All You Need to Know About Creatine

by : Michael Greeves

Creatine supplements are very popular among athletes. Creatine supplies energy to muscle and nerve cells, making this very beneficial to athletes who use bursts of energy to compete. Creatine is not very beneficial to endurance athletes because they use a constant flow of energy instead of short bursts. Athletes who compete in weight lifting, sprinting, rowing, or any other similar sport benefit most from a creatine supplement. Before the supplement is explained further, it's important to know how creatine functions in the body.

Creatine is an organic acid found in amino acids in the body. It is synthesized by the liver, pancreas, and kidneys and converted into phosphocreatine and stored in skeletal muscles for later use. The amino acids that creatine is synthesized from are arginine, glycine, and methionine. Once the phosphocreatine is stored in skeletal muscles, it remains temporarily until used. Once used, more is synthesized, but there can be a lag in energy supply while more is being synthesized. This is why many athletes supplement their diet with creatine, because it creates more of a store of energy for use.

Creatine increases muscle strength by stimulating cell growth and will delay fatigue because of the added stores of energy. Creatine ingested can increase phosphocreatine levels by up to 20%. Taking creatine can lead to dehydration due to the amount of water needed for the synthesizing process, so staying hydrated is very important. People with kidney problems should not take creatine supplements.

Athletes sometimes take creatine in order to gain weight; however, the weight gain is most likely a result of the water retention in the muscles and not because of additional muscle mass. Many companies that market creatine will boast weight gain, but there are better supplements to take than creatine for gaining weight.

Ever since creatine supplementation was brought into the spotlight at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, many sports organizations called for a ban on the substance. It has not been banned in the United States, but recently the NCAA ruled that colleges could not supply creatine to their athletes, but the athletes are allowed to use creatine on their own. In some countries, the use of creatine has been banned because it is viewed as "doping".

Creatine use has been studied heavily, and short-term use of creatine is safe for virtually any age, weight, and fitness level. Long-term use has not been studied, but due to the kidney, liver, and pancreas use, only short-term doses are recommended. Most athletes will take a higher dose for a week and then low "maintenance" doses until their event. This has not shown any adverse effects to the body.

Creatine is a simple organic acid with complex ways of creation. Its benefits are simple - increased muscle strength and delayed fatigue. These two benefits are needed by any athlete that uses short burst of energy to compete. Creatine supplements will improve and enhance performance while giving you added benefits that have recently been discovered of improved mental performance and reduced mental fatigue so you can achieve your peak performance both physically and mentally!