What is it?
The chemical name for Creatine is methyl guanidine-acetic acid. Creatine is a natural substance found in our muscle cells, especially around the skeletal muscles. It is naturally manufactured in the liver, kidneys and pancreas, and it works as a storage form for potential energy. Widely accepted in the fitness communities across the globe as a top supplement; creatine is used to develop strength and stimulate muscle growth. It is found in muscles, the heart and brain tissue. It is a natural derivative of the amino acids arginine, methionine and glycine. About 95% of the body's creatine supply is located near the skeletal muscles and the remaining 5% is stored in other parts of the body. Although it comes in many different forms, the most common formula used for athletic purposes is creatine monohydrate.
Creatine monohydrate is one of the most well studied supplements in the field of sports nutrition. As a supplement, creatine monohydrate combined with glucose (a simple carbohydrate such as fruit) provides maximum benefits.
Creatine is manufactured in the liver using S-adenosylmethionine as the methyl donor. Creatine may also be derived from dietary sources, primarily from meat or fish, which contain approximately 4 to 5 grams of creatine per kilogram. Following its biosynthesis, creatine is quickly taken to the skeletal muscle, heart, brain and other tissues. Most of the creatine is metabolized in these tissues into phosphocreatine (creatine phosphate), which is a primary energy storage form in the body.
Creatine functions to increase the availability of cellular energy ATP, adenosine triphosphate by donating a phosphate ion. When energy demand is high (e.g. during muscle exertion) creatine phosphate donates its phosphate to ADP (adenosine diphosphate) to yield ATP, which drives muscle contraction and protein production. Amazingly, this reaction is reversible: the phosphate of ATP can be transferred back to creatine, generating creatine phosphate by the action of creatine phosphokinase. Phosphocreatine and free creatine is then stored in the muscle for later energy use. When needed, phosphocreatine later binds with ADP to convert it back to ATP.
Creatine monohydrate is a dietary supplement that athletes and many bodybuilders use to increase high intensity exercise performance, increase strength, have fuller looking muscles, increase body mass and have faster post workout muscle recovery.
Creatine enables users to continue with their intense and grueling training for longer periods of times. An increase of muscle mass leads to weight gain, which is the result of creatine drawing water into the muscle cell. This is reason enough for many bodybuilders and weight trainers to use creatine alone.
Although many professional athletes use creatine, most people will also benefit from the supplementation of creatine monohydrate because it improves strength and fitness in daily activities.