Creatine: properties, use, benefits and contraindications

Creatine is an amino acid known especially in sports, which strengthens and builds muscle mass, increasing body energy. Let’s find out better.

What is creatine used for

Creatine is an amino acid discovered in meat by the French Chevreul (1832). The body is able to synthesize it autonomously starting from three other amino acids called respectively arginine, glycine and methionine.

Creatine is a compound produced by the liver, kidneys and pancreas and sent to the muscles, primarily, and to the heart and brain. 

The daily requirement of creatine is about 2 grams per day and about one gram derives from the diet while the remainder is produced by endogenous synthesis.

Main functions of creatine

Creatine is used extensively for a large range of different functions, almost all of which are related to muscle building anyway.

Creatine is useful for increasing the body’s energy and  strengthens the muscles. In addition, in case of damage, it helps muscle repair and is useful for athletes to improve their performance. 

The positive effects of creatine derive from its ability to release energy in moments of maximum metabolic demand.

The main source of energy of our organism is ATP. This is produced from creatine by a process in which creatine is converted, in muscle, into phosphocreatine (with the addition of a phosphorus atom).

When the body makes a particular effort, phosphocreatine releases the phosphorus atom, which will bind to the ADP present in the muscle, converting it back into ATP. 

Therefore, phosphocreatine is a real concentrate of energy that is very useful when passing from a state of rest to one in which a certain strength is required (such as lifting an important weight).

Where is it 

Creatine monohydrate is the most used supplement in fitness and bodybuilders and can also be taken from various foods. Creatine is a particular substance that can be assimilated mainly from meat, pork, beef and chicken, and, more generally, from a common daily diet.

Even the body is able to produce small quantities, but the percentages are so low that they are not sufficient to develop the potential that this substance is known for, including muscle building.

Contraindications creatine

Among the main contraindications of creatine are dehydration and water retention. However, taking creatine can cause weight gain.

Further contraindications concern gastrointestinal disorders such as abdominal swelling, diarrhea, cramps and gastric disturbances. In the event of the appearance of one or more of the following symptoms, it is always advisable to contact your doctor.

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