Creatine is one of the most well known supplements on the market but also one of the most misunderstood and misrepresented. This article aims to bust some of the myths and misconceptions around Creatine and its uses.
What is Creatine
Creatine is found in the muscles, brain and testicles in stores called phosphocreatine stores/creatine phosphate stores. Creatine phosphate is readily available to the cells and rapidly produces ATP. It also exists in limited concentrations and it is estimated that there is only about 100g of ATP and about 120g of creatine phosphate stored in the body, mostly within the muscles. Studies show that“supplementation can increase phosphocreatine (PCr) and creatine (Cr) stores by 10–40%”
Creatine is not a steroid
Firstly what is a steroid ? according to the definition in the Dictionary “any of a group of usually synthetic hormones that are derivatives of testosterone, are used medically especially to promote tissue growth, and are sometimes abused by athletes to increase the size and strength of their muscles and improve endurance” On the other hand Creatine, is a tripeptide compound, made up of three amino acids (L-arginine, L-glycine, and L-methionine) and has no relationship with testosterone.
Forms of Creatine
There are many sources of Creatine including from plants and animals. It can be obtained from a plant called ginseng but is most abundant in fish and meat, in particular salmon, tuna and beef. It can be taken in the form of creatine powder or in tablet form depending on which supplement company you use. The human body can create creatine by synthesising it in the liver from the amino acids L-arginine, glycine, and L-methionine.
But is Creatine safe ?
There are a lot of claims floating around the vast internet with claims such as “Creatine Causes Kidney Problem” and “Creatine gives you Roid Rage”, but the reality is Creatine is one of the most thoroughly researched supplements and every study agrees: Creatine is safe. Not, creatine is safe in some scenarios, or creatine is great for athletes but Creatine is Safe.
So what are the benefits of supplementing with Creatine ?
In a study in the study (J Strength Cond Res. 2003 Nov;17(4):822-31. Effects of creatine supplementation and resistance training on muscle strength and weightlifting performance.) the team analysed the data from a wide selection of studies looking at the effect of Creatine on Strength and muscle gain. What they found was that there is substantial evidence to indicate that Creatine supplementation during resistance training is more effective at increasing muscle strength and weightlifting performance than resistance training alone.
Other Studies have found that Creatine also improves endurance, may reduce the inflammatory response induced by strenuous exercise, helps keep you better hydrated in hot outdoor conditions. It has also been discovered in another study that Creatine users had significantly less cramping, heat illness or dehydration, muscle tightness, muscle strains, and total injuries than non-users.
Jose Antonio, PhD, said, “Creatine has been shown to have beneficial effects in kids with traumatic brain injury, kids being treated for cancer, [and] kids with muscular dystrophy as well as teenage athletes.”
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