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Creatine 4 Essay, Research Paper

In today s society, there is a great amount of emphasis placed on your physical appearance. Everyone desires the perfect body, however not many people are willing or able to put the time and effort in to achieve that status. So the search for an easy way out began. First there were anabolic steroids. People injected testosterone into their veins in order to increase the muscle mass-produced from weight lifting. Soon the side effects became known and the use of steroids dropped off. The death of high profile athletes such as Lyle Alzado, from brain cancer, helped to stop mass steroid abuse. For that reason people began the search for something new, then creatine turned up. Creatine is used most commonly used by professional athletes, weightlifters, and teenagers who want to get big really quickly.

Creatine is a muscle mass building supplement that is taken orally. It can come in different forms including mixable powder, serum spray, candy and pre-mixed drink. The purpose of muscle mass building supplements and creatine is to provide and assist the body in the growth and development of different muscles. These supplements also serve the purpose of aiding in lifting weights and adding overall strength to muscles.

Creatine is an amino acid present in our bodies that helps release energy in our muscles. The human body gets most of the creatine it needs from the foods we eat such as meat, fish, and milk. Only when this supply is inadequate the liver goes to work to create creatine. Creatine also assists muscles in the creation and circulation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the fuel the body uses for quick, intense activity over a short period of time. (Conway 34) The bottom line is that your ability to regenerate ATP depends on your supply of creatine. The more creatine, the more ATP is remade and the more ability you have to train your muscles to their full potential.

As long as ATP is being produced, the body is able to perform to its fullest potential. This synthesis keeps the body from relying on another energy production system called glycolysis, whose byproduct is lactic acid (Conway 51). Lactic acid creates the burning sensation you feel during intense exercise. If the amount of acid becomes too great, muscle movement stops. However, if you keep on using ATP because of the creatine you have stored, the amount of lactic acid produced is minimized. This actually allows you to continue to exercise harder and longer. (Conway 52) If you exercise harder and longer, you will gain strength, power and increased muscle mass. This is the basic philosophy behind the use of creatine.

Creatine is normally taken in doses of 10 – 20 grams a day, for the first 7 days. This is known as the loading period, when the muscles are loaded with creatine. From that point on, a person would be in the maintenance stage where they only take in 5 10 grams of creatine a day. Even though results vary from person to person due to different body types and systems, the average gain of weight in the first two weeks is anywhere between three and fifteen pounds. Even though most of the weight is composed of water because of the enormous amounts of water that must be taken in by the user in order to not dehydrate the body and help it to adapt to the new source of creatine. (Williams 25)

Creatine did not make it to the American athletic supplement market until 1993, when a favorable study was published. Yet, for every study published in favor of creatine, there is one that says it does not work. A 1996 study published in the Journal of Applies Physiology found that caffeine counteracts the action of creatine loading . Other studies have found that there was no difference in endurance during intense bench press and squat performance between users and non-users in a controlled study environment. (Challem 112) A large concern also exists in the fact that there has never been a study done on athletes under age 18.

The issue at hand is not whether anyone should be able to take creatine, but whether creatine is the best muscle mass building supplement in the world today for bodybuilders and even amateurs getting started in weightlifting.

To be called the best in the world, muscle mass building supplements must meet certain criteria. One of these being that when taken before a workout, the supplement must give added strength and stamina to the weightlifter. Another criterion is that after using creatine for a cycle, which is typically 8 weeks, their must be a permanent addition of body weight. Muscle mass building supplements must also trim down somewhat on body-fat and quicken the metabolism of the user. The most important condition for being called the best, is that the supplement has to add muscle mass and visible size to the muscles trained.

Creatine fills all the above listed criteria. The added strength may not come right away, but it does come. If taken approximately from 30 to 45 minutes before a workout, a person will notice that they do not tire as easily as before. With continued use, the stamina will grow stronger along with the user. Creatine also definitely fills the second criterion of added body weight. I can testify to this myself. I weighed a steady 195 pounds when I decided to try creatine out. I bought a 5-pound container of creatine that was called Cell-Tech. After following the directions specifically for about four weeks, I stopped using it because I could not afford it at the time. But, my weight skyrocketed to 220 pounds. Then a week later, after I dropped the excess water weight, my body stayed at its present weight of 215 pounds.

As for the criterion of enhanced and quickened metabolism, this can vary from person to person. Some people may sense and see their metabolism working better and harder, while others may see no change ever(Williams 103).

All the criteria are needed for creatine to be the best mass building supplement on the market, but one is the most vital of all. For creatine to be the best, actual added muscle size must be visible. Once, again, I can testify to this by my own results. After using creatine for one month I gained a little over an inch on my arms and gained true definition in my triceps. My chest all became more defined while gaining over 3 inches on it. Another testimony is of a professional bodybuilder, Jason Marcovici. Jason was involved in a brutal car accident that left him nearly dead and required surgery on both legs. He was told he would never weight lift again. He not only got back into lifting within half a year, but by using creatine and a proper diet, he added two inches to his arms and three inches to his chest after only four weeks. (Conway 202) This is an extraordinary feat, especially for a professional bodybuilder because most of them have reached their plateau already and cannot therefore gain any more mass or size.

The Portland Sea Dogs had great success due to creatine monohydrate. The Sea Dogs are on pace to become the first team in the history of the Double A Eastern League to hit 200 home runs. Even though many attribute this power surge to juiced-up baseballs and weaker pitching, many Sea Dogs give the credit to creatine. John Roskos, whose 23 homeruns are more than twice his total for all of last season says It s definitely made me stronger. (Williams 80) British Sprinter Linford Christie juiced up on creatine before winning the gold medal at the 1992 Olympics (Williams 87). Creatine s popularity has arisen in part because it can truthfully be promoted as a natural substance found in foods and already present in the body. That means athletes can take it without running into problems with drug tests. There have been many success stories about creatine where no side effects were shown. As many as half of the Denver Broncos use creatine supplied by Experimental and Applied Sciences. The Broncos attributed much of their success due to their increase of strength that was aided by the use of creatine. The Broncos also said that they experienced no side effects and are still encouraging the use of creatine to their players. (Williams 103)

But, along with the success stories, there are a few cases in which users have had negative effects. Derek Bell of the Houston Astros is not someone who would endorse this product. Instead of getting bigger and stronger Derek got sicker and weaker. Derek started to take the product and made two trips to the hospital for treatment of kidney ailments. After his second trip to the hospital Derek said I threw it in the garbage. I told my mother to throw it away when I was in the hospital when I found out what it was. I won t look at it again. (Williams 115)

Along with Bell, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have discouraged players from using the supplement due to their belief that it predisposes athletes to dehydration by interfering with the body s sweating mechanism (Conway 156). USA Today reported on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers memo to all its players: Current evidence suggests that creatine supplementation may be advantageous to a bodybuilder interested in ornamental muscle development; however, disadvantageous for football players interested in functional muscular development. As a result, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers do not endorse creatine supplementation as a training adjunct to our players. (Conway 157) The NFL franchise is not saying creatine does not work. They are merely inferring that it produces only visual results. Creatine has also been rumored to be linked to the deaths of three wrestlers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration are investigating these deaths.

Although there is some negative issues that arise, the positives certainly outweigh the negatives in the case of creatine. I believe creatine is the best muscle mass building supplement in the world today. No other supplement can add weight, muscle mass, muscle size, strength, trim down body-fat and quicken the metabolism as effectively and safely as creatine can. The only way in which creatine could not be called the best supplement in the world is if bodybuilders and other athletes were not looking for these criteria. But, for the majority of weightlifters and professional bodybuilders, the most important criterion in a supplement is that it helps add muscle size and mass. Therefore, creatine fits the bill and is the best muscle mass building supplement in the world.

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