What is creatine monohydrate?
Creatine is the ergogenic aid with most scientific support as a nutritional supplement strategy to boost athletes performance. This substance is formed by the amino acid triplet: L-arginine, glycine and L-methionine.
Our body produces around 2g of creatine daily and may ingest more from food, especially through supplementation. Approximately 95% of creatine is stored in skeletal muscle, however it can also be found in other tissues, such as in the brain for example.
There are several types to look for when buying creatine, and one of the most well-known is creatine monohydrate. Each creatine monohydrate molecule is composed of 88% creatine and 12% water. It is available as a white, tasteless, water-soluble powder. It is highly effective and many athletes choose it as it is cheaper than the rest.
Creatine monohydrate properties
Creatine acts on the phosphocreatine energy substrate, in other words it acts to keep the ATP deposits saturated (Adenosín TriFosfato), to provide immediately accesible cellular energy for high-intensity energy demands.
One of the reasons to buy supplements and therefore creatine monohydrate, is to deal with limited ATP reserves in the body. In this way the maximum duration of effort can be extended by around 10 seconds. At that point one must then wait while more ATP is resynthesised. If we choose to continue using creatine monohydrate supplementation at these high levels this energy recharging time will be less.
Benefits of creatine monohydrate
The main benefits of creatine monohydrate are:
Increasing mass and muscle strength
Monohydrate creatine boosts the body's ability to develope muscle tissue due to increased cellular hydration, so the muscle will have better permeability, thereby providing a better absorption of amino acids for the cells.
Creatine monohydrate reduces recovery times
Monohydrate creatine helps mitigate cell damage and muscle inflammation after a hard workout. In addition to supporting recovery processes in strength and power training, it can also be beneficial in endurance sports.
Increases athletic ability with regards to explosive movements
The amount of ATP that we have can be increased by using creatine monohydrate supplements, allowing the muscles to store more of this energy molecule to provide greater strength and lean mass gain. Thanks to this extra energy supply, the athlete may increase the number of repetitions in a set, sprint faster or perform in sports where the strength component is the determining factor.
This property allows the body to stimulate protein synthesis through water retention occurring at the intracellular level, since it causes an ionic attraction effect, thereby increasing nitrogen retention.
New research provides information about the beneficial effect of creatine for our brains, protecting it from possible neurodegenerative diseases and promoting cognitive support.
This disease causes the loss of muscle mass in people of a certain age as time passes. One of the possible uses of creatine would be precisely the mitigation of this phenomenon, and also for its therapeutic benefits for muscle wasting diseases.
This important benefit may impact on those who suffer from diseases like diabetes, where the combination of training and supplementation with creatine can improve insulin sensitivity, increasing the activity of glucose transporter (GLUT-4), induced by growth factors IGF-1 and IGF-2, stimulated by the creatine itself.
What is creatine monohydrate for?
Creatine mainly supports type II muscle fibres, which are the fast-twitch fibres, used in high intensity efforts of short duration.
The contraction of these fibres is reinforced through this energetic support, helping the athlete to increase the number of repetitions, sprint faster, and even to maximise strength, whatever the sport or energy demands that may be involved.
The benefit of creatine monohydrate is that it allows sportspeople and athletes to store greater quantities of this energy for immediate use.
ATP is released to aid in the strength of the muscle contraction, under the described conditions, when required by the body. At this point the ATP is converted into ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate), an energy exchange unit.
How to take creatine monohydrate
Creatine works by means of cell saturation, meaning a loading stage is neccessary.
Creatine may be mixed with:
- Protein shakes
- Juices or other drinks
- Simply with water
A creatine monohydrate loading phase will take around 5-7 days, consuming a dosage of 4 - 5g daily.
After loading comes the maintenance phase, where the dosage is reduced to approximately 5g daily, continuing for around 3-4 weeks.
Is a loading phase neccessary?
A creatine loading phase is optional, however the benefits will be seen right away if it is done. If you opt not to do a loading phase, it is avisable to start with the following dosage from the first day:
- 0.1g of creatine for every Kg of body weight
Creatine and Whey Protein
Both supplements can be perfectly combined in the same milkshake. You can also make a 'stack' or combination of products with impressive results. It would be taken as a post-training shake:
- Glutamine + BCAAs + Creatine + Whey Protein
Side effects of creatine monohydrate
We can put creatine side effects into two categories:
Firstly, creatine retains water, but at the intracellular level and not subcutaeously. Therefore it will not compromise aesthetic goals; and ingesting creatine when working on definition may even be positive, since it can help acheive that toned muscular look.
On the other hand, the negative effects of creatine are mostly associated with the loading phase, where there may be certain stomach problems, such as diarrhea or even nausea. To avoid this problem, opting for another supplementation protocol is recommended.
Where to buy creatine monohydrate
Creatine is available to buy online and in many high street stores.
We have a wide range of products based on creatine at our website HSNstore.com. There you can see various types of creatine available at different prices, in addition to information on quality and opinions from our clients, all to help you choose the best option according to your needs.
What creatine should I buy?
Due to the large number of types of creatine, deciding which creatine to buy can be complicated. It is also availbable in the form of powder or as capsules. There are also different types in terms of molecular strucutre, the most important being:
- Kre - Alkalyn®
- HCI Creatine
- Creatine Ethyl Ester
- Other formulas that include various types of creatine combined with different ingredients
You also have the option of choosing a pre/post training supplement that includes creatine, as well as other active ingredients. The only drawback of these formulas is that the amount of creatine is not always sufficient. The option that all experts advise is to purchase a neutral-tasting product in its isolated form, so that we can prepare a personalised sports drink ourselves.
This option, as well as being cheaper in the long run, gives you the possibility of adjusting the amount of creatine depending on your personal needs, in order to create an ideal pre/intra/post training drink.
A highly recommended option is to buy pure pharmaceutical grade creatine, such as Creatine monohydrate Creapure®. It is tasteless and blends very well with all kinds of sports drinks.
Creatine and price
The price of creatine monohydrate supplements is highly variable since it depends on many factors, such as: type of raw ingredients, quantity, the manufacturing process, brand, format, and so on.
HSN have a special line called HSN Raw Series, where you can buy pure creatine Creapure® for less than 15 euros.
We do not compromoise on the quality of our raw ingredients in order to reduce costs, unlike other brands. We can provide the highest quality at truly affordable prices, due to the absence of intermediaries. The products are shipped directly from the factory to your home.