The Benefits and Side Effects of Creatine
What is creatine?
An amino acid (amino acids are the building blocks of protein) made in one’s liver and kidneys. One can get it if he/she is following a diet which contains meat and animal products. Creatine is an element which has no color, crystalline and can be used in muscle tissue in order to get phosphocreatine which has importance in producing adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the main muscle contraction source of energy and several other body functions.
What does it normally do in the body?
Creatine is converted into a molecule called “phosphocreatine” which plays an important role in storing quick energy. The importance of phosphocreatine is especially in tissues like the voluntary muscles and the nervous system; both of them need high energy amounts from time to time.
Why do athletes take it?
According to some studies, athletes need creatine because it allows them increase their performances in activities which need using quick impulsive energy like sprinting. Creatine also helps athletes to regain their stamina faster after making impulsive energy. To maintain strong body building style, it would be better to use creatine. It makes your muscle mass grow instead of muscle endurance; it is not recommended for athletes joining endurance activities. Though, muscle mass may be increased because of water retention not increased muscle tissue.
Why have I been hearing so much about it and neuromuscular disorders?
Two studies assumed that creatine would be better for neuromuscular disorders. Firstly, a study by MDA-funded researcher M. Flint Beal of Cornell University Medical Center showed that it has double effect more than the prescribed drug riluzole in extending the lives of mice with the degenerative neural disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease). Secondly, a study held by Canadian researchers Mark Tarnopolsky and Joan Martin of McMaster University Medical Center in Ontario approved that creatine can lead to a little increase in people’s power who have a diversity of neuromuscular disorders. Beal’s work was published in the March 1999 issue of Nature Neuroscience and the second paper was published in the March 1999 issue of Neurology.
I want to start taking creatine, is it safe?
Athletes have not been exposed to reverse side-effects of creatine. However, it is discovered recently that some kidney damage reports are related to its usage. No reports have defined any certain consistent toxicity in studies of creatine supplementation while dehydration is considered as a problem due to creatine consumption.
In general, athletes have 20grams “loading dose” of creatine daily for five or six days, after that they will continue with 2 or 5 grams as a “maintenance dose” daily.
What are the side effects?
There are no significant results about creatine long-term side effects and there are no reports about its supplementation studies affirmed any consistent toxicity; it is just diarrhea was the common reported reverse side effect of it, followed by muscle cramping. There are no effects on kidney, liver and blood functions whether by the long term lower amounts or the short term higher amounts of creatine supplementation in healthy young adults. The result of a small study of people who have 5 to 30 grams daily is that there is no change in kidney function even after more than five years of supplementation. Some studies talked about suffering from muscle cramping after taking creatine supplementation.