Creatine is the most talked about and researched supplement for fitness people and athletes. Let’s talk about creatine
1. What is Creatine?
Creatine is an organic compound with the formula (H2N)(HN)CN(CH3)CH2CO2H. It is found in living organisms with vertebrae. Chemically, it does the work of recycling adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the cells of the body.
IUPAC has named Creatine as 2-[Carbamimidoyl(methyl)amino]acetic acid. Per the name, it is an amino acid generally created in the liver, pancreas and kidneys. It is made from the amino acids arginine, glycine and methionine. It has been found that almost all of the Creatine produced by the body is stored in muscle tissues. The remaining small amount goes to the brain, heart and testes (in males). Any person can increase the Creatine content in the body through a diet of meat products. Red meat and fish specifically has high concentrations of Creatine. An average person only needs about 2 grams of Creatine every day. This need is definitely met through a normal diet plus the body’s natural production.
It can also be taken in as a supplement. Creatine when taken as a supplement increases power and performance during an intense workout session, to put it simply.
2. What is Creatine phosphate?
Creatine phosphate (CP) is also known as phosphocreatine (PCr). It is a phosphorylated Creatine molecule. It is formed by the conversion of two amino acids – arginine and glycine – into guanidinoacetate. To this, a methyl group is added to form phosphocreatine.
It cannot pass through cell membranes. However, it is kept as a reserve of phosphates which can help in replenishing the used up ATP in the muscle tissues. Whenever the reserves of ATP is running low, a phosphate is taken from PCr. This gets added to ADP or Adenosine Diphosphate. This is an easy method to replenish ATP molecules.
Phosphocreatine is used in certain hospitals for cardiovascular problems under the name Neoton. Some professional athletes also make use of the substance for enhancing performance, as it is not a controlled substance. The major function of PCr is thus the recycling of ATP.
3. What Is Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP)?
ATP is the abbreviation for Adenosine Triphosphate. It is generally known as the energy currency of the cell. It is ATP that provides energy to the muscles in the body for various processes.
Wikipedia defines ATP as a complex organic chemical compound that can provide the energy required for the body to perform various processes in living cells. Some of such processes are muscle contractions, nerve impulse propagations, and chemical synthesis.
In simple terms, ATP can be thought of as a molecule that signifies potential energy. Every time our muscles need energy, the ATP gets broken down into its constituents. Those are Adenosine Diphosphate (ADP) and Phosphate molecule. When this reaction occurs, energy is released which is used for muscle contractions.
4. What does Creatine do?
Creatine when taken as a supplement increases power and performance during an intense workout. In the muscles, the naturally produced Creatine works to recycle adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is generally known as the energy currency of the cell. It is recycled by conversion of adenosine diphosphate into ATP by donating phosphates.
Let’s explain further.
ATP provides energy to the muscles in the body for various processes. So every time a muscle contraction happens, the energy is supplied by ATP. After it provides energy, it naturally gets broken down to form adenosine diphosphate.
At first, the body has enough ATP stored for the muscles but once the supply gets low, the easiest way to recreate ATP is by taking a phosphate from phosphoCreatine to add to ADP.
5. Does taking Creatine mean I will be able to lift more or run faster?
Creatine use has been known to improve performance in high-intensity events. These may include weight lifting and sprinting. So yes, taking Creatine can enhance your performance in these areas. But longer duration aerobic workouts may not benefit from regular Creatine use. This is because Creatine only works to replenish the amount of ATP in the body in that short duration. For longer durations, ATP recycling happens via another process. Usually Creatine supplements are taken in the form of Creatine Monohydrate. Several researches show that there are no other supplements that can increase performance than Creatine Monohydrate.
There are also studies that suggest Creatine intake supported by resistance training can have a better overall effect on performance. There are yet others in minority who report no visible effect in their performance on track or while lifting. The important thing to note is that there are no negative reports on the supplement consumption.
6. How should I take creatine
Actual Creatine dosage will depend on your bodyweight, experience levels. But as a beginner you can start with 5-10 gms of creatine 15-20 mins before your workout session
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