Creatine Review

July 3rd, 2007 by Paul Johnson

Creatine is the most commonly used supplement among bodybuilders and athletes for muscle endurance, size, and strength.

How Creatine works:

A French scientist discovered creatine in 1835. Creatine is naturally found in meat. However it would require too much meat in the diet to get the same amount found in creatine daily supplementation. Creatine is manufactured naturally in the body from the amino acids glycine, arginine, and methionine. This process takes place in the kidneys, liver, and pancreas. Approximately 40% of the body's creatine stores are free creatine (Cr), while the remaining 60% is stored in form of creatine phosphate (CP). The typical male adult processes 2 grams of creatine per day, and replaces that amount through dietary intake and fabrication within the body. Creatine is used for synthesis of ATP. ATP is the universal energy "currency" of the body. Muscles in order to contract must break down ATP to ADP. The body uses Creatine phosphate in order to convert ADP back to ATP so it can once again be used for further muscle contraction. Without Creatine the body has to use ulterior metabolic pathway to accomplish it.

Creatine effects:

As a result you can see that Creatine supplementation should have a performance enhancing effect for quick bursts of energy and strength. And long term for bodybuilders it should result in more muscle gains as a result of the strength and energy gains.

Creatine is not a miracle supplement however. Many people claim to gain many lbs of muscle when they first creatine load. However, the majority of the weight people gain is not muscle, but instead water bloat that is taken in by the extra creatine stored in the body. For many people, creatine does not even work. One theory is that some people may naturally have more creatine in the body then others. Some of that may be due to genetics or because they naturally have more meat in their diet. The term for this person is often coined "Creatine non-responder". An excess of creatine will just be urinated out. So quite literally, for some, creatine supplementation is just pissing in the wind.

Creatine according to studies helps with oxygen utilization during aerobic activity. This means creatine could be a performance enhancer for endurance athletes too.

Creatine Side effects:

Yes. There are many creatine myths or scare stories out of their by paranoid people. Most studies of long term supplementation use have shown no liver or kidney damage. However, creatine should not be used with people who have kidney problems or may have a family background to a pre-disposition of kidney problems. The reason why is a byproduct of creatine metabolism is Creatinine. With people of normal kidneys it is not a problem and is easily eliminated in the urine. However, those with kidney problems are extra sensitive and it can be a problem. Creatine can also make you susceptible to muscle cramps and require more daily intake of water. You should increase your daily water intake while supplementing with creatine.

You can find out more about the pro's and cons of the various forms of creatine available on the market today in another article I wrote awhile back: Which creatine works the best?