More than a sports nutrition supplement
By Will Brink, author of: Muscle Building Nutrition
and Diet Supplements Revealed
Although creatine offers an array of
benefits, most people think of it simply as a supplement that
bodybuilders and other athletes use to gain strength and muscle mass.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
A substantial body of research has found that creatine may have a wide
variety of uses. In fact, creatine is being studied as a supplement that
may help with diseases affecting the neuromuscular system, such as
muscular dystrophy (MD). Recent studies suggest creatine may have
therapeutic applications in aging populations for wasting syndromes,
muscle atrophy, fatigue, gyrate atrophy, Parkinson's disease,
Huntington's disease and other brain pathologies. Several studies have
shown creatine can reduce cholesterol by up to 15% and it has been used
to correct certain inborn errors of metabolism, such as in people born
without the enzyme(s) responsible for making creatine. Some studies have
found that creatine may increase growth hormone production.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is formed in the human body from the amino acids methionine,
glycine and arginine. The average person's body contains approximately
120 grams of creatine stored as creatine phosphate. Certain foods such
as beef, herring and salmon, are fairly high in creatine. However, a
person would have to eat pounds of these foods daily to equal what can
be obtained in one teaspoon of powdered creatine.
Creatine is directly related to adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is
formed in the powerhouses of the cell, the mitochondria. ATP is often
referred to as the "universal energy molecule" used by every
cell in our bodies. An increase in oxidative stress coupled with a
cell's inability to produce essential energy molecules such as ATP, is a
hallmark of the aging cell and is found in many disease states. Key
factors in maintaining health are the ability to: (a) prevent
mitochondrial damage to DNA caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS) and
(b) prevent the decline in ATP synthesis, which reduces whole body ATP
levels. It would appear that maintaining antioxidant status (in
particular intra-cellular glutathione) and ATP levels are essential in
fighting the aging process.
It is interesting to note that many of the most promising anti-aging
nutrients such as CoQ10, NAD, acetyl-l-carnitine and lipoic acid are all
taken to maintain the ability of the mitochondria to produce high energy
compounds such as ATP and reduce oxidative stress. The ability of a cell
to do work is directly related to its ATP status and the health of the
mitochondria. Heart tissue, neurons in the brain and other highly active
tissues are very sensitive to this system. Even small changes in ATP can
have profound effects on the tissues' ability to function properly. Of
all the nutritional supplements available to us currently, creatine
appears to be the most effective for maintaining or raising ATP levels.
In a nutshell, creatine works to help generate energy. When ATP loses a
phosphate molecule and becomes adenosine diphosphate (ADP), it must be
converted back to ATP to produce energy. Creatine is stored in the human
body as creatine phosphate (CP) also called phosphocreatine. When ATP is
depleted, it can be recharged by CP. That is, CP donates a phosphate
molecule to the ADP, making it ATP again. An increased pool of CP means
faster and greater recharging of ATP, which means more work can be
performed. This is why creatine has been so successful for athletes. For
short-duration explosive sports, such as sprinting, weight lifting and
other anaerobic endeavors, ATP is the energy system used.
How does Creatine work?
To date, research has shown that ingesting creatine can increase the
total body pool of CP which leads to greater generation of energy for
anaerobic forms of exercise, such as weight training and sprinting.
Other effects of creatine may be increases in protein synthesis and
increased cell hydration.
Creatine has had spotty results in affecting performance in endurance
sports such as swimming, rowing and long distance running, with some
studies showing no positive effects on performance in endurance
athletes. Whether or not the failure of creatine to improve performance
in endurance athletes was due to the nature of the sport or the design
of the studies is still being debated.
Creatine can be found in the form of
creatine monohydrate, creatine citrate, creatine phosphate, creatine-magnesium
chelate and even liquid versions. However, the vast majority of research
to date showing creatine to have positive effects on pathologies, muscle
mass and performance used the monohydrate form. Creatine monohydrate is
over 90% absorbable. What follows is a review of some of the more
interesting and promising research studies with creatine.
One of the most promising areas of research with creatine is its effect
on neuromuscular diseases such as MD. One study looked at the safety and
efficacy of creatine monohydrate in various types of muscular
dystrophies using a double blind, crossover trial. Thirty-six patients
(12 patients with facioscapulohumeral dystrophy, 10 patients with Becker
dystrophy, eight patients with Duchenne dystrophy and six patients with
sarcoglycan-deficient limb girdle muscular dystrophy) were randomized to
receive creatine or placebo for eight weeks. The researchers found there
was a "mild but significant improvement" in muscle strength in
all groups. The study also found a general improvement in the patients'
daily-life activities as demonstrated by improved scores in the Medical
Research Council scales and the Neuromuscular Symptom scale. Creatine
was well tolerated throughout the study period, according to the
Creatine and neuromuscular diseases
Another group of researchers fed creatine monohydrate to people with
neuromuscular disease at 10 grams per day for five days, then reduced
the dose to 5 grams per day for five days. The first study used 81
people and was followed by a single-blinded study of 21 people. In both
studies, body weight, handgrip, dorsiflexion and knee extensor strength
were measured before and after treatment. The researchers found "Creatine
administration increased all measured indices in both studies."
Short-term creatine monohydrate increased high-intensity strength
significantly in patients with neuromuscular disease.2
There have also
been many clinical observations by physicians that creatine improves the
strength, functionality and symptomology of people with various diseases
of the neuromuscular system.
Continued on page 2 >> Creatine
Free Report >> The "Creatine
Report" is a free and in depth report on creatine's usage in sports, health and anti-aging.
In this report you will learn what creatine is and how it works, and what it can do for you.
See Will Brinks other ebooks online here:
A complete guide bodybuilding
supplements and eating to gain lean muscle
A review of diet supplements and
guide to eating for maximum fat loss
Note: both ebooks also cover supplements
for their respective goals along with exercise advice.
<< click for more info
Click on the
image to download this pdf recipe eBook at no cost.
Don't forget to sign up for our "cutting edge" Alternative
and receive a bonus report on "Blood Pressure".
Pain Relief | Bursitis
Treatment | Fibromyalgia
Pain Relief | Gout
Treatment | Tendonitis
Treatment | Natural
Health Products | Health