Creatine: what it is, what it is used for and what you need to know

Creatine: what it is, what it is used for and what you need to know

Have you ever heard of creatine? It is an amino acid useful for proper muscle functioning.

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Creatine is an amino acid that the body is able to synthesize in the liver that intervenes at the moment of muscle contraction. Do you know why and when to use creatine supplements?

What is creatine used for?
The human body synthesizes creatine through the liver, kidneys and pancreas, starting from three amino acids: arginine, glycine and methionine. Once produced, it is sent to where it is needed, that is to the muscles for the most part and in small doses also to the brain and heart. The daily requirement is approximately 2 grams, half of which is generally taken through food. The foods that contain it to a greater extent are: beef, pork, cod, herring, tuna and salmon.

Creatine is particularly useful for athletes who train in an intended way, since it is able to optimize the alactacid anaerobic system by facilitating the production of Adenosin tri-phosphate (ATP), an energy molecule necessary to perform muscle activity. That's why it is able to act on sports performance.

Creatine is especially useful for activities that aim to increase muscle mass, since it acts as an energy supply to draw on at times of maximum metabolic demand. Creatine also facilitates muscle strengthening and repair.

Creatine supplements: yes or no?
Consuming creatine supplements can only be useful in the case of a vegetarian and vegan diet, since these diet regimes exclude the main sources of creatine. Another case in which a supplement may serve is when the metabolic demand increases by virtue of intense and short physical exertion. Given its characteristics, it proves functional for bodybuilding and weight lifting exercises, while it is not very useful in view of endurance and resistance training such as running a marathon. Before deciding whether to integrate creatine or not, blood tests should be done to check the starting levels and then agree with a sports doctor on the timing and ways of supplementation. Exaggerating is not needed since the muscles are not able to store creatine beyond certain levels, it can also prove harmful to the body, so it is always good to contact a competent person and avoid do-it-yourself. Among the possible side effects of taking creatine there are: dehydration, water retention, weight gain, gastrointestinal disturbances, diarrhea, nausea, kidney problems. It should be avoided in case of dehydration in progress, if diuretics or drugs for kidney dysfunction are used and if hypersensitivity to this substance is registered.

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