Sunday, June 5, 2011

Creatine The Popular Bodybuilding Supplement

Why Creatine Is Such a Popular Bodybuilding Supplement

Creatine is a naturally occurring chemical produced in the human body. It is created in the liver and kidneys from the amino acids L-arginine, L-methionine, and glycine. Skeletal muscle contains nearly 95% of all the body's supply. Though it is found in fish and meat, it is a popular supplement for athletes because once converted into phosphocreatine it is stored in the muscles and used for energy. Bodybuilders especially appreciate it because during short bursts of intense exercise, like weight lifting, phosphocreatine turns into ATP, our body's fuel.
First identified in 1832, it did not rise to popularity as a supplement until the early 1990's. Then they discovered it was safe for naturally and legally enhancing athletic performance and increasing lean muscle mass. This supplement has such mass appeal with bodybuilders and other athletes that annual sales are reportedly between $100 and $200 million.
It is also popular among professional athletes. According to published reports, 50% of professional football players and at least 25% of professional baseball players use it. It is wildly popular with bodybuilders because it stimulates muscle growth and increases muscle mass. Pro athletes like Troy Aikman, Sammy Sosa, and John Elway have publicly endorsed it as an important element of their athletic achievements.
Creatine use has increased with adolescent athletes who are anxious to increase their lean muscle mass quickly and improve their performance. Unfortunately, they are also the population most likely not to take it in the amounts supported by scientific findings. Surveys suggest that adolescents exceed both loading and maintenance dose recommendations to achieve their desired results quickly. This is worrisome because although generally safe, in high doses there can be serious side effects like kidney damage.
Professional sports, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the International Olympic Committee all permit its use. However, in 2000 the NCAA prohibited colleges and universities from distributing it or paying for it with school money. Without scientific evidence that it is harmful, they will not ban it.
Some questions do remain because not all of the clinical studies agree about the benefits of using it. However, these variations may be due to such things as carbohydrate intake, muscle fiber type, amount of physical activity, and fitness level. In fact, one study found that increasing carbohydrate intake also increased the muscle's ability to absorb phosphocreatine.
Touted by professional athletes and sports enthusiasts from around the world, this supplement has been a rising star for nearly twenty years. Some may have more questions but for others the verdict is clearly in. Creatine is a winner by a knockout.

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