Essay, Research Paper: Creatine In Sport


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In today's society, a lot of emphasis is placed on how you look. Almost
everybody wants that "perfect body". But with all the things people
have to do, not many are willing to put in the time to get it. So there must be
an easy way to get it. Right? Not too long ago people were experimenting with
anabolic steroids. They injected horse testosterone into their veins to increase
the amount of muscle mass produced from lifting. But after a while, some
professional athletes and high profile people started showing the side effects
that are associated with them. For example, Lyle Alzado, a popular star in the
NFL, developed a brain tumor and died. This scared a lot of people and the
recreational uses of steroids decreased. With the dangers of steroids well known
people started looking for other substances to give them an edge. Bee pollen,
carnitine and chromium picolinate, were among the things people tried. Of course
none of these worked. But now there is a product on the market that has been
proven to significantly enhance athletic performance in the areas of power,
strength, and muscle mass. This substance is Creatine Phosphate. ABOUT CREATINE
When you exercise you obviously burn energy. There are many things involved in
this process. The energy that you burn is called Adenosine Triphosphate, ATP.
This molecule has very high energy bonds between the phosphates and the rest of
the molecule. Your body breaks these bonds releasing the energy for use and
changing the molecule to ADP (di-phosphate). Since the body has a relatively low
supply of ATP, it needs to convert the ADP back into ATP. Creatine helps to
speed this process along. Creatine is an amino acid made in your liver and
stored in your muscles. In the diet it is found in milk, steak, and some fish.
Although scientists have known about it for about 160 years, studies on it have
have just started to be done. CREATINE SUPPLEMENTATION *Picture* After the
publication of test results in 1990, the area of creatine supplementation has
exploded. Now almost everyone knows what it is and someone who is using it. As
was stated earlier, creatine helps speed up the process of converting ADP back
into ATP. So it is logical that if you increase the amount of creatine you
should increase the conversion rate. The daily requirement of creatine is about
two grams. Most of the creatine supplement products recommend taking ten times
that amount for the first week or so to saturate your muscles, and five grams a
day to maintain it. In most published studies the logic is correct; if you
increase dietary creatine you increase stored creatine. DOES IT WORK? With the
increase of stored creatine there should be an increase in conversion time. In
most of the studies that I have seen this is true. There is also a relationship
between the amount of hydration in a muscle cell and the amount of work it can
do. Creatine makes the cell retain water and therefore should increase the
amount of work individual cells can do. But this is not all that it does. In
many studies, along with increased recovery time, creatine showed to increase
muscle mass, explosive power and strength. In one study groups of athletes put
on five to seven pounds of lean muscle mass in a month. These results were far
better than athletes receiving a placebo in the same study. Some critics state
that the increase in muscle mass is mostly water, but there are studies that say
there is an increase in the size of Type II muscle fibers. With the increase in
mass there should be an increase in power. In the same study the athletes saw a
thirty percent increase in bench-press. With an increase in strength and
recovery time there is an increase in overall explosive power. IS IT FOR ME?
Although creatine supplementation has shown results in particular areas, it
doesn't help everyone. The supplements are pretty expensive and with the
recommended dosage, they go pretty fast. If you are not serious about training
or are a weekend warrior you may see results but you will pay for them. But if
you are seriously into bodybuilding, creatine will help you see gains. Also,
athletes that perform short burst sprints with little recovery time will benefit
from creatine. Basketball and football players in particular. But if you are an
endurance athlete such as a marathoner or a sprinter there are studies that show
that creatine supplementation may slow you down. Some think it is from the
weight gained. There are also people who are immune to its effects. They are
officially called "nonresponders". These people are studied little and
it is not known why they are immune or who these people are. IS IT SAFE? Since
studies on creatine loading have only been going on for less than a decade, it
is still unknown what long term effects the extra creatine will have. Some
researchers fear that, with the amount of extra creatine contrived through the
diet, the body might stop producing it. The only way we will find out the
negative effects of long term use is time. The sales of creatine supplements are
very strong, so a lot of people are using it. After a decade goes by we might
find out the hard way that it is dangerous.
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