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Dietary Supplements Used By Athletes: Creatine

1858 words - 8 pages

Creatine (Cr) is a popular dietary supplement used by athletes to increase sports performance, muscle mass, and strength. Creatine was first discovered in “1835, when a French scientist reported finding this constituent of meat” (Demant & Rhodes, 1999). This organic compound is manufactured endogenously by the liver and kidneys “from the amino acids glycine, arginine and methionine” for energy stipulation during muscular contraction. (Arazi, Rahmaninia, Hoseini, & Asadi, 2011). Creatine is either converted into free form Cr or phosphorylated form as known as creatine phosphate (CP). The endogenous production and exogenous consumption of Cr yields about 1 gram a day for the average person (Cooper, Naclerio, Allfrove , & Jimenez, 2012). In its free form, Cr is used for regenerating adenosine triphosphate (ATP) through the phosphorylcreatine kinase (PCK) shuttle. This shuttle is the process in which an ATP molecule is split to generate energy and a new molecule, called adenosine-diphosphate (ADP). In order for the PCK shuttle to continue, ADP and CP are combined to reconstruct ATP molecules for future energy usage. Creatine as a nutritional supplement (exogenous induction) has been shown to have positive effects on strength and muscular development, but over time decreases endogenous Cr synthesis in the body. The role of Cr in the body proves it is a vital component for short term, high intensity activities. It is important for the athlete to understand the physiological and ergogenic effects of Cr before attempting exogenous creatine supplementation.
Athletes consume Cr as an ergogenic aid to increase sports performance, muscular density, muscular power, and to buffer and inhibit phosphofructokinase during physical activity. The most commonly used form of creatine supplementation is an oral substance usually in a power or pill form. This is usually taken with a combination of protein or other dietary supplements. Strength training increases the need for protein supplementation because resistance-training increases the hormonal response to enhance hypertrophy and strength. The biological value in whey protein enhances the body’s ability to absorb essential amino acids after resistance training decreasing the athlete’s recovery time. When athletes combine whey protein and creatine monohydrate they expect “a greater increase in lean tissue mass and muscular strength than supplementations with whey protein alone” (Burke, Chilibeck, Davison, Candow, Farthing, & Smith-Palmer 2001, p 350). Exogenous Cr supplementation increases the body’s Cr levels until saturation occurs. This saturation of Cr increases the PCK shuttle continuum allowing training intensity, volume, and duration of the exercise the athlete is performing to continue at a maximum rate. Any excess Cr in the blood is cleared through sweat, urination or renal filtration. Measurements in strength and peak torques of athletes supplementing with whey protein and creatine monohydrate (WC), whey...

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