Is creatine good for you?

What is creatine?

Creatine, short for phosphocreatine or creatine phosphate, is a muscle building supplement that is found naturally in the body. Synthetic creatine is now being created and consumed as an a body building supplement.

How does it work?

Creatine is a naturally occurring chemical in muscles that recycles ADP+P into ATP (

Adenosine triphosphate). ATP is a very energy rich chemical found in most living things, and is produced in the mitochondria. When a muscle uses ATP to contract, the ATP breaks down into ADP+P. These smaller components then wait to be recycled into ATP at naturally occurring creatine chemicals. Synthetic creatine does this same purpose, allowing body builders to have more energy due to more ADP+P being converted into ATP (energy).

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The pros

  • According to http://healthresearchfunding.org, creatine is very safe, and an intake of less than 3 grams a day may be risk free.
  • According to http://www.gssiweb.org, creatine gives improved performance in activities less than 30 seconds in length.
  • http://www.clevelandclinicwellness.com says that it increases muscle mass due to that creatine intakes water when absorbed into the muscles. This is a pro if someone wants to use creatine to look stronger/more muscular, but it will not actually make someone stronger (like steroids).
  • It is naturally produced in the body, essentially you are just adding more of it

The cons

  • Like a drug, you can develop a reliance on it. Without out you may face fatigue and have much less energy than normal
  • http://www.clevelandclinicwellness.com did say that it increased muscle mass, but this can be a bad thing for some sports. The increased mass of muscle can make some sports harder due to the increased weight, especially endurance sports as creatine only helps with burst activities.
  • The muscles get larger due to retaining more water, and according to http://healthresearchfunding.org, the retaining of this water can lead to an increased risk of dehydration.
  • http://healthresearchfunding.org also mentions that the use of creatine may place more stress on the kidneys and bladder, increasing risk for damage on them.
  • They only came as a major source of bodybuilding suppliments in the 1990's, meaning that they haven't been researched much.

So should I take it?

Like with many things, it depends. The health risks it provides are minimal, almost none, making it very safe to use. It does however increase muscle mass, which can be a negative thing for some sports. If you are in a sport where a light weight>stronger muscles, then you should not take creatine. But if weight isn't a factor, or if a heavier weight is a good thing, then creatine may be a good thing for you.
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