Posted by Dayne Hudson in Plant Based
Estimated reading time: 5mins
Creatine is, without doubt, the most researched and effective supplement you can get your hands on. It gives you more energy and may help you grow more muscle -- everyone in the gym has told you that. But for vegans, supplementation of creatine is critical because you can only get it from animal products, or a plant-based supplement. This article will outline what creatine is, and detail why it's so important for vegans.
Increasing muscle strength is an important goal when training and using supplements, and creatine, an organic compound, does a fine job at this. Creatine allows muscles to produce more adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a high-powered energy-carrying molecule that gives you energy during exercise. So by taking creatine, you're getting the energy to lift more which may help with muscle gains. Given that one of the key principles of muscle growth is progressive overload (adding more weight to the bar) you're putting yourself into a position for success.
And when research examines the role of creatine on muscle growth directly, it comes up favourably; those who take creatine can double the amount of muscle growth compared to those who don't.
One study placed subjects on diets that restricted animal products like beef, chicken, eggs and dairy, and found significant reductions in their muscle creatine levels. So this is where supplementing with creatine for a vegan becomes absolutely critical if they want to take advantage of the supplements increased power and muscle growth benefits. Moreover, creatine will also help vegans with recovery.
But there's another area of research that is interesting to scientists -- do vegans respond better to creatine?
One of the limitations currently in the literature on creatine and vegans is that many of the subjects studied haven't been athletic.
But in two studies, recreational athletes were examined. They either swam, jogged or walked regularly and boasted 1-5 years of resistance training experience.
One of these studies randomised 18 female and male vegetarians and 24 male and female omnivores to creatine. The subjects took 0.25 grams of creatine per kilogram of lean tissue mass per day for 1 week. After this "loading" phase, they added 0.0625 grams of creatine per kilogram of lean tissue mass per day for 56 days. There were also placebo groups. The subjects performed a high-volume resistance training program, training all major muscle groups over three days.
Quite remarkably, they found vegetarians on creatine had a greater increase in total creatine in their leg muscles than other groups! This translated to a larger increase in lean muscle and a superior ability when performing a muscular endurance task of 50 repetitions of leg extensions!
Further research will determine if vegans and vegetarians respond better to creatine than omnivores.
Let’s say Bulk Nutrients customer “Marcus” wants to reap the muscle-building benefits of creatine as quickly as possible. In this case, “Marcus” would need to:
Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to load creatine; 5 grams per day will be fine. However, loading just helps you to saturate muscles faster.
Our Bulk Nutrients Creatine Monohydrate contains 3 grams per serve, to ensure you get enough creatine regardless of what stage you're at.
What we know currently is that creatine can increase muscle growth, performance, brain function and memory. And vegans struggle to get enough creatine because it's only found naturally in animal products. But this is no reason to be concerned, as adequate creatine supplementation solves this problem quickly. Following a vegan diet doesn't hinder any potential progress when a clear and practical creatine supplementation plan is carried out in line with the latest scientific recommendations!