Sports supplements, are they worth it?
When combined with weight training, creatine is the world’s best supplement for adding muscle mass and improving exercise performance. These benefits occur via several processes, including alterations in the muscle cell, hormonal changes and other biological alterations within the body. Creatine plays a key role in the production of ATP, which is important for short and high-intensity exercise like weight lifting. As is the case with strength training, high-intensity sprints utilize the ATP energy system for fuel .In order to provide benefits, creatine supplements must elevate your body’s phosphocreatine stores.
The additional phosphocreatine, which is stored in your muscles, brain and other organs, can then be used to create extra ATP energy.
In addition to increasing the water content of muscles, when combined with training creatine can boost your actual muscle fiber size. These benefits occurred in both the slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscle fiber types. Not surprisingly, creatine has been shown to boost sprint performance. - Although numerous studies show that creatine benefits sprint performance, it’s worth noting that several studies found no benefit at all !
The International Society of Sports Nutrition regards creatine as extremely safe and concludes it is one of the most beneficial sports supplements available. Leading researchers who have studied creatine for several decades also conclude that it is one of the safest supplements on the market. Current research suggests that creatine does not cause liver or kidney problems in healthy people, and contrary to some myths, Creatine does not increase digestive issues when the recommended dosages and loading guidelines are followed.
Creatine is found throughout the body, with 95% being stored in the muscles. It is obtained from meat and fish and can also be produced in the body from amino acids. However, the amount that you get from the diet and is produced in your body is usually not enough to maximize muscle creatine stores. The average stores are about 120 mmol/kg, but creatine supplements can elevate these stores to around 140–150 mmol/kg.
Weight gain from creatine is due to increased water content within the muscle and long-term muscle growth, not fat storage.
You should discuss the use of creatine supplements with your Doctor if you are taking any medications that affect liver or kidney function. Such medications may include cyclosporine, aminoglycosides, gentamicin, tobramycin, anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and numerous others.
You should also discuss creatine use with a doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have a serious condition such as heart disease or cancer.
Creatine has also been used to treat various diseases and health problems, including neuromuscular disorders, concussions, diabetes and muscle loss, and may help the elderly maintain muscle mass, strength and brain function. Creatine can help improve blood sugar management, so if you are using medication known to affect blood sugar, you should discuss creatine use with a doctor.
Greater phosphocreatine stores in the brain also protect against neurological diseases. They may also improve brain function in those with lower than average stores, such as the elderly and vegetarians. Creatine supplements can improve brain function for those with low creatine levels,
however, those who have higher levels to begin with may not receive a significant increase in these stores and therefore see little or no benefit from supplements. When conducted in adults with normal creatine levels, studies have confirmed less or no additional benefits.
So all in all, creatine is a safe and effective supplement, and has many extra health benefits, especially in vegetarians, who may have low levels, and in the elderly.
Thanks to Authority Nutrition
Written by SureSlim's Dr Ali.