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Creatine Supplementation: Effective or a Waste Of Money?

Creatine supplementation was first popularized in the early 1990s. However, researchers and scientists have known about the energy source found in creatine since the early 20th century.

A Little History Behind Creatine

It was in 1912 that Willey Glover Denis and Otto Folin first proved that using a creatine supplements could significantly boost the amount of creatine within the muscles. It was not until the 1920’s that scientists and researchers discovered the compound “creatine phosphate”, showing this to be one of the main factors that would help increase the metabolism of skeletal muscles.

Creatine Becomes Popular In The 1990s

In 1992, the Olympics were held in Barcelona and this is when create first became widely known due to an article that was published in the Times newspaper. This article reported that the famous athlete Linford Christie, who you may remember won the gold medal for the 100m sprint, used creatine supplementation as a way to boost his athletic performance.

Another famous athlete who was reported to be using creatine supplements was Sally Gunnell, who was also a gold medalist in the 400 meter hurdles. This shows that even women too can benefit from this supplement.

Although there were creatine supplements available in the UK at that time, these were low potency supplements.

Around 1993, creatine supplementation would catch on and manufacturers were now competing to make the most potent supplement.  It was discovered that taking creatine with simple carbohydrates significantly improved muscle creatine stores. One company created ready-to-mix supplement that would become very popular with bodybuilders.

About five years later, a competing company came up with a product with alpha lipoic acid. Alpha lipoic acid had been shown to enhance the concentration of create within the muscles. The supplement too became very popular.

Is Creatine Really That Effective?

It has been well over 100 years now since we first discovered the benefits of creatine as an athletic performance enhancer. That alone says something. The scientific evidence carried out about creatine supplementation has been nothing short of extensive.

For high-intensity and aerobic exercises, creatine has been proven to increase the maximum performance levels by 5 to 15%. This figure applies to exercise such as cycling, sprinting and also strength training such as weightlifting.

You must keep in mind though, creatine is effective for short, high-intensity workouts and is not intended or even proven to benefit those looking to improve their athletic endurance.

Clinical Studies: The Effects on Your Body

Numerous studies have been taken to determine whether creatine has any adverse side effects on the human body. Despite media reports, there is so far no real evidence that shows creatine to have adverse effects. Virtually all studies indicate positive effects.

One such study was carried out in 2006 which resulted in a 22% increase in the level of testosterone in the body. As you may know, testosterone is anabolic.

In 2008 another study was carried out which displayed a 24% increase in what is known as insulin-like growth factor 1 within the muscle. These particular results were taken after an eight-week period of resistance training between two groups of people; one who took the supplementation and others who were simply taking placebo for the same amount of time.

Creatine supplementation does not work for everyone though, so the best thing would be to test it on self while also testing different brands. There are numerous forms of creatine supplements with the most common being creatine monohydrate. This may come in a capsule, tablet form, or even in a powder to mix into water or as a shake.

David Kamau (aka Dawg) is a health and fitness buff and loves to write about it. He offers supplements reviews and updates at his blog, including debunking some myths, at his blog.

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