What is Creatine?

Posted by Zeus in Facts about Creatine on 14-11-2011

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Creatine is one of the most common substances used by athletes. There are quite few misconceptions about what creatine is and what it does, so lets start from the beginning.

Creatine is an acid produced naturally in the liver that supplies energy to muscle cells. It is produced in the liver, pancreas, and kidneys, out of three amino acids, arginine, glycine, and methionine. Creatine is than transported to the body’s muscles through the bloodstream. Once it reaches the muscles, it is converted into phosphocreatine (creatine phosphate). This high-powered metabolite is used to regenerate the muscles’ ultimate energy source, ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Approximately 95% of the body’s total creatine content is located in skeletal muscle. The remaining 5% is stored in our brain, heart and testes. The amount of creatine we have in our bodies varries based on the amount of muscle mass you have and your weight. On average a 160 pound person would have about 120 grams of creatine stored in their body.

In the 1970s, Soviet scientists reported that oral creatine supplements may improve athletic performance during brief, intense activities such as sprints or weight lifting. Creatine gained popularity in the 1990s as a “natural” way to enhance athletic performance and build lean body mass.

Studies claim that about 25% of professional baseball players and up to 50% of professional football players take creatine supplements. According to a survey of high school athletes, creatine use is common among football players, wrestlers, hockey players, gymnasts, and lacrosse players. In 2000, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) banned colleges from distributing creatine to their players.

Creatine is the one of the most popular and effective bodybuilding supplements on the market. Bodybuilders that consistently use creatine report big muscle mass increases.

There is one good reason why three out of four of the ’96 summer Olympic medalists used creatine: it works and it works well. A French scientist named Chevreul first discovered creatine in 1832, but it was not until 1923 that scientists discovered that over 95% of creatine is stored in muscle tissue. The first published report of creatine having bodybuilding effects was The Journal of Biological Chemistry in 1926! Although we’ve known about creatine for quite some time, the first real use of it to enhance performance was the 1992 Olympic games in Barcelona, Spain.

Unlike steroids or drugs, creatine is 100% natural and occurs naturally in many foods; therefore, it can never be banned from any sports or international competitions (unless they banned eating meat). Many foods especially herring, salmon, tuna, and beef contain some creatine. However, the very best source of creatine by far is creatine monohydrate because it contains more creatine per weight of material than any other source.