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Creatine: Is It Good Or Bad For Body Building As Your Nutritional Supplement?

May 28, 2008
If you are into weight lifting or any short term high-intensity sports you need to straighten up the myths and the facts that you should know about Creatine.

What is it with this creatine supplement that almost everybody says it's effective and can build your muscles the way you want it to? Creatine is a derivative of an amino acid synthesized in the liver, pancreas and kidneys from amino acids like Arginine, Glycine and Methione. Great amounts are stored in the muscle tissue like that in the heart and can also be found in brains and in the testes.

An average sized adult can store 120 grams of Creatine. Other sources of this substance are from red meat and certain varieties of fishes that have high concentration. The daily required intake is about 2 grams but half of that is only met through everyday diet and the body, luckily, will manufacture the other half.

The main function of Creatine in our body is to produce energy that we need to help make use of our muscles. Meaning, to facilitate muscle contraction we need this substance. There is this certain energy substance that supplies the muscles to contract called ATP or Adenosine Triphosphate. This ATP is stored and when the need comes, the stored ATP is the first ones to be utilized.

When ATP is used up, its phosphate will be reduced and will be converted to ADP or Adenosine Diphosphate. When ADP is present, muscle contraction cannot be facilitated. Thus, the body will find a way to have another phosphate. This would be through getting the phosphate from phosphocreatine, which is the chemical form of Creatine in the body.

So, in this process, Creatine is only important for short, high-intensity activities like weight lifting. This is because later on the longer activities needed for endurance would be more reliant on Glycolysis in order to regenerate ATP.

Laying out the cards, you will now the benefits you will get from creatine supplements. The real idea for supplying the body with Creatine is for you to have well saturated muscles. With the help of Creatine, this muscle group will be able to regenerate ATP more rapidly and can even allow the muscles to train harder. Through this process we can prevent fatigability to set in earlier and we can delay it until the muscles' Creatine is all used up.

In addition to the task of Creatine is the fact that it can act as a Lactate buffer. The burning feeling that you have when you're tired after an extensive work-out is the Lactate or Lactic Acid, which is an artefact of Glycolysis or the process of breaking down the glucose. When Lactic Acid builds up or when there is lack of ATP, you cannot perform an extra set in your work out.

In order for the body to improve the regeneration process of Adenosine Triphosphate, it will temporarily stop Glycolysis and the Lactic Acid will stop piling up. An extra work that Creatine can do is that it gives extra hydration or it can draw water into the muscle cells.

This creates a fuller appearance and a bigger muscle that will facilitate and stimulate protein synthesis. This will help prevent protein degradation or break down. Studies have proven that aiming to gain lean muscle weight through Creatine supplementation have overwhelming and dramatic effects. It is highly effective when combined with a training program and a proper diet designed for the individual. This is in order to gain power, vigour, and fat-free muscles over time. This also has high applicability in short term, high intensity sports like sprinting, which either would be through running or through swimming.

However, not everything is good with regards to the effects of Creatine; there are also bad or dangerous side effects. In reality, the results of long term studies about this substance have not yet been completed. Therefore, it is not a certainty that there is no life threatening side effects.

Studies in relation to short term use of Creatine showed that although it is not extremely safe it is also effective. There are claimed side effects that you should watch out for, if you are planning to take this on a long term note. Use of this product, which means usage of more than six consecutive months, can result to kidney and liver damage, suppressed ability of the body to produce Creatine, nausea, diarrhea, muscle pulls, muscle cramps, heat intolerance, dehydration and weight gain.

If you will have a medical test, you should stop taking Creatine temporarily and inform your doctor that you are taking it because it may falsely elevate the results of your test. Creatine load can make the kidney work harder so as to excrete this substance from the body.

So this is where the need for drinking lots of water in order to help the body eradicate the extra Creatine is vital, especially if you are at risk of developing kidney stones. Hence, giving regular supplementation can delete the body's ability to produce Creatine. This has been proven to be factual because studies have shown that after using Creatine for a short time, there were no signs of problems with regards to producing Creatine again.

In light of these long term studies, it is not yet clear what the side effects of long term supplementation can do to the body because it is not yet complete. So many athletes do a cycle method of using this substance, which means that they stop after a few months then they let the body revive from that period and restart supplementation again. This is when the body can produce its Creatine for months.

Thus, there are no records or documents that can say that the body will stop producing after suppression. Nausea and diarrhoea are minor side effects but can only happen to a few people. This happens when Creatine is not fully dissolved in the stomach. Switching to micronize powder form, later on adjusting the dose and changing the delivery method can then perform alleviating.

People who worked out toughly and have high unrealistic expectations that Creatine can boost their performance overnight mostly feel muscle pulls. Muscle cramps happen because of lack of sufficient fluids. We know that Creatine draws water into the muscle cells and subsequently producing dehydration to the person. This means that enough glasses of water can actually improve cramps. Thus, weight gain is not everybody's concern but a concern for athletes that should be in good shape, especially if they are in the field of sports that needs endurance.

All in all, utilizing Creatine as a kind of supplement can be helpful and satisfying but it can pose threats when used on long term note. There are Creatines that are sold in pure form. One example would be the Creatine Monohydrate. This type is actually the one being used in studies. The other forms are the ones that the manufacturer adds something into or mixes it wit other substances. These hidden substances can as deadly as it sounds because it may cause of some unwanted side effects.
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