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Posted 3/16/07CLICK TO PRINT

NAME: Creatine

Also called: Creatine Citrate, Creatine Monohydrate, Creatine Phosphate

DESCRIPTION: Creatine is a non-protein amino acid found in animals and, in much lesser amounts, plants. Creatine is synthesized in the kidney, liver and pancreas from the amino acids L-arginine, glycine and L-methionine.

Following its biosynthesis, creatine is transported to the skeletal muscle, heart, brain and other tissues. Most of the creatine is metabolized in these tissues to phosphocreatine (creatine phosphate). Phosphocreatine is a major energy storage form in the body.

Creatine supplements gained popularity in recent years, particularly among bodybuilders and other competitive athletes, and some studies of young peoople (20 years of age average) have shown that creatine supplements improve strength and lean muscle mass during high-intensity, short-duration exercises (like weightlifting). However, its use for athletic performance is controversial and its use is restricted by several athletic organizations.

FUNCTION: Strenuous anaerobic exercise and even hypermetabolic conditions cause the body, lean body tissue mostly, to rely heavily on creatine phosphate for muscular contraction and other energy requirements within the cell.

Supplemental creatine comes most often in either a monohydrate or phosphate form. The monohydrate form appears to be more readily absorbed than creatine phosphate. The monohydrate is carried into the bloodstream where it is transformed into the creatine phosphate form that the muscles use.

Supplying this form allows the muscles to replenish levels quickly and sustain high levels, since skeletal muscle doesn’t create its own but imports it from the bloodstream. It also helps recycle the important energy-providing molecule, adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

SOURCES: Primary dietary sources include beef, pork, and fish (especially tuna, herring, and salmon). Raw red meat contains about 1.8 grams per pound. Sushi may be the best source for creatine, as cooking affects creatine's bioavailability.
DATA: Results from tests of creatine have been decidedly mixed and have been conducted largely in studies of short duration and in laboratory settings. Effects of long-term use are unknown.
CAUTIONS: There is limited systematic study of the safety, pharmacology, or toxicology of creatine. Individuals using creatine should inform their physician or other qualified healthcare professional.

People with diabetes should consult their physician before using creatine and, if using, monitor their blood sugar closely.

Do not use creatine if you have kidney (renal) problems.

Excessive use may cause acne; drink plenty of fluids.

Part of creatine’s effect is to increase the amount of water in muscle cells, plumping them up. Adequate hydration (drinking enough water) to keep up with the added needs as well as to help your kidneys makes sense.

Creatine supplements should be avoided by: children, adolescents, pregnant women, nursing mothers and anyone at risk for renal disorders such as diabetics.

Typical adverse effects are gastrointestinal and include nausea, diarrhea and indigestion. Also common are muscle cramping and strains. Weight gain may occur from water retention.

FOR MORE
INFORMATION:
University of Maryland's Center for Integrative Medicine's website has a good entry on creatine.
RELATED
PRODUCTS:
Creatine Monohydrate (Jarrow Formulas) Each container, one kilogram (1,000 grams) of micronized creatine.
PRODUCT NOTES: Suggested use: 20 grams in divided doses per day (one heaping teaspoon of Creatine Monohydrate powder = approximately 5 grams) for the first five days. Thereafter use 1 teaspoon after exercise (which should occur at least once daily).
DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.