What is Creatine

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What Is Creatine? By : http://superbodybuildingtips.wordpress.com Creatine is a naturally occurring molecule in the body located primarily in skeletal muscle tissue (Mottram, 2005). Although most of the creatine found in the body is contained in skeletal muscles, it must first be metabolized by the liver and then transported to the skeletal muscles where it can be used. The sole end product of creatine is called creatinine. Creatine is constantly being degraded to creatinine on a daily basis. So
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  What Is Creatine? By : http://superbodybuildingtips.wordpress.comCreatine is a naturally occurring molecule in the body located primarily in skeletal muscle tissue(Mottram, 2005). Although most of the creatine found in the body is contained in skeletalmuscles, it must first be metabolized by the liver and then transported to the skeletal muscleswhere it can be used.The sole end product of creatine is called creatinine. Creatine is constantly being degraded tocreatinine on a daily basis. So, the main difference between creatine vs creatinine is thatcreatinine is the end product of creatine that is ultimately passed through the kidneys andexcreted through urine. In fact, the turnover rate of creatine to creatinine is around 2 g/day in a70 kg person (Mottram, 2005).Creatine is replaced in the body by means of endogenous synthesis and exogenous sources in thediet (Mottram, 2005). Foods that contain adequate amounts of creatine include meat and fish(which is why many vegetarians have low concentrations of creatine levels). What is Creatine Used For? The body uses three systems to supply the ATP (adenosine triphosphate) energy needed to live.One of those energy systems, called phosphocreatine/creatine, relies heavily upon creatine toreplenish ATP energy supply during short term, high intensity exercise, such as sprinting and power lifting. During short term, high intensity exercise (lasting around 10 seconds or less) mostof the energy supplied to the body is via the phosphocreatine/creatine energy system. As ATP is broken down to supply energy, phosphocreatine rapidly replenishes it, with the help from theenzyme creatine kinase. As exercise becomes longer, other energy systems, either glycolysis or oxidative, are needed to supply the required energy. Confused yet? Physiology of the body can be very confusing (God designed us to be extremely complex!). If you want to learn more aboutthe process of the phosphocreatine energy system and how creatine and creatine kinase areinvolved, you can always Wikipedia creatine. The main thing to understand is that duringmaximal intensity exercise lasting around 10 seconds or less, creatine and creatine kinase are themain constituents that allow for the replenishment of ATP energy, which leads to my nextquestion: why take creatine? Why Take Creatine So why take creatine? If you were paying attention above, you would have learned that creatine,along with the help from the enzyme creatine kinase, are the primary constituents involved in thereplenishment of ATP energy during maximal intensity exercise lasting approximately 10seconds or less. So, in theory, the more creatine that is available in the body, the more efficientATP replenishment will be. As a result, use of creatine supplementation may prolong single bouts of high intensity exercise, as well as repeated bouts of high intensity exercise. Both possible outcomes are very appealing to athletes participating in sports consisting of brief  periods of high intensity bouts of activity, such as sprinting, football, or bodybuilding.  Additionally, the use of creatine causes muscle tissue to retain water, which has a positive effecton muscle development in a sense that increased muscle water has been shown to stimulate protein synthesis (Mottram, 2005). Effects of Creatine on Repeated Bouts of High Intensity Exercise The use of creatine supplementation can significantly elevate levels of creatine stored in the body. Makes sense right? Due to the increased levels of creatine, subjects taking creatine may beable to recover faster in between repeated bouts of high intensity exercise. Several studies have proved this theory correct.One such study, conducted by Greenhaff and colleagues, consisted of 12 subjects who performed5 bouts of 30 maximal knee extensions exercises with 1 minute of recovery between each bout.The subjects were then loaded with 20 g/day of creatine for 5 days and performed the kneeextensions again. The results showed that creatine loading of 20 g/ day for 5 days allowed thesubjects to increase peak muscle torque during the final 10 contractions for all 5 bouts (Mottram,2005).Another study, conducted by Balson et al. (Mottram, 2005), consisted of 16 subjects, dividedinto a creatine group and placebo group, who performed ten 6 second bouts of high intensitycycling with 30 seconds of rest in between each bout. The creatine loading amount of thecreatine group was 20 g/ day for 6 days. Authors concluded that the creatine loading group wereable to maintain the required cycling revolutions per minute (rpm) during the last 2 seconds of each bout, as opposed to the placebo group who failed to maintain after the 4th bout (Mottram,2005). Additionally, during the 9th and 10th bout, the placebo group averaged 125 rpm while thecreatine loading group averaged 138 rpm. Effects of Creatine on Single Bouts of High Intensity Exercise As we concluded above, the use of creatine may have a positive effect on the ability to performrepeated bouts of high intensity exercise. Well what are the effects of creatine on single bouts of high intensity exercise? Unfortunately, most  studies have shown the use of creatine does nothave a significant effect on single bouts of high intensity exercise. On the other hand, one studyconsisting of a single bout of 10 seconds of sprint cycling followed by 5 bouts of 6 secondsprinting with a 30 second rest between bouts, did show an increase in power (Mottram, 2005).Apparently, the use of creatine may increase power in single bouts of high intensity exercisewhen fatigue is present from an earlier activity (Mottram, 2005). Effects of Creatine on Strength The major energy system involved in strength weight training is the phosphocreatine/creatinesystem. Most studies have shown a positive correlation between the use of creatine and strength.In fact, studies emphasizing the use of isometric, isokinetic, and isotonic strength exercisesshowed that the use of creatine improved strength between 6 and 28 percent (Mottram, 2005).Myself, along with many others, can attest to the fact that creatine definitely increases strength,which is why it is so popular amongst competitive sports and bodybuilding.  Effects of Creatine on Endurance Although creatine plays a more prevalent role in high intensity, short bouts of exercise, somestudies have shown that the use of creatine may have an effect on endurance activities.According to the finding of Bosco et al., subjects improved their 12 minute walk/run test after creatine loading with 5 g/day for 42 days. Unfortunately, when it comes to long enduranceevents, such as the 5k, the use of creatine has not shown any significant positive effects. Creatine and Gaining Mass One of the primary benefits that interest people about creatine is an increase in lean body mass.Williams et al. concluded that out of 58 studies assessing body mass changes when creatingloading for 5 or 6 days, 43 reported significant increase mass (Mottram, 2005). One reason thesubjects were gaining mass may be attributed to the retention of water weight in the musclescause by the use of creatine. Regardless, the use of creatine in conjunction with a soundresistance training  program can and probably will increase lean muscle mass to a certain extent.So, for those of you who are hard gainers and are interested in gaining mass, creatine may be justthe thing you need! However, to weigh the benefits of takingcreatine monohydrate, you shouldfirst decide whether or not creatine loading is beneficial. Muscle Creatine Loading Some people believe that creatine loading is not beneficial, while others believe it is absolutelynecessary to achieve the positive effects of creatine. I disagree with the latter. Studies haveshown that muscle creatine concentrations can still be significantly elevated using a lower creatine dose during creatine loading. In fact, one study reported that creating loading with just 3g/day over a 4 week period resulted in muscle creatine concentrations comparable to those foundwhen 20 g/day were taken over a 5 day span (Mottram, 2005). However, everybody's body isdifferent and therefore will respond differently to creatine loading. To be on the safe side, Iwould not recommend taking 20 g/day during the creatine loading phase. Although taking alower creatine dose may delay potential effects of creatine, it is probably much safer for the bodyin the long run. Additionally, to maximize the potential effects of creatine, studies have shownthat consuming at least 370 g of simple carbohydrates daily may enhance creatine concentrationsin muscle by up to 60 percent (Mottram, 2005)! Side Effects of Creatine Many of the reported health problems that arose from the use of creatine have been attributed tocreatine loading and taking too high of a creatine dose. Though very unlikely, one creatine sideeffect that can occur is renal failure. However, you would probably have to consume 20 g/day or more for an extended amount of time for this to occur. A study conducted by Juhn et al.concluded that creatine loading with 10g/day for 9 weeks failed to show any sign of impairmenton the renal system, which proves how ill-informed people are about creatine and the possibleside effects of creatine (Mottram, 2005).  Another report published in the  Lancet  in 1998 involved a football player who wassupplementing with the use of creatine for 7 weeks (Mottram, 2005). Apparently, the football player had been suffering from a kidney dysfunction called focal segmental glomerulosclerosis.As a result of the use of creatine, creatinine clearance began to fall causing some negative sideeffects. This particular incident gave rise to the fact that the use of creatine by someone currentlysuffering from a kidney dysfunction is probably not the smartest idea. Additionally, in spite of the incident, many studies have shown no negative side effects of creatine on kidney functionwhen taking creatine for a long or short period of time (Mottram, 2005).Aside from the rare effects of creatine listed above, there are a few milder effects of creatine thatyou should be aware of. Common negative effects of creatine that people have complained aboutinclude dehydration; muscle cramps; gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea, gas, andstomach pain; and muscular injuries (Mottram, 2005). Obviously, dehydration can be easilyavoided by drinking at least 8 glasses of water daily, if not more.Typically, the majority of studies on the effects of creatine have not reported significant healthcomplications as a result of the use of creatine. If you have normal kidney function and usecreatine in moderation, chances are it is not going to negatively affect you. Taking 3 to 5 g/dayfor maintenance with adequate water intake is normally recommended by fitness experts(Mottram, 2005). However, as always, you should consult your doctor first to ensure you arehealthy enough to include creatine in your strength weight training regimen. Final Note About Creatine Creatine is an essential natural food supplement composed of amino acids (Mottram, 2005). It isthe primary source of ATP replenishment for the phosphocreatine/creatine energy system.Without it, we would be unable to replenish ATP energy needed to survive.Scientists are starting to learn more about creatine and why the use of creatine is very beneficialto athletes engaging in repetitive, high intensity sports.So why take creatine? A few noteworthy effects of creatine include: ã enhancing peak muscle torque during repeated bouts of high intensity exercise ã enhancing peak muscle torque during single bouts of high intensity exercise if previousfatigue is present ã increasing overall strength ã  possibly improving times in short distance runs (not the 5k) or walks ã gaining massAlthough the effects of creatine can lead to serious side effects, most studies have provedotherwise. Subjects who suffered serious complications from the use of creatine monohydratewere typically ingesting a high dose of creatine for an extended period of time, which is never recommended. However, less severe effects of creatine that  some experience includesgastrointestinal issues, such as gas, diarrhea, and stomach pain; muscle cramps; muscle injuries;and dehydration.
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