Micronized creatine monohydrate defines a dietary supplement used by athletes and bodybuilders to increase muscle mass. These supplements typically provide up to three times the amount of creatine an average person gets from diet. Micronized creatine monohydrate contains the chemical methyl guanidine-acetic acid, created from three amino acids produced naturally in the body.
Enzymes in the liver, pancreas, and kidneys synthesize this acid to create creatine, a substance that stores energy in muscle cells and the brain. Supplements of micronized creatine monohydrate became popular with bodybuilders because 95 percent of the creatine in the human body is stored in muscles, where it is activated when a burst of energy is needed.
Proponents of micronized creatine monohydrates use these supplements during training because it might boost the effects of exercise by building larger muscle mass. They believe these products are safer than steroids and give athletes a temporary burst of energy to combat fatigue and increase strength. The term monohydrate means one molecule of water equals each molecule of creatine in the supplement.
Use of these supplements might produce nausea, diarrhea, and cramping, especially when someone first begins taking them. These side effects might lead to dehydration if excessive bodily fluids are lost through diarrhea or vomiting. Micronized creatine monohydrate also draws water to muscles, which might complicate dehydration. Extra fluids should be consumed when taking these supplements to address these concerns.
Other side effects of creatine led manufacturers to develop micronized creatine monohydrates, which meant reducing the size of particles to allow better absorption. Researchers found stomach acid destroyed some of the creatine and increased unwanted side effects. Better absorption in the stomach might allow more creatine to enter the bloodstream and reach muscles.
Adverse effects might also include the formation of kidney stones in some users, especially people who eat extra protein. Creatine can be obtained in small amounts by eating red meat and fish. An athlete would need to eat a pound of red meat to get 1 gram of creatine from diet alone. Some bodybuilders take up to three times this amount of micronized creatine monohydrate each day. Athletes commonly start out with about 20 grams a day for the first two weeks, a process called loading, before cutting back to 2 to 3 grams daily.
Little research on long-term use of these supplements exists. Some manufacturers add chemicals to supplements to counteract side effects, and risks may be associated with these additives. The advice of a doctor should be sought before using any dietary supplements to discuss their safety and effectiveness.