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What does creatine do?

What does creatine do – Background

what does creatine doCreatine is a naturally occurring nitrogenous organic compound that is used by the body to supply cells with energy, by increasing the formation of ATP. Creatine is produced by the liver and kidneys from three amino acids, L – arginine, L – glycine and L – methionine. The majority of it, 95% is stored in your muscles with the remaining 5% being stored in the brain. The source of these amino acids is principally animal protein, it’s a misconception to think that steak contains creatine it will do however it’s destroyed on heating. Red meats such as steak contain the amino acids needed for you body to produce creatine, not the creatine itself. When taken in a supplement creatine is usual in the form of creatine monohydrate.

What does creatine do – How does creatine work?

Creatine is stored in the muscles is in the form of phospho-creatine. When a muscle contracts it uses energy and a molecule of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) loses a phosphate to form ADP (adenosine diphosphate). In order to produce more energy ADP needs to be converted back into ATP, thus it needs to find another phosphate. Creatine acts as a phosphate donor, and converts ADP back into ATP giving you a boost in energy. The more creatine available in the muscles the faster this can occur. It is only really suitable for explosive exercises as the process can’t last for extended periods, good examples include sprinting, weightlifting and wrestling.

What else does creatine do?

Creatine also aids water retention, this fills the muscles with water increasing their volume. This is what gives bodybuilders a ‘puffy’ effect when they load with creatine, as 80% of muscle is water. A change in this percentage can lead to a huge reduction in the muscles repair, creatine helps keep water in the muscles and reduce this effect.

Creatine alternatives/types

There is no alternative to creatine it does have a unique effect of providing the body with energy although there are alternative types of creatine which have substituted functional groups that effect their mechanisms. An alternative to creatine monohydrate is creatine ethyl ester. Creatine ethyl ester has a substituted carboxylic acid functional group, it is absorbed into the body 40 times faster and lasts longer as it’s more soluble in fats oils and non polar solvents.

What does creatine do – So should you take creatine?

Well thats up to you, but if you are serious about going to the gym and putting on some muscle then yes you should.

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