on the body’s use of the supplement. All of those are much less acidic than stomach acid, and creatine is not broken down during the digestive process. The muscles ability to use creatine is also not affected by caffeine. Do men and women respond differently to creatine? While men and women can both benefit from creatine, women gain strength and muscle mass over a longer period of training than men.
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People are also anxious to know if the weight gained is water weight or muscle weight. Subjects taking creatine saw an increase in water retention. This initially led people to think that the weight was merely water retention. Closer study has shown that the water gained is actually proportional to that of muscles gained. The weight gained is mostly muscle mass.