In the past couple of decades, creatine has been one of the most studied supplements in the sport nutrition industry. It is well known that creatine proves to be beneficial for anaerobic activity, but for some people, they are still skeptical about the supplement. Myths about how creatine causes deterioration in gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, renal and liver function deterioration lurking over head has plagued the supplement since it was first introduced. Numerous studies have tested the health of effects of creatine and the only reported side effect was a gain in body mass.
The key feature about creatine is its ability to bind to a high energy phosphate. The cells in the human body store their energy in the form of a molecule named adenosine triphosphate, or more commonly known as ATP. The amount of work muscles can produce is in direct correlation with ATP availability and ease of creating ATP. Creatine enhances physical performance by increasing the number of times that ATP can be recycled during physical exertion without increasing the absolute amount of ATP stored within our muscles. The daily oral ingestion of supplementary creatine monohydrate can substantially elevate the creatine content of muscles. The elevated muscle creatine content improves contractile performance in sports with repeated high-intensity exercise bouts. A more pronounced muscle hypertrophy and a faster recovery from atrophy have been demonstrated in humans involved in resistance training while ingesting a creatine supplement.
If the effects on anaerobic performance aren’t enough for you, let’s take a look at what else creatine has an impact on in the body. Creatine has a positive impact on numerous diseases and disorders. Of these, creatine aids in sleep deprivation, neuromuscular disease, congestive heart failure, artherosclerotic heart disease, neurodegenerative disease, alzheimers disease as well as postoperative surgical recovery - just to name a few.
Sleep deprivation has a negative effect on cognitive and psychomotor performance and mood state, partially due to decreases in creatine levels in the brain. During brain activity, brain phosphocreatine levels decrease rapidly in order to maintain constant ATP levels. Creatine monohydrate can increase brain creatine levels and is an inexpensive and popular dietary supplement among athletes, which can improve muscle and brain performance. Recent studies have demonstrated central metabolic changes resulting from creatine supplementation, which suggests this nutrient could alter not only muscle, but cognitive function.
Decreases in phosphocreatine concentrations in neuromuscular disease causes muscle weakness, atrophy and handicap. Consuming a creatine supplement can help offset these effects and slow, if not stop, the onset of neuromuscular disease. In patients with congestive heart failure, creatine improves contractile function of the heart and actually allows patients to work out at a greater intensity after creatine supplementation.
Inadequate food intake and muscle atrophy are common in patients with orthopedic surgical procedures and immobilization. Tempering of muscle atrophy in such situations could facilitate rehabilitation. Long-term creatine administration to patients with Type II (fast-twitch) muscle fiber atrophy resulted in a 43% increase in fiber diameter after 1 year of supplementation; this benefit was subsequently maintained for up to 5 years. A study has demonstrated enhanced recovery of leg strength after knee surgery in the group given 1g daily of phosphocreatine intravenously over 1 month, as compared to a control group.
Products like NO-Shotgun and NO-SyntheSize contain ample amounts of creatine in them. As shown above, creatine not only has indisputable evidence that it aids in exercise performance, but it also has numerous benefits in the brain and heart. Despite lingering myths concerning creatine supplementation in conjunction with exercise, creatine remains one of the most extensively studied, as well as effective, nutritional aids available to athletes.
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