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What Is Creatine?
Creatine is a compound that's involved in the production of energy in the body, in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Made in the liver, approximately 95% of the body's creatine ends up being stored in skeletal muscles and the remaining 5% is found in the brain, heart and testes. Once it's used, creatine is converted to a waste product called creatinine and excreted in urine.
Creatine is possibly the most efficacious performance and physique enhancing supplement ever introduced into the supplement world. More than 80% of Olympic level athletes are believed to have used creatine as a means to enhance performance and provide them with competitive edge.
Creatine allows an athlete to train harder for longer, and is particularly effective at boosting performance during repeated bouts of high intensity exercise. Creatine supplements can be found in various forms. There is the original and most basic form of regular powdered creatine monohydrate. There are also some of the more recent, purportedly more advanced and bioavailable forms such as: the “PH protected” patented Kre-Alkalyn version and the enhanced cell membrane permeable version of creatine ethyl ester.
Research on the side effects and safety of creatine supplements is still limited. Possible side effects of creatine include:
Creatine may cause water to be drawn away from other areas of the body and into muscle tissue, which could increase the risk of dehydration.
High doses of creatine could potentially injure the kidneys, liver and heart. Theoretically, creatine may cause kidney damage because its by-product, creatinine, is filtered through the kidneys into urine. Although studies haven't found adverse events in recommended doses, there have been a couple of case reports of people who have experienced kidney collapse and three deaths in people taking creatine, but there is no definitive evidence that creatine was the cause. People with kidney disease or liver disease should avoid creatine.
Creatine supplementation has been, and continues to be, investigated as a possible therapeutic approach for the treatment of muscular, neuromuscular, neurological and neurodegenerative diseases (arthritis, congestive heart failure, Parkinson's disease, disuse atrophy, gyrate atrophy, McArdle's disease, Huntington's disease, miscellaneous neuromuscular diseases, mitochondrial diseases, muscular dystrophy, neuroprotection, etc).
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