What Does Creatine Do?
Creatine is a very popular supplement among body builders. However, there are still many people, even those who work out, who don’t know what creatine is or why it might be helpful to bodybuilders.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is an acid produced in the liver that supplies energy to muscle cells. Most of the creatine made by the body is stored in the muscles that support the skeleton.
Creatine is also produced synthetically and is used as a supplement by many athletes. Creatine can also be found in some foods.
Foods Containing Creatine
Since creatine is produced in the bodies of humans, you might have guessed that animals produce creatine, too.
The best sources of creatine in the diet come from beef and fish.
In fact, one pound of beef contains five grams of creatine. Several types of fish are good sources of creatine, including tuna; but salmon is the best source of creatine.
How Creatine Helps Build Muscle and Increase Endurance
Many serious athletes swear by creatine as a good way to help build muscle faster and increase athletic endurance. Recent studies have shown that creatine does not improve aerobic performance, but does help with muscle building.
The ATP Molecule In Creatine
The way creatine helps with muscle building is actually pretty complex. It involves ATP, a complex molecule. All organisms, as far as we can tell, use ATP as their primary energy source.
ATP is required during muscle contraction. For every contraction cycle, energy comes from the ATP molecule through a chemical reaction. This reaction converts ATP to ADP, a slightly different substance. The ADP must then be recharged back into ATP for another muscle contraction to happen. In order for the ADP to convert back to ATP, it requires the presence of creatine.
Therefore, ensuring that our bodies have adequate levels of creatine is critical to working our muscles to their maximum capacity. In fact, to get the very best muscular performance, experts recommend that your muscles be saturated with creatine.
To get enough creatine in their bodies to enhance performance, most bodybuilders use creatine monohydrate as a supplement. To reach muscle saturation, you will need 20 grams per day for one week, or 4 per day for one month.
Maintenance is 3-5 grams per day for one to two months. Experts recommend giving your body a break from creatine after a couple of months. Usually a one to two week break is sufficient.
Creatine is a perfectly legal substance, and there have been no studies showing that it was harmful. Therefore, it is a widely used supplement and is accepted by most sports governing bodies. If you’re interested in building muscle more quickly and improving your athletic performance, it might be worth giving creatine a try.