What is creatine? – General information
What is it?
Creatine is a natural compound found in the body that is created by the pancreas, liver, and kidneys. It is made out of amino acids. Amino acids are very important because they are building blocks of protein. Creatine helps provide the entire body with energy, especially the muscles. It allows the body to move faster and more powerfully. It is important to understand that creatine is not a steroid. It is a naturally occurring substance that the body creates on its own.
It is often used by athletes to improve their performance, but it is also has several other uses.
Athletes often take creatine supplements to improve their performance. The supplement provides them with increased energy which results in longer and more intense workouts. Since the athlete is working out longer and with more energy, there will be an increase in muscle growth. Creatine is also associated with more power. It provides the athlete with more power to life heavier weights which also allows for more muscle growth. It also allows for bursts of power or energy that are useful in sprinting.
When should you take it?
Creatine can be taken both before and after a workout. When you take it depends on your workout goals. If you want more energy for your workouts, then it should be taken before the workout begins because it will give you the energy you need for longer training sessions. However, if your goal is to gain more muscle and more strength the best results will occur when creatine supplements are taken after the training session – it all depends on your exercise goals.
Creatine use has also been linked to improving and preventing certain diseases.
- Parkinson’s disease – health professional have found in animal studies that creatine use can slow down the progression of Parkinson’s disease symptoms by protecting cells from dying that are normally effected by the disease.
- Muscular dystrophy – Creatine supplements can improve the strength of the muscles of people suffering from muscular dystrophy. This is a disease that weakens the muscles and prevents movement. Taking supplements can help these patients regain some of the muscle strength they had prior to the disorder because it provides protein to the muscles that are needed for growth and repair.
- Depression – Many of the supplements taken by athletes aid in producing feel good feelings due to the release of serotonin. Exercise results in the release of serotonin which makes us feel better and happy. Supplements like creatine encourage exercise, which therefore have a link to serotonin release. People who suffer from depression have a serotonin imbalance – they do not produce enough of it. Taking creatine supplements can act as a treatment for depression because it provides energy for exercise which causes the release of serotonin.
Although creatine has several benefits there are also some negative consequences involved with the over usage and long term use of creatine supplements.
- Stomach pain
- Muscle cramping
- Kidney problems