Creatine is a compound that’s involved in the production of energy in the body, in the form of adenosine triphosphate(ATP). Made in the liver, approximately 95% of the body’s creatine ends up being stored in skeletal muscles and the remaining 5% is found in the brain, heart and testes. Once it’s used, creatine is converted to a waste product called creatinine and excreted in urine.
Creatine is found in small amounts in red meat and fish. However, much of it is destroyed by cooking. It’s also made naturally in the body from L-arginine, L-glycine and L-methionine, amino acids that are principally found in animal protein. Insulin is needed for creatine to enter muscles, so consuming carbohydrates with creatine may increase the amount of creatine available to muscles. Once the creatine is stored inside the muscle cell, it attracts the water surrounding such cell thereby enlarging it. This super hydrated state of the cell causes nice side effects such as the increase of strength and it also gives the appearance of a fuller muscle. Some studies suggest that a super hydrated cell may also trigger protein synthesis and minimize catabolism.
A Brief Explanation of How Creatine Works
Creatine can be viewed as an energy booster, supporter, re-fueler or whatever you want to call it. It basically increases a certain form of energy called ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Your body uses different types of energy sources for various exercises. Exercise made up of shorter bursts of movements uses a different energy source when compared to long endurance exercises. So a sprinter uses a different energy source than a marathon runner. When you lift weights or do sprints your body is using the ATP energy source. When this energy source is used up, you can no longer perform the specific movement. For example, when you’re doing bicep curls and you hit the 12th rep and your arm is burning and you can’t get the weight past your waist, you’ve run out of ATP energy. The ATP molecules which supply your muscles with energy are exhausted and they turn into ADP. The T turns into a D (ATP > ADP). The triphosphate turns into a diphosphate…. 3 is reduced to 2. Creatine’s special power involves bumping the 2 back up to a 3. It turns ADP back into ATP. So it essentially refuels your energy source when it’s exhausted. This means when you use creatine supplements and you’re doing bicep curls and you’ve reached the 12th rep, you can now pump out a few more reps. You have more energy in your muscles which leads to more power, strength, and muscle building capabilities
Creatine is the best supplement for bodybuilders and most athletes for these reasons:
- Supports muscle contraction
- Increases muscle size
- Increases fat loss
- Improves your strength
- Boosts your speed