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The Creatine Conundrum

Creatine is an amino acid derivative constructed from arginine, glycine and methionine. It is a nitrogenous organic compund synthesized by the body in the kidneys, liver, and pancreas at a rate of about 1-2 grams/day. Creatine can also be obtained through food (particularly red meat) and supplementation. The uptake of creatine into muscle cells is an active process.

Image Fitness UK What is Vitamin D The Creatine Conundrum

90-95% of creatine in the body is found in muscle. Creatine is degraded into creatinine and excreted in the urine at a rate of around 2 grams/day. The energy needs of brief, rapid and powerful movements lasting fewer than 10 seconds, such as a short sprint, are met by the phosphagen system. This system quickly replenishes the stores of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, which provides energy to the working cells. Skeletal muscle only has a very small amount of stored ATP that can be readily used by the body. ATP is broken down by removing a phosphate, which turns it into adenosine diphosphate (two phosphates). To make more ATP, the muscles need to get the missing third phosphate from somewhere.

Creatine phosphate donates its phosphate so that ADP can become ATP again, and so you can complete your full set of 5 reps @ 95% of your 1RM on the bench press.

Because creatine plays a major role in this system (ATP-PC), more creatine means more potential ATP, which in turn can mean improved performance on high-intensity tasks with short duration. Its important to keep in mind that long-duration, low-intensity activities rely more on a different energy system (aerobic system) as a result they are not typically enhanced by creatine — in other words, creatine will help a sprint but not a marathon.

Top Tips:
• Use the monohydrate form
• Consume 3-5 grams of creatine per day
• Dissolve the creatine in a warm beverage like green tea
• You can also take your creatine before and/or after workout sessions with your workout nutrition
• Take a break from creatine supplementation after using for 12-16 weeks

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