Creatine is an organic compound with acidic properties. The natural substance is created by the body from amino acids in the kidneys and liver. Creatine supplies energy to all cells, particularly those in the muscles. In fact, 95 percent of the body's natural creatine is found in skeletal muscle.
Creatine supplements gained popularity in the 1990s as a way to build muscle mass, strengthen the muscles and improve athletic performance. Numerous nutrition companies have created different supplement versions of the product. Today creatine is available in powder, tablet and liquid forms.
Unlike many supplements on the market, creatine is not a weight loss product. Rather, bodybuilders and athletes use creatine to increase muscle mass and gain weight. Scientific research suggests that creatine has various benefits for exercise performance. It has been shown to increase power and strength during intense workouts.
Since creatine causes muscle cells to retain water (and grow larger as a result), the supplement promotes weight gain rather than weight loss. Combined with a regular weightlifting and exercise program, creatine aids lean muscle development. The weight gain is most obvious in first time users.
Many bodybuilders and athletes can benefit from creatine supplements. To achieve the best results, they must understand the right way to utilize the product. Proper supplementation paves the way to lean muscle mass and better athletic performance.
Some athletes wonder if they can take creatine supplements with tea. The caffeine and creatine issue has been debated extensively in both the scientific and athletic communities. Different studies have yielded different results.
At least one study found that caffeine and creatine taken together may counteract each product's positive effects. The initial finding disturbed the athletic community, which understood creatine and caffeine to improve athletic performance when taken independently.
Other studies used powdered creatine administered with tea and coffee. The findings from this combination are promising for athletes and bodybuilders. Nevertheless, the debate on creatine and caffeine continues.
Many creatine users take the supplement with tea for a couple of reasons. Creatine powder is hard to dissolve in room temperature or cold beverages. Dissolution is much easier in a cup of warm tea or mug of hot coffee. The unique flavors of tea and coffee also mask the bitter creatine taste. The complete dissolution promoted by warm beverages makes digestion easier, as well.
Most athletes are convinced that the caffeine in tea does not greatly reduce the effects of creatine supplements. For example, combining creatine with warm caffeinated tea will not promote weight loss. Users who are doubtful can forgo caffeinated drinks for milk, juice and other beverages. They can also reap the supplement's benefits by replacing the powdered form with a tablet or liquid.
To get the most out of creatine, athletes must make the supplement work for them in whatever form they choose. Taken alone or with protein and carbohydrate, creatine is a proven way to build strong, lean muscle and increase exercise performance.
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