Creatine Monohydrate and Athletic Performance
Creatine Monohydrate – An Athlete’s First Supplemental Choice
What if I told you that there is a substance that has been scientifically proven to enhance anaerobic power, enhance strength, and speed recovery from interval based workouts? Would you be interested in a supplement that will help your increase your overall energy and strength during your workout help? Would this be a supplement that you would add to your optimum health routine? Welcome to the wonderful world of Creatine Monohydrate…
Creatine is a compound that our bodies naturally produce. It is manufactured in the kidneys and the liver and 95% of it is stored in skeletal muscle tissue. Creatine’s job in our muscle tissue is to play a role in the cellular energy transport system so that your mitochondrial cells can make Adenosine Triphoshate.
Basically, your cells produce energy. Energy production is done in the cells in little tissue structures called organelles like the mitochondria. The mitochondria make energy in the form of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). ATP is what our body burns as a fuel source so we can maintain homeostasis (the balance of your bodies chemical and cellular functions) and thus maintain life.
Energy transfer is performed by breaking the bonds between phosphate molecules in our cells. Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) is broken down into Adenosine Diphosphate + 1 Phosphae + Energy. After that synthesis step occurs within the cell, Phosphate and Creatine will react with Adenosine Diphosphate (from the first reaction) and form creatine + ATP. There is also an Adenylate kinase reaction where 2 ADP are broken down into 1 ATP and 1 AMP. The AMP (Adenosine Monohydrate) will act as a messenger to restart the first reaction. All of this occurs in the mitochondria of the cells. The healthier the cell, the more mitochondria, and with more mitochondria comes more energy. It sounds complicated, and to some extent it is, however, it is important to know how a supplement works so you maximize its benefits.
Creatine Monohydrate is an important supplement because as we deplete our body’s natural creatine supply, the less energy can be produced in the cell. By adding creatine to your pre or post workout drink, you can increase the overall energy capacity during your workout which will ultimately allow you to achieve a higher state of fitness and optimal health. So how does Creatine achieve this?
Creatine Monohydrate Supplementation works on four basic mechanisms. First, it will increase your body’s high-energy phosphate metabolism. By adding creatine with your workout, you are allowing your body to produce greater amounts of energy by increasing the phosphate supply. The more raw materials you supply, the greater and longer the energy output.
Creatine also stimulates satellite cellular activity. These are the support systems of your energy production cycle. Satallite cells supply all of the materials that are needed to support the Kreb’s cycle or ATP production system. Increased satellite cellular activity will support the energy system which results in a more efficient energy production process.
Creatine increases your cellular hydration status. Many people like creatine because it helps you achieve and maintain a “muscular pump”. The muscle looks inflated and overall larger. Once you stop taking creatine, the muscles will decrease their hydration status and decrease in size (based on cellular volume). This is what I hear all of the time in the gym. What many don’t realize is that an increased hydration status equates to an increase in overall materials and processes that occur at a cellular level. The larger the cell, the greater the demand you can place on that cell resulting once again in an increase in energy during exercise.
Saving the best for last, by supplementing with creatine monohydrate, research has proven that there is an increase in hormonal proliferation. This means that hormones like Insulin Growth Factor 1 is increased which is a cofactor in the production of growth hormone and testosterone. These hormones are the anabolic chemicals that allow for muscle growth and development.
Whether you are an old school iron gym rat or a competitive female triathlete, supplementation of creatine monohydrate will improve your muscular performance. Creatine is safe, effective and has been researched since the 1830’s when it was first discovered. It is common in the athletic realm and finally gaining momentum in the medical realm. Recent studies have shown that Creatine Monohydrate is very beneficial in the treatment of people with neuromuscular disorders to increase strength. I treat many athletes in my office that range from the weekend warrior to guys you see on TV in MMA. Creatine Monohydrate is one of the first supplements I recommend to my athletic patients trying to increase their overall health and wellness through exercise.
Dr. Philip A. O’Brien, DC