Updated: Aug 30, 2022
What is Creatine?
Creatine is a molecule that is produced in the body from amino acids. It's primarily made in the liver and (to a lesser extent) in the kidneys and pancreas. Creatine stores high-energy phosphate groups in the form of phosphocreatine. These phosphate groups are donated to ADP to regenerate it to ATP, the primary energy carrier in the body. This role in energy production is particularly relevant under conditions of high energy demand, such as intense physical or mental activity.
Creatine can be found in some animal-based foods and is most prevalent in meat and fish. Athletes commonly take it as a powder or in capsules.
How Does Creatine Work?
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is a molecule that carries energy within cells and is the main fuel source for high-intensity exercise. When cells use ATP for energy, this molecule is converted into adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and adenosine monophosphate (AMP). Creatine exists in cells in the form of creatine phosphate (or phosphocreatine), which donates a high-energy phosphate group to ADP, thus turning this molecule back into ATP.
By increasing the overall pool of cellular phosphocreatine, creatine supplementation can accelerate the recycling of ADP into ATP, thereby making more energy available for high-intensity exercise. This increased availability of energy can promote improvements in strength and power output.
Creatine’s Main Benefits?
Creatine has been shown to increase strength, increase lean muscle mass and can also help muscles recover quicker. As Creatine can allow muscle to recover quicker this is one of the reasons linked to the performance enhancing benefits to athletes.
Creatine has also been shown to lower blood sugar and improve brain function. There has been a lot of scientific research on Creatine so much so that it’s one of the most research supplements on the market with the conclusions showing that Creatine is also one of the safest supplements.
What Drawbacks are there?
Some people may suffer from Diarrhea and Nausea while taking Creatine this often due to too much Creatine being taken at one time, and as such for these individuals it’s recommended to spread the dose throughout the day. Creatine supplementation typical results in weight gain in some individuals mostly due to increase total body water.
How Much Should You Take?
The majority of people are best taking between 3-5g per day, though a commonly held belief a loading period isn’t required and just a daily supplement form of Creatine Monohydrate is enough to see the benefits.
As always if you have any concerns or underlying health issues please speak with a doctor before beginning any supplement regime.
Check back next week for more Nutrition with our Personal Trainer Jade Harris
Movement is Medicine
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