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Creatine Essay, Research Paper

In today s society, so much of your daily life is influenced on your looks. From teenagers to adults, you want a good-looking body. Not just for yourself to be healthy, but the way people act and want to be around you, attraction, and even jobs are all influenced on looks. For this, the latest craze among athletes, bodybuilders, teenagers, and any other person with the dream to be stronger is a supplement called creatine. Creatine has been proven to give you more energy during short burst activities.

So what exactly is creatine? Creatine is a nitrogenous substance synthesized mainly by the liver and to a much lesser extent by the pancreas and the kidneys. The amino acids arginine, glycine, and methionineare are combined by these vital organs to form creatine. Creatine is found naturally in the body and can also be obtained through food and supplements. It is believed that 95 – 98% of the creatine in our body is stored in our muscles. The remaining about 2- 5% is stored in various other parts of the body including the brain, heart and testes. Creatine formula:


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C – N – CH3 – C



What does creatine do? It does 3 major things; provide additional energy for muscles, volumization for muscles, and buffer lactic acid build-up. In your body you have a compound called ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate). ATP allows your body to get energy very quickly from an ATP reaction. You have other sources of energy, such as carbohydrates and fat, but they take longer to convert into a useable energy source. When you are doing an intense quick burst activity, such as lifting a weight or sprinting, your muscles must contract and need a quick source of energy. This immediate energy comes from ATP. When your muscles use ATP for energy a chemical process happens where the ATP is broken down into two simpler chemicals ADP (adenosine di-phosphate) and inorganic phosphate. This process of ATP turning into ADP releases the energy that gives your muscles the ability to contract. Unfortunately, we do not have an endless supply of ATP. Your muscles only contain enough ATP to last about 10-15 seconds at maximum exertion. The amino acids arginine, glycine, and methionineare combined by these vital organs to form creatine. After synthesis, creatine is carried by the bloodstream to the skeletal muscle cells, where specific protein transporter molecules carry it directly into the muscle until it is needed for energy. Most of the creatine that is taken up by the muscle is converted into phosphocreatine. Phosphocreatine is able to react with the ADP in your body and turn “useless” ADP back into the “super useful” energy source. In essence, creatine gives you ATP, which gives you extra energy to build muscles by doing more repetition of bodybuilding exercises.

At the University of Massachusetts, 20 males aged 60-82 were used to test if creatine did in fact increase muscle mass. E. S. Rawson, M. L. Wehnert, and P. M. Clarkson conducted this test. No date was given for the time of the experiment. How this test was designed was they were placed into two groups, creatine (Cr) and placebo (P), (group that didn t use creatine) and supplemented in double blind fashion. Subjects ingested either 20 grams of Cr (5 grams of Cr plus 7 grams of dextrose 4 times per day for 10 days) or an identical looking and tasting dextrose placebo for the same duration. Subjects then took either 4 grams of creatine or the placebo once per day for 20 days. Body Composition was assessed using hydrostatic weighing. Maximal strength (MVC) of the elbow flexors was assessed using a modified preacher bench attached to a strain gauge. Leg fatigue was determined using a Biodex isokinetic dynamometer. Subjects performed 5 sets of 30 maximal voluntary contractions at 1800 per/second with 1 minute of recovery between sets. Although this difference was not statistically significant between groups, the mean increases in body mass were 0.78 x 0.27 and 0.32 x 0.28 kg for the Cr and P groups, respectively, possibly indicating a trend. There were no significant differences in MVC, body density, or fat free mass between groups from pre to post. There was a significant difference between groups over time in leg fatigue following supplementation. This study suggested that 30 days of Creatine supplement may have a beneficial effect on reducing muscle fatigue in men over 60.

In addition to increasing your energy, new research has shown that creatine can help buffer lactic acid that builds-up in the muscles during exercise. When you work out and you feel your muscles cannot work and just want to collapse, creatine prolongs this feeling so you can do extra exercise. Creatine bonds with a Hydrogen ion and that helps delay the build up of lactic acid. (More research needs to be done to see if this point is true)

Creatine increases your muscle size. Creatine can increase water retention in cells and studies have found that people retained water because of a decrease in urine volume. Other studies suggest that there may be some increase in protein synthesis as well as retention of fluid. It has been shown to pull water into your muscle cells, which increases the size of your muscles.

The study by Volek (1999) used 19 healthy intermediate lifters, which were divided into 2 groups. Again, they were placed in the creatine and placebo group. The study was double blind meaning none of the researchers nor subjects knew who was in the creatine and placebo group. The creatine and placebo was taken through pills. This test took 11 weeks of the two groups taking in 25g/7days. The subjects were consistently examined for body mass, composition, lean body mass, and maximum exertion. They went through vigorous training programs that consisted of abdominal crunches, bench press, leg press, deadlifts, leg curl, pull-ups, lateral raise, triceps extensions, and row. These workouts were all done 4 times per week for 12 weeks with 3 sets of 12rm with 60 seconds rest in between. It did not say where this study was done. What the final results indicated were the creatine-training group gained more body mass and could bench and squat more weight. As well, they had a significant greater amount of fiber in their body and the average power output was superior to the placebo group. The creatine exercise group lastly gained more lean body mass (+2.2kg) than the training group further proving creatine increases muscle size.

On September 4, 1999, Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. Further proved creatine could increase muscle size. Led by Jeff S. Volek and his colleagues, they used 19 men, all about 25 years of age and similar in weight, lean body mass and capacity to lift weights to test for muscle increase. Ten were given creatine – 25 grams per day for the first week, followed by 5 grams a day for the rest of the study. The rest were given a fake preparation. No one was told what they were getting. All the men worked out under the guidance of the same trainer. At the end of the training, all the men were bigger than they were at the start. But the men on creatine registered an average 6.3 percent gain in fat-free mass, compared with 3.1 percent in those on the placebo. Cross-sectional samples of muscle fiber showed increases of about 35 percent in fiber size in men on creatine, compared with gains ranging from 6 to 15 percent in the non-creatine group, depending on the type of muscle sampled. And men on creatine showed a 24 percent increase in their bench press, compared with 16 percent for the men not on creatine. Study confirms creatine builds muscle mass and broadens strength.

In recent studies, creatine has been proven to reduce muscle fatigue, increase strength, the size of your muscles, and even body mass. However, nothing is perfect and comes with a price. Overall, creatine is a safe drug without many side effects, considering you don t abuse creatine. Like anything, too much of anything can cause harm to your body. Some bodies react to creatine though, through upset stomach, muscle cramping, diarrhea and dehydration. Although creatine has been proven to be quite safe, creatine is fairly new to do any long-term side effect studies. When steroid were first introduced everyone thought they were all right, as they did with many things. For this, creatine should not be taken for granted for and thought of as a 100% safe drug with no effects on the human body. As well, the body has a big affect on teenagers. Being a teenager, striving for the perfect body is a dream for everyone. You see it on television, movies, and sports stars and think, why can t I have it? So you try the new sport supplement. Little do teenagers know that the body is consistently growing until the age of 18, if that. Although creatine has never been proven to tell if creatine stunts growth, researchers have not studied it long enough to tell.

There are three basic types of creatine supplements, creatine monohydrate, creatine phosphate and creatine citrate. Creatine Monohydrate is basically creatine bound with water. Each molecule of creatine monohydrate is made up of 88% creatine and 12% water. This means that if you take 5 grams of creatine monohydrate you will really be putting 4.40 grams (5 * .88) of creatine in your body. Creatine Monohydrate is by far the most common form for a creatine supplement. The majority of studies and research have been conducted using creatine monohydrate. In order for creatine to be effective it needs to bond with a phosphate group and become Creatine Phosphate. For this reason, you may think that directly taking Creatine Phosphate would be better than just taking Creatine Monohydrate. Taking a creatine phosphate supplement has never been shown to be more effective than just taking creatine monohydrate. Creatine Phosphate has only 62.3% creatine and 37.7% phosphate. (Less than monohydrate) In addition, creatine phosphate is more expensive than creatine monohydrate. Creatine Citrate became popular because it is more water-soluble than other forms of creatine. The problem is that Creatine Citrate has only 400 milligrams of creatine per gram of creatine citrate. In addition, it is more expensive than Creatine Monohydrate. All creatine substances are just as good, it just depends what your preference is. Now creatine can be taken in pill form, liquid form, solid form, and even gum form.

Creatine is classified as a dietary supplement, not a drug. This means that it is basically treated as a food substance and does not have to meet any of the drug requirements of the FDA. You do not need a prescription to buy creatine, because it is a food supplement. As well, creatine is not a banned substance in the any major league sports such as the NFL, NBA, MLB, NFL, NCAA or Olympics. It would be very hard to ban creatine use because it is found in many foods, therefore making it very hard to test for without false positives.

In my opinion, creatine is a very safe sports supplement. However, creatine has not been on the market for very long. Like anything, nothing is completely safe and there could be something wrong with it that we just don t know yet. People often tend to go look at the short-term results. Rather than looking at the long-term results, people jump to conclusions. Researchers should test if there are any long-term effects that could happen, especially to teenagers because creatine targets young and quick-minded people that are in it for the quick result. Even though medical studies show that creatine increases muscle mass etc. they did not test for any side effects. I would not go right in and start taking it without some research on creatine long and short-term effects. While there are many sports supplements out on the market today, creatine has become the most popular and for that it has been studied the most. If you are to decide you want to start using a sports supplement though, creatine is the way to go.

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