Creatine is formed in the body from amino acids and its main function is the conversion of food into energy. Why are creatine supplements good?
What is creatine and why do runners use it?
Creatine is a member of the guanidine phosphagen family, a substance produced in the body that helps make ATP (adenosine triphosphate), and ATP is what muscle uses for energy. Creatine is a compound of amino acids that provides the energy we need to increase performance in endurance sports.
Most creatine is found in our muscles, but small amounts also exist in the brain and, for men, in the testicles. Half of the body’s creatine supply comes from foods such as seafood and red meat, while the other half is created naturally in the body through the liver and kidneys, although small amounts are also found in the brain and, for men, the testicles.
Athletes, sportsmen and women, runners and running enthusiasts often use supplements to increase their power and endurance when, for example, running marathons or high-performance races, but in recent years creatine for running has become the most popular and widely used supplement due to its scientifically proven benefits, such as improved strength, performance and power, among many others.
Uses and benefits of creatine
You should know that creatine provides your muscles with immediate energy during a workout, so if you are an endurance runner, your body will need a lot of energy mixed between carbohydrates, fats and oxygen to produce ATP.
Creatine-based supplements provide the body with additional ATP, thereby, as mentioned above, enhancing high-intensity physical performance. As reported in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, creatine is one of the most popular nutritional supplements for runners, as in addition to athletic and exercise enhancement, creatine-based running aids are also good for post-exercise recovery, injury prevention, rehabilitation and more.
More specifically, creatine supplements for running help to:
- Improve performance during a run: at the start of a run we can produce energy without oxygen, but as we start to run more, the more oxygen we need, so with an increased oxygen requirement, muscles can easily become fatigued, and creatine can improve the quality of a high intensity run or workout.
- Increase muscle mass: Since muscles are made up of protein, creatine can help increase muscle mass. And when you have more muscle mass, you can do more reps, lift more weights and generally become stronger. Typically, with longer training sessions, leg muscles can reach a higher potential.
- Help you run better: as a result of increased muscle mass and strength, your muscles resist more and better, and your overall performance is much better. And, being able to improve a pre-race workout with more muscle mass allows you to gain oxygen and use it better.
- Post-workout or post-race cell damage is lower: creatine supplementation aids recovery after a high-performance run. Another study published by the National Library of Medicine (NIH), and conducted by US nutritionists, demonstrated how creatine supplementation can speed recovery time between bouts of intense exercise by mitigating muscle damage, and promote faster recovery of lost force production potential.
How much creatine do you need to improve physical performance?
While it is true that there is no set dosage for creatine intake for running, the International Society of Sports Nutrition has analysed different dosage forms of creatine supplementation in its reviews.
For athletes, and in particular for athletic performance, some people take 10 to 20 grams of creatine daily. This is then usually followed by a further maintenance dose of 2 grams to 5 grams of creatine per day. In addition, creatine, as noted above, can be obtained naturally from food, and these natural food sources include meat, poultry and fish, especially seafood, but also chicken and pork.
A standard diet contains about 1 gram of creatine per day and the rest is synthesised by the body, however, we suggest up to ten natural foods with a high creatine content.
From highest to lowest, the foods with the highest amount of creatine per 100 grams are:
- Red meat
In short, creatine is a safe nutritional supplement for athletes. Today, the adverse effects of consuming this substance in standard amounts are not yet known for sure, and Organic Silica supplements are especially designed for people who regularly engage in high-performance sport.