What Is Creatine and How Does It Work?
Creatine is one of the supplements that is commonly used by professional athletes and bodybuilders. Should you use it too? Learn about this compound and decide for yourself if you should use it to maximize your health and fitness results.
Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid. It is not an artificially synthesized product. In fact, we all take small amounts of the substance when we eat meat, fish, milk and eggs. It is also naturally produced in our bodies and in the kidneys, liver and pancreas, in particular.
This amino acid is available in the form of a dietary supplement as well. Researchers have found that if you take creatine in supplement form, its absorption by the body is 2 to 3 times higher compared to getting it from food. It is worth pointing out that the substance in the supplements has a natural origin as well.
How does this amino acid work? Once it is synthesized by the body, this amino acid is converted into creatine phosphate. In this form, it is stored in the muscles. During exercises of high intensity performed within a short period of time, creatine phosphate is converted into adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is a major source of energy in the body. It virtually fuels the cells and the muscles, respectively.
This amino acid increases the energy during high-intensity short-duration exercises. It gives you greater endurance as well. It provides for the increase of lean muscle mass. In general, it aids athletic performance, especially in weight lifters, bodybuilders and high jumpers. It is worth pointing out that this substance is allowed for use by national and international athletic associations and organizations, including the International Olympic Committee.
Researchers have found other benefits of creatine, apart from providing energy, endurance and stamina and building lean muscle. One study has suggested that the intake of this amino acid in higher dosages than we get from food may reduce the triglycerides (fats) in the arteries. These properties of the amino acid may be able to reduce the cholesterol levels in the blood vessels and lower the risk of heart attack and stroke. Other studies have found that this amino acid may be used for the prevention and treatment of muscle atrophy and Parkinson's disease.
Now you know what creatine is and how it works you can make a more informed dicision on whether or not you should use it to maximize your workout results. If you decide to take it in supplement form, you should consult your trainer and/or your physician to make sure that you take the right doses to ensure the best results without experiencing any negative side effects.