Essay, Research Paper: Creatine In Sport

Sport

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One of the primary things an athlete will do is put supplements into their body.
These supplements range from protein shakes to illegal anabolic steroids. Some
sports supplements are incredibly safe and effective, yet others work for a
while and then fizzle out, while others still work well but do more damage than
good in the long run. In the past athletes had to turn to such things as
anabolic steroids or blood doping (the process of taking out blood and adding
oxygen to it and putting it back into your body in order to increase a persons
endurance). However, these procedures have many drawbacks. Mainly, they are
illegal. An athlete may be suspended from playing their perspective sport for
using them. They have many long terms and short term side effects. Many
supplements are as simple as packaged energy and others require a strict
exercise and eating regimen. I will explore sports supplements focusing on
creatine and it's effect on the sport world. The first and most basic sports
supplements are protein weight gainers. This normally comes in the form of
powder and works best when mixed with milk. The main reason for taking extra
protein is to gain weight and muscle mass. In today's athletics, whether it is
high school, college, or professional, the athletes are getting bigger and
stronger. Protein works the best when the athlete is on a strict work out
regimen. Many sports supplements are a combination of herbs and proteins. A
popular supplement of this sort is called "Heat." Heat has many
different ingredients in it that allow the athlete to experience more energy by
creating more heat. This allows the athletes' body to work more efficiently and
therefore work faster, stronger, and longer. This is very important in the
sports world because it is becoming harder and harder to compete at an
unsupplemented level. Athletes want every advantage that he or she can receive.
Now there is a substance that can give an athlete the edge that they desire. One
of the most popular and effective sports supplements on the market today is Pure
creatine Monohydrate. Creatine was first introduced to the US in 1993 by a
supplement company called Experimental and Applied Sciences. Since that time it
has become one of the most demanded items on the market. The creatine that is
bought in stores duplicates the natural creatine that is produced by the kidney,
liver, and pancreas. Creatine Monohydrate has been proven to significantly
enhance athletic performance in the areas of power, strength, and muscle mass.
Most importantly though, it doesn't seem to have any serious side effects. Also,
since Creatine is found naturally in the body and in foods, it is likely that it
will not be removed from sports. What is Creatine? Creatine is a nutrient that
is found in many foods. It is most highly concentrated in lean red meat. A
half-pound of red meat contains about two grams of Creatine. Every human body
also produces Creatine in very small amounts, though some people produce more
than others. Creatine is necessary for proper cell functions and cell
reproduction, it is also a primary storage for energy in muscles. How does
Creatine work? When somebody is exercising, his or her muscles demand energy.
The energy that the muscle gets is called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). As the
muscles keep contracting, the ATP is turned into adenosine diphosphate (ADP).
ADP causes your muscles to fatigue. Creatine Phosphate helps to convert ADP into
ATP when the ATP is gone. In doing this, the athlete has better endurance during
his of her workout or event. Creatine producers and users claim it to have many
advantages, such as increased endurance, increased overall work potential,
increased speed of muscular action, and the potential to further increase muscle
mass. Creatine also accelerates protein synthesis. If all this were true, it
would be easy to see why athletes are turning to Creatine for an edge on their
competition. But are these claims real? Is their scientific proof of what
Creatine does? Yes, since Creatine came onto the supplement market it has been
tested extensively. Research in human sports science indicates that if you
supplement a normal diet with Creatine it will increase the Creatine content in
the muscles. The Texas A&M football program, experimented by putting only a
few of their players on Creatine in 1994, and as a result by 1995 they put their
whole team on Creatine. The facts don't lie Creatine has definite advantages.
Since studies on Creatine loading have only been going on for less than a
decade, it is still unknown what long-term effects will have. Several small
short- term side effects include dehydration, diarrhea, and muscle cramping.
Also, Creatine might not be able to help a person in their sport. For example,
Creatine does not always benefit an athlete who participates in an aerobic sport
such as swimming, and long distance running. From a long distance runner's point
of view, Creatine would be bad to take. Creatine causes an athlete to retain
water, causing them to gain weight. The Athletes that will receive the most
benefit from creatine are athletes in power and performance sports such as
football and wrestling. Though even with wrestling creatine can be dangerous
because of the weight gaining factor, so more effective use my be during the
off-season. For such sports as football, Creatine can be very useful in gaining
strength and size, while maintaining or increasing speed and endurance.
Bodybuilders can also use Creatine as a legal and effective way to enhance
muscle growth. Creatine use can best summed up pretty easy, a person can take
all the Creatine they want, but if the proper biological, physiological, and
nutritional factors aren't in place, it won't be of even the slightest benefit.
Creatine is a true athletes supplement. It allows an athlete to work out harder
and more frequently. Plus, it helps an athlete to become bigger, faster and
stronger. In addition, Creatine delivers these benefits without causing any
serious harm, if any. "The only proven side effect has been weight
gain"(AFQ, pg. 44). What is the positive side of sports supplements such as
Creatine? With the rise of popularity in sports supplements, sports are becoming
more competitive. This creates new interest in sports and helps athletes get in
better shape. Creatine almost works like magic and gives the athlete an extra
boost when it is really needed, and the athlete is struggling. With sports
becoming more and more global, natural athletes are dominating the playing
field. Sports supplements are out there to help those with less natural talent
reach their full potential by helping them to become faster, stronger and to
have more endurance. "As long as athletes are encouraged to accept the
norms of the sport ethic without question or qualification, they will continue
to voluntarily try anything or take anything to remain in sports"(Coakley,
pg.175). Sports Supplements have taken sports to a new level of competition
helping more athletes succeed. Creatine though is not without its down sides.
Many people criticize and worry that extensive use of this somewhat new
supplement may be premature. The side effects are very minimal so far and are
restricted to cramping, nausea, and diarrhea. The cause of this, many scientists
believe, is because the user doesn't drink enough water while working out, and
with creatine the athlete can dehydrate much quicker because water gets absorbed
into the muscles faster. As of right now, it is perceived that creatine does
more good than evil and is, therefore, worth the occasional stomach ache. Though
many reports say that Creatine may cause a person to dehydrate, some disagree
with this view. Steven Plisk, director of sports conditioning at Yale U., "Creatine
doesn't have a dehydrating effect on individual muscle cells. If anything,
creatine adds water to the muscle-explaining some of the weight gain"(AfQ,
pg. 44). Many still argue the credibility of negative comments toward creatine,
but none argue its positive effects. Just shoving creatine into your body
without proper exercise will result only in creation of fat and waste. Creatine
is not going to make someone a better athlete, he or she has to go out and do it
themselves. If anything creatine requires one to increase their workouts and
effort, because the body's tolerance to exhaustion is higher. Another problem
that people may see with creatine is the cost factor. A Creatine supply for a
month will average close to forty-five dollars. With the cost of this and other
supplements being so high, it seems that the higher class athletes would have an
advantage, which causes many critics of creatine(or supplements in general) to
deem it unfair. Their case is, athletes of one group should not be permitted to
have an advantage over another due to something such as money. In conclusion,
Creatine is and can be a very effective supplement for athletes, it doesn't help
everyone. Depending on the person and the sport they are participating in
creatine's effects can be either positive or negative. Though long term research
on the effects of creatine have not been confirmed, as of now the only side
effects are diarrhea, nausea, and weight gain. These are outweighed by the
increased success that one may have in their strength and performance in sports.
Creatine has a positive effect on sports as well as its negative effect,
therefore each person should weigh the positive and negative, then make the
decision for themselves.
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