In the last decade, creatine has taken the supplement market like a storm. Now it is available in pills, powder, capsules, and even in a liquid (unstable) formulation. Without a doubt, it is one of the most thoroughly researched supplements in the world.

Creatine formula

Creatine is synthesized from the amino acids glycine, arginine, and methionine, and produced by the liver, pancreas, and kidneys. About 95% of creatine is concentrated in skeletal muscle and a small amount in the brain.

Creatine is crucial for energy flow within skeletal muscle.

The only substance that can deliver energy for muscular contraction is ATP (adenosine triphosphate). By releasing a phosphate group (changing ATP in ADP) energy is released. The ATP pool is very limited and has to be refilled in short notice, as the next action is probably less than a few seconds away. There are 3 different systems for the body to rebuild ATP. The aerobic-, the anaerobic lactic-, and the anaerobic lactic system. The most efficient way is the anaerobic alactic system. In this system phosphocreatine (PCr), the body’s usable form of creatine is broken down and donates a phosphate group to ADP thus forming ATP.

How your body works

The anaerobic alactic system supplies the body with energy for short intensive actions but has a low capacity. If we increase the capacity, by for instance the addition of creatine, we can improve performance.

By supplementing creatine the PCr pool can be increased. Next to being produced in the body creatine is also present in small amounts in fish and meat. Trying to increase the PCr pool by eating fish and meat is a problem. Because of the very small amounts present in fish and meat, you would have to eat kilos to only get a few milligrams of creatine. This is a very insufficient method. A better solution is to isolate the creatine so it can be taken in a pure form.

Numerous studies have proven the benefits of supplementing with creatine monohydrate. Research indicates that supplementing creatine can elevate PCr levels in the muscles, increase cell volume, increases cell hydration, create a buffer against lactate building, increase performance during repeated bouts of resistance exercises, increase lean body mass and strength.

Creatine was originally intended to shift the border of fatigue in sprint events like the 100 m dash in athletics and short distances in swimming and cycling.

But pure sprinting is not the only area where the use of creatine can be beneficial. The PCr pool also plays an important role when short explosive actions are alternated with short rest periods (interval). Many sports are characterized by intervals, for example, soccer, tennis, hockey, volleyball etc. Supplementing creatine can help to shorten the recovery period by increasing the PCr pool and decreasing the time needed to form back PCr.

Kreb cyclus is how your body creates energy

Strength training has the same character as the before mentioned interval sports. A larger PCr pool and a faster formation of PCr make it possible to increase training volume and train at a higher intensity. By being able to train longer and harder a higher level of strength and lean body mass can be obtained.

The break down of PCr also contributes to buffering the lactate building seen in activities that rely on the anaerobic lactic system. Research has shown that using creatine increases performances at a high intensity over periods between 30 seconds-2 minutes.

If this performance increase can only be contributed to increased lactate buffer-capacity cannot be definitely concluded yet. It might well be the case that the increased PCr energy level by itself is responsible for the positive effects.

A further benefit of supplementing with creatine is that it will enhance muscle cell volume and hydration.

Studies indicate that cellular hydration is necessary for promoting muscle growth and development. It is easy to understand that a larger cell volume will mean more space for the take up of beneficial nutrients

The level of creatine that can be contained by the muscle tissue is limited to a maximum. When supplementing creatine, the increase in the level of PCr will be higher in persons who have a low natural level compared to persons with high natural levels. Vegetarians for example will have a very high increase in PCr when they start to take creatine.

Taking more creatine than the muscle tissue can contain will be of no extra benefit and a waste of money. The creatine-loading phase used in most studies is 20 g for 5 days divided over 4 serving of 5 g.

The recommended maintenance dose of creatine is no more than 5 g a day (one teaspoon).

It makes sense to cycle the use of creatine. Although not confirmed by research it might be possible that the specialized cells in the liver, pancreas, and kidney which normally produce creatine will get lazy when using creatine too long. Therefore it is advised to use creatine for no longer than 6 – 8 weeks followed by at least 1 month of no use.

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It is very important that the quality of the creatine you are using is of the highest level. All reliable research has been done with pharmaceutical quality creatine monohydrate like that of Force One. After the successful introduction of creatine on the world market by US companies the industry jumped on this “magical” supplement. Many companies, especially in the USA came up with fancy combinations that are supposed to work better (according to their own unproven commercial talks) and are much cheaper. Finally production and quality didn’t keep space with each other. Creatine was produced all over the world, even under non-controlled situations and sometimes in backyard factories. In our own conducted research we found numerous trademarks using cheap creatine with small to dangerous amounts of pollution. We even found cadmium! These products can produce side effects like headaches, fever, muscle cramps, nausea etc.

Ultimately the use of this product combined with a well-balanced diet, sufficiently heavy training, and the individual’s natural ability will determine the increase in lean body mass.

No sugar, salt, starch, artificial coloring, flavoring, or preservatives added. All components in this product are derived from natural sources.