The affects of Creatine

Creatine Effects by Neil Krech

Creatine has been around as a supplement since the early 1900’s, but didn’t really become popular until around 1992, due to the Olympics in Barcelona. The gold medal winner’s in the men’s 100 meter and the women’s 400 meter hurdle were both known to have used creatine.

Creatine is an amino acid, building blocks that make up proteins. Creatine Phosphate is an important store of energy in the muscle and is naturally formed in vertebrates. Creatine can increase regeneration of phosphocreatine following sprints and intense, quick workouts which means less fatigue.

Creatine taken as a supplement will store excess creatine to add to muscle mass. It can be used for greater gains in strength and sprint performance and may increase lean body mass. During intense exercise lasting around half a minute, phosphocreatine is broken down to creatine and phosphate, and the energy released is used to regenerate the primary source of energy.

The typical rule of thumb starts out with a loading period of a week where the individual will consume a dose of creatine 4-5 times a day. After that a dose would include the amount recommended (differs if it is pill or powders) two times a day. Creatine is recommended to be taken with a juice such as Apple or Grape. Athletes or individuals can cycle through creatine every few months if they choose, but there is no information as to whether or not this promotes greater strength or lean mass.

There are no known short or long term effects of creatine. The only side effect is weight gain due to the body retaining water to store in muscle cells. The recommended intake of water is 1 to 2 gallons per day while taking creatine as a performance enhancing substance. [Editor's Note: Other side effects have been reported with creatine use: diarrhea, cramping, nausea, and even seizures have been reported. Athletes who eat meat will notice less of an effect from taking creatine supplements than vegan or vegetarian athletes--creatine is readily available from meat in the diet. Creatine should NOT be used by individuals under the age of 18 without the advice of a physcian, nor be used by women who are pregnant or nursing. It is also not advised by people with kidney or liver disease, and may have potentially harmful interactions with medications for diabetes or diuretics (as in the treatment of high blood pressure). The recommendation of 1-2 gallons of water intake per day is NOT a safe recommendation, and there is no research supporting that this is a verifiably beneficial intake, although you see this recommendation on bodybuilding websites. High intakes of water by athletes and other individuals looking to boost their performance at sports, can cause a drop in important electrolytes, especially sodium, which can interfere with muscle and nerve function. ---J. Learn]

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