Creatine is a nonessential amino acid that is located mainly in the muscles and the brain. Creatine, being a nonessential amino acid means that the body makes it naturally in the kidneys, liver and pancreas. This amino acid can also be made synthetically. Creatine is converted to phosphocreatine and then stored in the body muscles. The body’s creatine stores can be affected by several factors such as; intake of seafood and red meat, muscle mass, strenuous exercise and hormonal levels of different hormones such as insulin growth factor 1 and testosterone.
Creatine supplements can be used by athletes to improve both their health and performance. The phosphocreatine in the muscles plays a vital role in the formation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is the energy used by muscles during athletics. Athletes in sports which require bursts of energy and explosive muscle power such as sprinting can use creatine supplements. The use of this supplementation is legal for athletes as creatine use is not considered as doping. The International Olympic committee has not banned this drug, and it can be used in competitive sports. Individuals who engage in high-intensity exercise or those who do weight lifting also require creatine.
Creatine can be used by an individual to gain muscular mass. There are different methods in which creatinine can lead to increased muscle size. The primary method is called cell volumization. Creatine leads to cell volumization through direct and indirect mechanisms. Creatine is a muscle osmolyte and therefore directly increases water absorption by the muscle cells, and this leads to an increase in their volume. Indirectly, the constant production of ATP from phosphocreatine leads to an increase in the muscle cell size leading to an overall increase in muscular mass. There are other ways through which one can increase their muscles using creatine. It raises levels of hormones such as insulin growth factor-1.
Creatine also reduces muscle protein breakdown which ensures the integrity and the size of the muscles are maintained. Creatine inhibits the growth of new muscles by suppressing the levels of myostatin in the body which increases the growth potential of the already existing muscles leading to an increase in their size.. Creatine in the muscles improves muscular cell signaling leading to better repair of muscles and thus maintaining their size and eventually promoting their increase in mass.
In some cases, Creatine has been used by individuals who want to lose weight. The principle of weight loss is related to cell volumization. The now huge muscles require more energy to sustain their new size and thus will have to draw to their fat reserves. The increased fat catabolism results in a significant decrease in weight. This method is not encouraged in women who are not bodybuilders as intake of creatine is always accompanied by an increase in muscle size.
An individual can use creatine for different reasons. The most common form of synthetic creatine is creatine monohydrate and athletes can use it to enhance their performance by increasing their muscle gain, improving the energy supply to their muscles and by losing weight.
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