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Creatine In Sport Essay, Research Paper

In today’s society, a lot of emphasis is placed on how you look. Almost

everybody wants that "perfect body". But with all the things people

have to do, not many are willing to put in the time to get it. So there must be

an easy way to get it. Right? Not too long ago people were experimenting with

anabolic steroids. They injected horse testosterone into their veins to increase

the amount of muscle mass produced from lifting. But after a while, some

professional athletes and high profile people started showing the side effects

that are associated with them. For example, Lyle Alzado, a popular star in the

NFL, developed a brain tumor and died. This scared a lot of people and the

recreational uses of steroids decreased. With the dangers of steroids well known

people started looking for other substances to give them an edge. Bee pollen,

carnitine and chromium picolinate, were among the things people tried. Of course

none of these worked. But now there is a product on the market that has been

proven to significantly enhance athletic performance in the areas of power,

strength, and muscle mass. This substance is Creatine Phosphate. ABOUT CREATINE

When you exercise you obviously burn energy. There are many things involved in

this process. The energy that you burn is called Adenosine Triphosphate, ATP.

This molecule has very high energy bonds between the phosphates and the rest of

the molecule. Your body breaks these bonds releasing the energy for use and

changing the molecule to ADP (di-phosphate). Since the body has a relatively low

supply of ATP, it needs to convert the ADP back into ATP. Creatine helps to

speed this process along. Creatine is an amino acid made in your liver and

stored in your muscles. In the diet it is found in milk, steak, and some fish.

Although scientists have known about it for about 160 years, studies on it have

have just started to be done. CREATINE SUPPLEMENTATION *Picture* After the

publication of test results in 1990, the area of creatine supplementation has

exploded. Now almost everyone knows what it is and someone who is using it. As

was stated earlier, creatine helps speed up the process of converting ADP back

into ATP. So it is logical that if you increase the amount of creatine you

should increase the conversion rate. The daily requirement of creatine is about

two grams. Most of the creatine supplement products recommend taking ten times

that amount for the first week or so to saturate your muscles, and five grams a

day to maintain it. In most published studies the logic is correct; if you

increase dietary creatine you increase stored creatine. DOES IT WORK? With the

increase of stored creatine there should be an increase in conversion time. In

most of the studies that I have seen this is true. There is also a relationship

between the amount of hydration in a muscle cell and the amount of work it can

do. Creatine makes the cell retain water and therefore should increase the

amount of work individual cells can do. But this is not all that it does. In

many studies, along with increased recovery time, creatine showed to increase

muscle mass, explosive power and strength. In one study groups of athletes put

on five to seven pounds of lean muscle mass in a month. These results were far

better than athletes receiving a placebo in the same study. Some critics state

that the increase in muscle mass is mostly water, but there are studies that say

there is an increase in the size of Type II muscle fibers. With the increase in

mass there should be an increase in power. In the same study the athletes saw a

thirty percent increase in bench-press. With an increase in strength and

recovery time there is an increase in overall explosive power. IS IT FOR ME?

Although creatine supplementation has shown results in particular areas, it

doesn’t help everyone. The supplements are pretty expensive and with the

recommended dosage, they go pretty fast. If you are not serious about training

or are a weekend warrior you may see results but you will pay for them. But if

you are seriously into bodybuilding, creatine will help you see gains. Also,

athletes that perform short burst sprints with little recovery time will benefit

from creatine. Basketball and football players in particular. But if you are an

endurance athlete such as a marathoner or a sprinter there are studies that show

that creatine supplementation may slow you down. Some think it is from the

weight gained. There are also people who are immune to its effects. They are

officially called "nonresponders". These people are studied little and

it is not known why they are immune or who these people are. IS IT SAFE? Since

studies on creatine loading have only been going on for less than a decade, it

is still unknown what long term effects the extra creatine will have. Some

researchers fear that, with the amount of extra creatine contrived through the

diet, the body might stop producing it. The only way we will find out the

negative effects of long term use is time. The sales of creatine supplements are

very strong, so a lot of people are using it. After a decade goes by we might

find out the hard way that it is dangerous.

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