Why am I talking about that?
Well, I had training on sports nutrition recently. And after going through protein isolates, protein concentrates, BCAAs, pre-workouts, and similar stuff the guy said:
If you get somebody asking what single supplement they can take to increase their strength, and muscle mass, direct them to creatine.
He said it works, and it’s probably the most researched sports substance ever.
Now, if you are in anything that involves weightlifting or other strenuous exercise you may be familiar with it, and may be even taking it already.
Personally, I’ve heard about it as something that bodybuilders take. But didn’t really know what it does.
In a nutshell, creatine is a peptide (a very small protein) that our body produces naturally.
Not only humans produce it though. All vertebrates. By vertebrates, I refer to all animals that have a spine.
The job of creatine? It recycles ATP. This ATP thing is an energy molecule that powers your muscles (and all life on planet Earth!).
Now, because creatine contributes to more ATP in your muscle cells the following is true:
More creatine = more energy in your muscles = increased power output = ultimately increased muscle mass (with continuous training)
This sounds attractive. Who doesn’t want, and won’t benefit from larger muscles? The short answer is everyone: a 5 year-old child, and a grandma.
Now, the second question: how do you increase the level of creatine in your body?
3 ways to raise creatine levels in your body
Your body produces creatine mainly in 2 places: liver and kidneys. Then via blood it get transported to your muscles, and other organs. But majority of creatine is stored in muscles. In fact, because of this, it was named after the Greek word for meat, kreas. What we call “meat” is muscles of animals, of course.
Also, note this: in order to make creatine, your body needs 3 amino acids: glycine, methionine, and arginine
Okay, these are 3 ways to boost creatine in your muscles:
1. Take a creatine supplement
2. Eat more meat (including fish)
3. Eat more foods that contains glycine, methionine, and arginine. This way you are giving your body a chance to produce more creatine naturally! (1)
#1 and #2 are out.
#1: All creatine supplements are made in the lab. So, they are synthetic!
#2: Obvious if you are plant-based
# 3 is best
So, we are left with #3. And this is a win-win way. Because you are not putting anything in your body that will make it suffer to some extent.
It’s confirmed that if you have more glycine, methionine, and arginine, you will have more creatine in your muscles.
And what foods can you get these amino acids from?
I’ll come up with the food lists next time. Of course, as essentially everything else on this blog, they will be ONLY plant foods that you can enjoy without cooking!
I’m glad I had a chance to learn about this substance (already implemented this knowledge in my diet).
I’m sure many people will find it useful as well.