03/05/2017 - 21:01

Creatine en waarom je het nodig hebt

Want to boost your performance in the gym? Lift more weight and perform more repetitions? Creatine will help you do that because it enhances your muscles during intense, short bursts of power training. It sounds like doping, but it isn't. This is because creatine is a substance that naturally occurs in the body. In this article you can read everything you need to know about this amazing substance.  

In the body

The French chemist Michel-Eugène Chevreul discovered creatine in 1832, when researching the components that make up meat. The name also comes from 'kreas', which is ancient Greek for meat.

Creatine is a nitrogenous organic compound that occurs naturally in the body. An average adult body contains approximately 120 grams. It is produced in the liver, where it is created from three amino acids: arginine, glycine and methionine. It is an intermediate product in the supply of energy for muscle and nerve cells. The metabolic precursor of creatine is Glycocyamine, which is converted into creatine with the help of the enzyme Guanidinoacetate N-methyltransferase. Unfortunately it is not possible to make your body produce more creatine.

Your diet can also provide you with creatine. Beef and salt herring, for example, contain reasonable amounts of creatine. On average your diet provides you with approximately one gram of creatine a day. Since 1992, it has also been available as a supplement and has been incredibly popular ever since. Creatine is ultimately converted into creatinine, which is then excreted via the kidneys with urine. 

Creatine phosphates

The energy system of the muscles is a rather complicated matter. In a nutshell it boils down to the following: muscles use Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) as energy. As soon as this substance is used, Adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and phosphate (P) are left over (as well as energy). Creatine phosphate (CP) can release its phosphate moiety so that it can connect to the ADP.  This recreates ATP, which can be used again as energy. Therefore adequate amounts of creatine phosphate means more energy. And more creatine means more creatine phosphate, and therefore also more energy. This is fairly logical.

What kind do you need?

Creatine Monohydrate is by far the safest and most studied form of creatine. All other available forms are more expensive and less effective. Even the liquid preparations manufacturers claim are absorbed by the body more effectively, do not match it.

How much do you need?

When you start using creating it is recommended that at first you take 20 grams a day for between a couple of days and a week, spread throughout the day. This is also called the 'loading (up) phase' and ensures that you feel the effects very quickly. There is no point taking more because any amount not absorbed is simply excreted in your urine. This is a waste of money. If you prefer to take it more slowly, you can also spread the loading (up) process over circa 30 days. In this case you take approximately 5 grams of creatine a day.

The loading (up) phase is followed by the so-called maintenance phase, which lasts on average between two and four weeks. You then take around 5 grams (with 400 ml of water) after each workout. You could also take it before the workout, but it is much more effective afterwards. It's not really worth taking less than 3 grams, as you probably won't notice any difference. It is also possible to take a double-buffered creatine monohydrate, such as 3 grams (4 capsules) of Crea-Trona . The buffer ensures that the creatine is absorbed more effectively, which means 3 grams suffices and provides optimal results.

If, in the beginning, you opt for the quick loading (up) approach you absolutely cannot do without supplements. Beef contains around just 5 grams of creatine per kilo. If you want to reach 20 grams you'll need to consume around four kilos of beef a day! So, a drink containing 20 grams of powder is a much better option. 

What benefits does it provide?

By taking extra creatine, you increase the amount of creatine phosphate in your muscles by approximately 20 percent. In practice this means that you can increase your maximum strength during one repetition by five percent and your stamina by 14 percent. This equates to being able to perform an average of five extra repetitions. Sprinters can also benefit from taking creatine but endurance athletes will hardly notice any difference, a slight advantage in a possible final sprint at most. An additional advantage for endurance athletes is of course weight gain.

The following improvements are generally observed:

  • Increased strength
  • Reduced tiredness during workouts
  • Faster recovery
  • Less muscle pain
  • Higher workout intensity

Moreover, 20 to 30 percent of all people that take creatine feel no effect. This has to do with the amount of creatine naturally found in the muscles. In some people this is already the maximum that can be absorbed and a supplement is of no use. This is why vegetarians often respond well, because they do not consume the creatine naturally found in meat. Creatine does not appear on the doping list because it is a substance that occurs in a regular diet and in your body. Therefore you can try it safely, such as Creatine by Creapure.


Creatine en waarom je het nodig hebt

Side effects

Creatine does not actually have any side effects. In the worst-case scenario you may suffer cramps, diarrhoea and flatulence, but this is practically always the result of overdosing. These complaints also disappear on their own. There is generally weight gain, at first because water is drawn into your muscles. For this reason it is recommended that you drink extra water on a daily basis during the period in which you use creatine. Approximately half to one full litre more than usual (do this especially if you are using caffeine as well as creatine). The consumption of alcohol could influence the effect of creatine. Alcohol extracts moisture from your body and creatine does the opposite. Therefore we advise you drink as little alcohol as possible during the creatine cure. Alcohol also counteracts muscle growth, so it is not a good idea anyway.

After approximately one week any weight gain will be solely due to an increase in muscle mass. In any case you can count on weight gain amounting to approximately one to two kilos during the entire cure. The moisture may result in you looking more muscular as well as not so dehydrated. The latter ends when you stop taking creatine. You will retain the muscle, providing you continue to work out.

It is sometimes said that creatine can cause muscle cramps, violent rages and kidney damage but none of these have been scientifically proven. On the other hand a study in the New England Journal Of Medicine reveals that five grams of creatine a day can improve the effectiveness of antidepressants.

How long can you use it for?

Although no negative effects have yet been demonstrated for the long-term use of creatine, it is generally recommended that you stop taking the supplement for a couple of weeks after you have been taking it for around eight weeks. This relates to the concern that the body itself will stop producing creatine altogether. When you stop using creatine it takes around four weeks before the concentration in your muscles returns to the previous level. Any moisture left in your muscles will also disappear. You will retain the muscle, providing you continue to work out.

Myths about creatine

The most widespread myth about creatine is that it can cause testicular cancer. This myth originated from a survey published in the British Journal Of Cancer in April 2015. It appeared to show a link between muscle enhancing supplements and the risk of cancer. Sports nutritionist and Sports Supplements author Anita Bean states: "The survey in that study involved 30 supplements, not just creatine. It included banned prohormones such as androstenedione, which is known for its negative side effects." The researchers' conclusion was that a remarkably high percentage of the 356 participants with testicular cancer had used one of the 30 supplements. "Therefore it is a futile study", Bean says. "If the study revealed anything, it is that there is a risk of a link between the banned substances and possible 'hidden' steroids. Not that there is a link between creatine and cancer. A link was not even established between cancer and just one of the supplements."

It is also said that you will go bald sooner if you use creatine. The idea is that going bald relatively early is caused by dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It is still unclear whether or not this is true. There is one study that indicates the use of creatine potentially results in a higher level of DHT. Therefore it is far too soon for us to be able to say whether creatine will or will not make you go bald. 


Creatine is absolutely safe; your body produces it naturally, albeit in lower amounts. You are only advised to consult your general practitioner before starting to use creatine if you have problems with your kidneys or liver. And if you have any doubts, of course it is a good idea not to continue using it for long, successive periods.

Creatine improves physical performance during high intensity, brief exercises and is therefore suitable for fitness training, bodybuilding, martial arts, sprinting and other explosive sports. Even cycle racers and footballers could benefit from it. They also have to accelerate and so use the ATP energy system. To find out if it could offer you benefits, you can simply try it. If it doesn't help, then no harm done!

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