Creatine is a fairly new supplement, which has its fame among the athletic community. To the general public, it’s a workout supplement, but what it really is and does is unknown by most. Creatine is considered to be an ergogenic aid, a substance that allows enhancement of athletic performance. All supplements and performance enhancing methods affect the body’s homeostasis. Homeostasis is referred to as the body’s way of keeping internal systems constant, even is external changes. When a runner trains at high altitudes, there is less oxygen available for red blood cells. Creatine is similar but unique to the high altitude method. Chemically, creatine allows more energy to be available. Hence, it can be very useful for sports and fitness.
An example of how creatine would affect the body’s homeostasis could be taken from body building. Bodybuilding works due to the one putting stress on the muscles and muscle cells. To handle the extra stress, the body creates more muscle. This happens to be what body builders want. How much stress can be brought upon also depends on the energy available. With more energy being accessible, one can work out further, leading to more stress and in turn more muscle mass.
So you hear about all this creatine intake, but what good does it actually do? Well it starts off with the little bursts of energy that lead to further benefits. Often studies have shown increase in performance during constant or repeated exercise. Many of these benefits are advantageous to even the average human as creatine is already made by the body. The Dietary intake for humans would be about 1-2 grams/day. Most of this comes from eating the daily meat or fish, but that is how a vegetarian would be lacking creatine intake. To keep creation levels constant, vegetarians can take small doses of the supplement as it promotes ATP regeneration. Studies have shown that vegetarians have a greater increase in PCr storage from creatine ingestion than their fellow meat eaters. When performing, often what limits the extent to which something can be kept being done is the energy available. Energy can only be generated at a certain rate, but with extra creatine available, the rate can be increased, therefore more PCr is available.
Muscular performances such as bench press and jump squats showed enhanced performance during studies. This adds to the reputation creatine has from other research, which shows higher work outputs, maximal strength and fat-free mass. Often, sportspeople who take part in analysis’s demonstrated escalated work outputs. One specific study resulted in a raise of PCr by 6%, the maximal strength by 20-25% and furthermore a 60% fat-free mass increase. Results of creatine intake frequently rely on the dosing prior to doing the activities. There are two stages, one named the “loading” stage, in which a higher dosage of creatine is ingested. This usually lasts 4-7 days. The loading stage is often when the overall PCr content increases largely. The following stage usually consists of much less quantity of creatine intake. This part is to keep the PCr level constant. As for sports a simpler example could be derived from soccer. In soccer, or football in many parts of the world, a player constantly has to sprint in various directions according to the motion (and projected motion) of the ball. This can require the player to sprint forward, slow down for a few seconds and then continue running again. During this process, the player uses up many adenosine triphosphate molecules, and the phosphate’s break off and bind to the creatine molecules creating PCr. Now PCr, as stated earlier, is constantly breaking off the phosphate group as ATP is generated. This means that with a higher PCr content, ATP can be generated quicker, or in other words, more often than a normal PCr level. If the creatine supplements allow a greater pool of PCr to form, then in theory ATP has the ability to regenerate more rapidly. This leads to more energy available for the soccer player to continue using during the sprints. It also reduces fatigue caused through energy usage.
What makes creatine more beneficial in sports like soccer is that the recovery time is shortened immensely, so any assistance in regaining energy will be well utilized. This example actually explains a very important fact in creatine function, rather than increase the maximum strength at a given time, it increases performance, such as how long maximum strength can be achieved.
Creatine is fairly new and research on creatine is not too advanced as with other supplements. No severe side effects have been recorded which were caused due creatine intake. One negative aspect as opposed to other performance enhancing drugs would be that creatine does not affect how much of something can be done, such as creatine does not affect things like how fast one run (other than caused by increased mass) but more, how long one can ran at that pace with minimal breaks. Another negative outcome due to creatine is increased body mass. Often times this is what athletes such as bodybuilders prefer, but what they don’t know is that the increased mass could be due to the retention of water. With increased creatine levels in cells, osmosis of water across a cell membrane and into the cell increases. This leads to water being retained within cells, increasing their size and general physical view. The higher rate of osmosis can also cause further implications such as dehydration or muscle cramps or even tremendously high concentrations of urine. With this, athletes ingesting creatine are often recommended to drink more water. Being a dietary supplement, the production on creatine is not tested by the FDA, due to which the conditions in which it was produced cannot be guaranteed. Unsupported and evidence-less claims have been made, which state the use of creatine has caused problems such as seizures, anxiety, vomiting and such. Without proof of a direct connection, these claims are considered false, as many of the individuals who suffered with them also indicated usage of other substances.
Medical usage is a question put on many, if not all substances. How a certain substance can be used is constantly being analyzed for human benefit, and creatine has its own share too. Not to researched, but creatine portrays advantages to many patients such as those suffering from neurological disorders. Patients who have muscle dystrophy, a disorder where their muscles a weakened in various ways, benefit from creatine supplements as it increases the strength in muscles. In addition, creatine also offers increase in endurance for patients suffering from heart problems and other muscle related diseases. Creatine also changes blood lipids (cholesterol), which allow a reduction in the risk of a heart disease.
Creatine usage is quite controversial in the athletic community. Many drugs and performance enhancing substances used in sports today are getting banned because of their negative side-effects. Creatine is not a big “danger” supplement, as it does not lead to dangerous situations, but it is thought that creatine usage leads the user to utilize other substances, substances that can be far more dangerous than creatine. But creatine is also naturally synthesized in the body, so if it were banned, it would be difficult to test. Creatine supplements can be considered similar in nature to a method many athletes call carbohydrate-loading, a method where the athlete stores up on glycogen prior to performance to allow more sugar to be accessed when needed.
Through analysis of creatine usage in sports and its effects I say creatine is ergogenically great. The minor side-effects can be avoided through proper use. The benefits with correct usage exceed advantages of many other performance enhancing drugs, from which I conclude should be accepted as a proper aspect of training. I feel that creatine should continue to be sold over the counter as it is a nutritional supplement which enhances the average life, and should also remain an allowed substance in competition.
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Source by Dwip Shah