What is Creatine?

What is Creatine?

Creatine is made up of the three amino acids:arginine, glycine and methionine. Our body produces creatine (it is made in theliver) and we also can get creatine from our diet. At any given time the averageperson has about 120 grams of creatine stored in their body.

Creatine is an essential, natural substancerequired for energy metabolism, muscular movement and human existence. Creatineis as essential to life as protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals.Creatine deficiencies have been associated with certain physical-musculardisorders that can be fatal in humans and animals.

The human body synthesizes creatine from 3 aminoacids: glycine, arginine, and methionine.

These amino acids are components of protein. In humans, the enzymes involved inthe synthesis of creatine are located in the liver, pancreas and kidneys.Creatine can be produced in any of these organs and then transported into themuscle via the bloodstream. Approximately 95% of the total creatine pool isstored in skeletal muscle tissue. The remaining 5% can be found in the heart,brain and testes. As stated earlier, it is estimated that a 70 kg (154 lbs.)male will have a total creatine pool of approximately 140 grams in his body. Thetotal creatine pool in humans refers to the combined amount of creatine in itsfree form and phosphocreatine form. In skeletal muscle tissue, phosphocreatineaccounts for two-thirds of the total creatine pool, with free form creatinemaking up the balance. In the absence of exogenous (from the diet) creatine, therate of creatine excreted in the form of creatinine has been estimated to bearound 1.6% per day in humans. Thus, with a bodyweight of 70kg (154 lbs.) and atotal creatine pool of 140 grams, a human will lose approximately 2 grams ofcreatine per day from normal everyday activity. This turnover of creatine willincrease with greater physical activity and must be replaced by the diet or thebody's own natural production. Dietary creatine is found mostly in meat, fishand other animal products. Plants contain only trace amounts. The average dailydiet of meats and vegetables contains an estimated creatine level of 1 gram. Asonly some of the daily requirement of creatine can be attained from diet, thebody must synthesize the rest. A vegetarian's daily requirement for creatine canonly be achieved by endogenous (from within the body) synthesis via the enzymeGAMT. The effect of aging on the level of free form creatine and phosphocreatinehas been studied by Moller and colleagues at the Karolinska Institute inStockholm. Interestingly, there were no differences in the total creatine levelsbetween a group of elderly (aged 52 to 79) and young (aged 18 to 36). But thestudy did reveal that the younger participants had higher phosphocreatine levelsthan did the older group. Such differences can be attributed to the greaterlevel of activity in the younger group.

Creatine provides energy for your muscles

In your body you have an energy containingcompound called ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate). What is important to knowabout ATP is that the body can very quickly get energy from a ATP reaction. Youhave other sources of energy such as carbohydrates and fat - but they takelonger to convert into a useable energy source. When you are doing an intensequick burst activity such as lifting a weight or sprinting, your muscles use ATPfor a quick burst of energy.

In order for ATP to release its energy it mustgive up a phosphate molecule and become ADP (adenosine di-phosphate).Unfortunately, we do not have an endless supply of ATP. In fact, your musclesonly contain enough ATP to last about 10-15 seconds at maximum exertion.

Here is where the creatine comes in to play.When creatine enters the muscles it bonds with a phosphate and becomes creatinephosphate (CP). CP is able to react with the ADP in your body and turn"useless" ADP back into the "super useful" energy source -ATP. More ATP in your body means more fuel for your muscles.

This is the process by which creatine providesmore energy for your muscles.

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