What is Creatine and How Does
It Work to Build Muscle?
Creatine, named after the Greek word for "meat", was discovered in 1832 as a component of skeletal muscle.
Some people think that creatine is a hormone, but that is not true. Creatine is actually a naturally occurring
organic acid, whose function is to supply energy to all cells in vertebrate organisms, particularly the
Creatine is manufactured naturally by the human body. It is produced by the kidneys and liver from the amino acids
known as L-arginine, glycine, and L-metionine. In humans, almost half of the body's stored creatine is the result
of food. Because creatine is only present in meat, not in vegetables, vegetarians show a lower amount of creatine
in their muscles unless they take creatine in the form of supplements.
Benefits Of Creatine Supplements Because creatine is essential to the development of lean
muscle mass, it is a popular supplement taken by athletes, bodybuilders, and anyone desiring to increase his or her
level of fitness.
Creatine helps build muscle mass by supplying extra energy to the muscles when they are being worked. The science
is not terribly complicated. Essentially, when a muscle is contracted, Adenosine Tri Phosphate (or ATP) gives up
one of its phosphate molecules to create energy, so now its changed into Adenosine Di Phosphate (or ADP). This is
where creatine helps out: in order to replenish the body's supply of ATP, the creatine acts as a phosphate molecule
and converts the ADP back into ATP. And presto, the body has now increased the amount of energy that can be
supplied to the muscle being worked.
Any physical activity that requires short bursts of energy such as sprinting, weight lifting or interval cardio
training requires the body to fuel it with ATP, which can be increased by increasing the amount of creatine in the
Creatine has also been shown to enhance muscle recovery, making it helpful when the body has to perform repeated
short bursts of a high-energy activity, such as weight lifting.
Side Effects Of Creatine Supplements Due to a lack of scientific studies, creatine
supplements are not recommended for women who are pregnant or breast feeding. It has been found that pasteurized
milk contains higher creatinine levels than does breast milk.
It used to be widely believed that creatine has an adverse effect on kidney and liver functions, and while studies
have not confirmed this, it is still recommended that people who have kidney or liver diseases should not take
There have been numerous research studies over the past ten years that indicate a daily
creatine supplement of 5-20 grams should be very safe for users with no underlying health
problems, and that the supplement can have significant positive impact on muscle strength for both men and women.