Guide to Sports Nutrition
Creatine is a supplement made from fish flakes and a fish bone that is mostly known to support the building lean muscle mass and pumping up existing muscle tissue. Athletes and body building enthusiasts who want to lose weight and bulk up their muscles are the main users of this supplement. However, creatine has also recently been shown to help improve the symptoms of several different serious muscular and nervous disorders.
Creatine is not a supplement that everyone needs to take, as shortages in the body are very rare and signify the presence of a neuromuscular or skeletal disease. The substance is naturally abundant in all of our human tissues and its purpose is to provide energy to muscle cells Technically it is an organic acid that is classified as nitrogenous.
Creatine is a very common substance in all of nature and it is present in the tissues of all vertebrates. Creatine was identified in 1832 when Michel Eugène Chevreul discovered it as a component of skeletal muscle, which he later named creatine after the Greek word for flesh, Kreas.
Creatine is synthesized mainly in the liver by three different amino acids - arginine, glycine, and methionine. Over 95% of the body’s creatine stored in the skeletal muscles and the remainder is store in the brain, heart, and testes. However the body can only synthesize a limited amount of creatine in one day, which is where supplementation with creatine comes into the picture for body builders.
In each cell of the body there is a compound called ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate). This compound is what facilitates the muscles to perform activities that require quick bursts of physical energy, such as sprinting and weight lifting. Typically, the more ATP that there is in the body the, more fuel for muscles which enables people to work out longer without exhaustion. Creatine is the substance directly responsible for making sure that there is enough ATP in the cells.
In 2000 several manufacturers came under scrutiny from the FDA for combining anabolic steroids with the supplement.
Sources of the Supplement
In humans, typically half of stored creatine that we eat originates from food (mainly from meat and fish). The supplement also comes from the bones and flesh of fish.
Three countries in the world are the primary manufacturers of creative powder: China, Europe, and the United States. Companies buy creatine from one of these sources, package it, mix it with other ingredients and then finally market it to the public. Most companies buy creatine from China where it is as much as one third cheaper than other sources.
Many athletes believe that the best creatine comes from German, where there are high manufacturing standards and that the creatine with the most impurities hails from
Creatine is primarily known as a muscle building aid. The supplement improves exercise performance by enhancing the body’s ability to volumize muscle tissue. There is some data to indicate that creatine helps put the body in a more anabolic state where protein synthesis can occur. The more protein synthesis, the greater the muscle gain and the more quickly body builders can bulk up their bodies for competition.
Creatine also increases stamina and allows an individual to work out for a longer period of time. It is especially useful for anaerobic exercisers who are weight lifting and need to replace body fat with lean body tissue.
New studies have also show that creatine can help reduce the amount of lactic acid that builds up in the muscles during exercise. Creatine contains an ion that combines with a hydrogen ion in the body’s cells that helps to delay the build up of lactic acid. This is good news for people who want to work out because it means that their muscles and joints will be less sore after exercise.
In a summary the proven benefits of creatine are –
Creatine supplementation is also being researched as a possible therapeutic approach for the treatment of muscular, neurological and neuromuscular diseases. Disorders that fall into this category are arthritis, congestive heart failure, disuse atrophy, McArdle's disease, Huntington's disease, Lou Geherig’s Disease Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy an numerous other miscellaneous neuromuscular diseases.
There have been two main studies that support creatine’s case for aiding neuromuscular disorders. The first done at Cornell University Medical Center in 1999 showed that creatine was twice as effective as the prescription drug riuzole in helping save the lives of mice with Lou Gehrig’s disease.
A second study done at McMaster University in Hamilton Ontario in 1999 found that creatine supplementation can help increase the overall strength of individuals suffering from neuromuscular disorders.
It has been known for some time that creatine plays a role when it comes to maintaining the overall health of the nervous system and also when it comes to helping the nerves and muscles recover from trauma and disease. Currently creatine is the subject of many clinical trials and studies in universities and medical centers all over the world as it as the potential to support conditions involving the body’s muscular and nervous systems.