Where Does Creatine Come From (And Should You Be Taking It)? | Exercise.com Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

Where Does Creatine Come From (And Should You Be Taking It)?

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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  • Creatine is an amino acid that occurs naturally in the body and, when supplemented, can help you build muscle and burn fat.
  • Creatine is safe and effective for most people to take.
  • As with any other muscle-building supplement, creatine should be taken in conjunction with consistent exercise.

Creatine has become a popular supplement for everyone from athletes to nutrition enthusiasts. But what is creatine and where does it come from?

You may have heard stories about how creatine is safe and completely natural. Alternatively, you may have read that creatine is dangerous and illegal.

Well, here are the facts to help you decide for yourself.

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What Is Creatine?

Creatine is an amino acid your body naturally produces, primarily in your liver and kidneys. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein.

Creatine is used mostly in the muscles of the skeleton, such as biceps, pectorals, and those that make up your body’s formation. For a more scientific rundown, here’s a short video:

Where Does Creatine Come From?

Creatine is found mostly in meat, such as beef and fish, in addition to the quantity produced naturally in your body. When you eat meat, you are actually eating the muscle of animals.

For any strenuous training such as bodybuilding and running, the creatine produced by your body is often insufficient to maintain the necessary energy and stamina.

You can get more information about choosing the right meats in the proper amounts by going to the website of the Harvard School of Public Health.

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What Does Creatine Do?

Creatine helps your muscles retain water and fluids. It is a preferred choice among bodybuilders and other sports competitors because it results in a bulkier appearance.

Creatine also helps increase energy by aiding your body in the production of adenosine triphosphate, usually seen abbreviated as ATP. This substance helps your muscles contract more so you can perform extra repetitions, meaning you can exercise longer.

The process of building muscle includes working them through vigorous exercise and maximum weights. Muscle mass is created during the rest periods you take between training sessions when your body works to repair itself.

Having more protein in your muscles from using creatine supplements helps muscles to restore themselves sooner.

Since it is a natural substance that can be found in a variety of forms, creatine is rapidly absorbed. It is also said to keep proteins from breaking down. This makes it easier for creatine to get to the muscles and more useful for energy and endurance in the muscles.

Using creatine supplements in addition to what you receive from your food intake can improve your ability to work out more efficiently. This can result in making you stronger and assist in building muscle mass.

Since taking creatine can help you enhance your training program, you see the results of your efforts faster. This serves as a good motivator to keep going.

Remember that creatine is not a miracle substance! Without hard work and patience, you will not reach your goals. It should be used as intended — a complement to your existing training and diet. Creatine is best taken before you begin exercising.

Given that creatine is a natural amino acid, it is completely safe. Also, since it results in extra protein for your body, creatine supplements are perfectly legal.

Are There Any Harmful Side Effects of Taking Creatine?

Some people have reported problems with their kidneys or stomach. This occurs most often among those who do not take the product as directed or someone who has a preexisting condition.

There is also the potential for muscle cramps, especially if you are not properly hydrated.

Always be sure to consult with your doctor or another medical professional before starting any supplement regimen to make sure you are healthy enough to take it.

What Are the Different Types of Creatine?

A quick look at the shelves in the store or the offerings online can often cause more uncertainty when you see the various words listed after the word “creatine” on the labels.

You can find products with different types of creatine — such as creatine monohydrate — as well as supplements in which creatine is combined with something else, such as protein.

All these products are simply giving your body extra creatine in assorted amounts or with other valuable ingredients. Once you understand this, it is much easier to decipher the claims on the packaging.

Among the creatine products, you will see are micronized creatine, creatine ethyl ester, and also creatine with sugar or glutamine. Additionally, there are various forms of these products, including pills, powders, and liquids.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the benefits of creatine?

Creatine helps you build muscle. Research has shown that people with more muscle tend to have a higher metabolism, allowing them to use calories from food intake more effectively. In short, when you have more muscle you burn fat easier.

Do I have to take supplements?

Unless your doctor has instructed you to take certain supplements, you do not have to take them.

Are supplements safe?

Whether or not dietary supplements are safe to take depends on a number of factors. Learn more about the safety of supplements here.

What supplements do I need to take?

No one can answer that aside from your doctor. To learn more about the various supplements that doctors commonly recommend, check out this article.

Combined with a good fitness program, taking creatine can be a safe and effective way to build muscle and lose weight. Check out our PRO Plan today to get started staying motivated and fit every day of the year!

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