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Creatine Supplement

Click Here For The Best Kre Alkalyn Creatine Supplement

Article care of bluediamondfitness.com

Creatine Monohydrate: The hottest dietary supplement on the market today. What is it? Where does it come from? What does it do?

by Rye Armstrong

Creatine marketing has spear-headed recent campaigns aimed at fitness fanatics, athletes and health-conscious people alike. According to research, college athletes, football players and body builders have shown the most significant increase in creatine usage. Creatine has become one of the hottest dietary supplements on the market. In addition to the rise of creatine marketing, there has also been a parallel increase in creatine research to determine if there is a role for creatine in strength enhancement. Research completed so far suggests potential health benefits can be attained from using this product. But creatine has been around for over a century. With all the hype from ad campaigns it is deluding to think that such a product exists that can be so beneficial to fitness training.

Touted as one of the only agents that can make you stronger and allow you to recover faster between workout sets, while at the same time packing on the muscles, creatine research still leaves much to be discovered. And all of this without the use of artificial chemicals, hormones or synthesized nutrients.

Creatine is a odorless crystaline, naturally occurring amino acid formed in the liver and kidneys. From there, 95 percent of it goes to the muscles and forms creatine phosphate, which boosts the bodys manufacturing of the energy producing molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the only chemical that powers muscle contraction and relaxation. Loading with creatine is reported to allow muscle fibers to work harder for a longer time before the body runs out of ATP. This allows for a heavier, more intense workout as creatine fuels muscle development at a greater speed.

Creatine is found in a variety of foods in various concentrations as well as within the human body. The richest source of creatine is in lean red meat -- 2.2 lbs. of steak contain approximately five grams of creatine. Vegetarians have been shown to have lower creatine storages than carnivores. But cooking and storing meat seriously reduces its creatine properties.

First discovered in 1832 by the French scientist Chevreul, creatine is unique because it is neither reabsorbed or secreted by the kidney and because of this property its excretion rate is used to measure kidney function. Energy production by all cells, including muscle, originates in a process called oxidative phosphorylation. This process uses the breakdown of glucose (glycosis) and other substances as fuel to produce high energy phosphate bonds in the form of ATP. The breakdown of ATP produces energy which is then used to drive reactions needed for cell survival. ATP is also used as the energy source of muscle contraction. The first reported benefits of creatine supplementation surfaced in a 1923 experiment done on rats running in a maze.

It has been theorized that by increasing the amount of free creatine in the diet one could increase the amount of phosphocreatine in muscle which would then provide better availability of high energy phosphate for energy production during muscle contraction. But wait, theres more. Creatine has also been promoted by companies that market it to do much more than make you stronger and allow faster recovery between sets. It is also believed to help pack on the pounds. When the muscle absorbs creatine, it also brings water with it. This promotes a phenomenon called cell volumizing or cellular hydration. When a muscle cell is hydrated it gets bigger, fuller and rounder. Take note; this is not the same thing as water retention.

Clinical Science posted results of a research experiment involving six subjects performing five sets of 30 maximal contractions with one-minute recovery periods. They showed greater peak muscle torque production in the final 10 contractions of set one, throughout sets two and four, and during the middle ten contractions of set five after creatine monohydrate was supplemented for five days. This study was compared to baseline performance and six other subjects taking placebos. They also had lower plasma ammonia accumulation, supporting the hypothesis of improved ATP replacement.

However, research experiments conducted on aerobic energy exercise participants such as runners has shown no performance enhancement. Creatine is believed to only be beneficial to high-intensity anaerobic exercises for short periods such as weight lifting. For football, hockey, basketball and tennis (high intensity sports), creatine may be of some benefit. Overall, creatine is most beneficial when used for sprinting type events such as running, swimming and cycling.

It is no wonder that research like this and myriad others has prompted the introduction of creatine into the sports marketing mainstream. But still, there are questions left unanswered by research. There have been anecdotal reports from numerous college-level trainers that athletes using creatine supplementation have experienced a delayed muscle cramping and soreness. It is currently not known whether the use of creatine is related to cramping and muscle strain.

The fact that the dietary level of creatine can affect our muscle creatine content, and that this content may not be optimal for maximum protein synthesis, suggests that creatine supplements may be of benefit for all active persons interested in maximizing the results they get from their exercise. This is especially true of vegetarians and other people getting little creatine in their diet.

How Does Creatine Work?

Creatine accepts a high energy phosphate from oxidative phosphorylation and becomes phosphocreatine. This phosphagen acts as a storage form of high energy phosphate. Under physiologic conditions, phosphocreatine permit ATP concentrations to be maintained in muscle when ATP is rapidly being utilized as a source of energy for muscular contraction. On the other hand, when ATP is plentiful the phosphocreatine concentration can build up to act as a store of high-energy phosphate. In muscle, a creatine phosphate shuttle has also been described which transports high-energy phosphate from mitochondria (organelle which is the site of oxidative phosphorylation) to the sarcolemma and which acts as a high energy phosphate buffer. Creatine is converted to phosphocreatine by the enzyme phosphocreatine kinase. The phosphate group is transferred from one molecule of ATP.

The major sources of energy during a fast and nonsustained muscle contraction, such as that of the 100m sprint, are creatine phosphate during the first 4-5 seconds and anaerobic glycolysis (the breakdown of glucose in the absence of oxygen to produce ATP). In contrast, during more sustained exercise, aerobic metabolism is the principal source of ATP. During aerobic exercise, the major fuel sources are blood glucose and free fatty acids which are broken down and go through the citric acid cycle to produce reducing equivalents which are then used to produce ATP. It is therefore more likely that if creatine supplementation has an effect it would only be seen during a brief, anaerobic exercise.

Key Benefits

Promotes muscular growth

Increases storage of instant anaerobic energy

Increases muscle strength

Improves endurance by delaying fatigue

Scientific References

Harris, R.C., et al. (1992) Elevation of creatine in resting and exercised muscle of normal subjects by creatine supplementation. Clinical Science 83:367-74.

Greenhaff, P.L., et al. (1993) Influence of oral creatine supplementation of muscle torque during repeated bouts of maximal voluntary exercise. Clinical Science 84; 565-71.

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