Creatine Supplements

Written by Emily Ledbetter
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Creatine is found in amino acids including glycine, arginine, and methionine. It is synthesized from these amino acids in the liver, pancreas and kidneys. In the body, creatine is mostly found in muscles where it is converted to phosphocreatine and helps restore a compound called adeno-sine triphosphate (ATP), which supplies quick energy.

Increasing the amount of creatine found in the muscle aids in producing greater amounts of energy. This is because once it is converted to phosphocreatine, it functions as the limiting factor in energy production in high intensity anaerobic exercise such as weight lifting, sprinting and rowing. For that reason, it is believed that increasing the amount of creatine in the body enhances athletic performance.

Why Supplement?

The best food sources for creatine are meat, poultry and fish; however, most individuals only get an average of one to two grams a day from food sources. Research shows that taking creatine supplements can increase muscle creatine by 20 to 30 percent. Supplements are available in capsules and chewable tablets but the most common form is powder.

When creatine is taken as a supplement in the form of a powder or pill, it is absorbed through the intestines and then quickly enters the bloodstream. The purpose of supplementation is to provide a ready source of creatine that the body can draw upon during demanding exercise, when muscles need quick supplies of ATP to perform at peak levels. Studies suggest that supplementing creatine in the correct dosage and appropriate duration can aid in improving the performance of athletes involved in anaerobic activity but it does not benefit endurance athletes such as marathon runners and distance swimmers.

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