Creatine occurs naturally in the body; about 95% is found in skeletal muscle as free creatine and creatine phosphate. Creatine is manufactured by the kidneys, liver and pancreas from amino acids arginine, glycine and methionine. Creatine occurs naturally in the diet and in the body. It is found in foods with muscle or nerves (e.g. fish, meat, shellfish and eggs). The role of creatine phosphate is to generate ATP (adenosine triphosphate) as quickly as it is broken down. There is enough creatine in a muscle to allow ATP regeneration for the first 6 seconds or so of a sprint exercise before glucose can be used to produce ATP. In other words, creatine phosphate helps create enough ATP for the first 50 or 60 meters of a 100-meter sprint. Thereafter, glucose is broken down to produce ATP for fuel during exercise.
Creatine has a second function of acting as a buffer to reduce lactic acid buildup in the muscle, which helps delay fatigue.
To keep it simple, snap your fingers. The muscle energy used to do this is ATP which will last around 4-6 seconds, that's it, you run out of ATP in this time frame (unless it can somehow be replaced as fast as it is used). In other words, as a coach, the longest I can ask you to do something wide open is about 6 seconds. If you have more creatine in your muscles than I do, you might be able to go farther than I can in the same time frame because the ATP is replaced as fast as it's used. If we were lifting weights, you might be able to do 5 sets of 10 repetitions, while I'm doing 3 sets of 10 , because you recover faster between heavy bouts of exercise than I do. The key is intensity! Creatine allows you to increase your intensity; to get more work done in the same amount of time. If you get more high intensity work done, such as lifting weights or sprinting, in the same amount of time as I do, you will get bigger (up to a point) and stronger.
Though Creatine is the most scientifically researched "supplement" available today, the ONLY people who get "pure" Creatine Monohydrate are the researchers. Who knows what is in the container you or your athlete purchases. WHY? Because there is little, if any, control over the supplement market. So there can be things in the container that are not on the label and, things on the label that are not in the container.
Unfortunately most coaches and athletes are only interested in four things: Bigger, Stronger, Faster, Quicker; but at what price? What if there just happens to be a "banned substance" in the supplement you are taking and you don't know it? Literally a lifetime of training can be wiped out in a instant when a blood test is administered for qualification at a National, World or Olympic event and you test positively for a "banned" substance. Is it worth the risk? I don't think so.
In fact, you could drink 2-3 complete cans of this stuff and never gain a pound of muscle or get stronger. WHY? Because the correct energy system needs to be trained so recovery from intense exercise can be attained. How is this done? By eating good food, drinking lots of water and training correctly. The athlete, trainer or coach must understand which energy system, or combination of energy systems, (ATP/PC), Lactate, Glycogen, Fat system is being used for a given activity or sport. Then you can train the body to use its energy systems, in this case Creatine, for maximum benefit, but you can't just get it out of a can, regardless of what you are told. The risk is just too great in my opinion. Is there a MAGIC PILL – NO!
The manufacturers don't care about you, they only care about selling their product, in this case creatine.
Author/speaker and an expert in ”Sports Performance Enhancement”. Jack Medina is available for speaking engagements, consultation and personal training of athletes in various sports, professional and amateur. Jack has written a new book, “The Winning Edge: Fueling & Training The Body For Peak Performance” with Dr. Roy Vartabedian, an internationally known New York Times Best Selling Author of the “Nutripoints” program for optimal nutrition. Both books are available online at www.jackmedina.com. Jack also has a monthly ezine (newsletter) available free which can be subscribed to on his website. All subscriber’s addresses will be confidential and not sold or given to any other organization or group.
This article contains copyrighted material. Copies of this article may be reprinted without permission of the author only when this bi-line is included with each copy. Jack can be reached at email@example.com