In today's society, children as young as eleven are taking creatine
to enhance their performance in the gym. Kids think that creatine
is their miracle cure for bulking up. In most cases, they hear about
creatine from a friend who is taking it, so the next day, they go
out to GNC and buy the biggest bottle they can find without knowing
what it is, what it does, or what the side effects are. First of all,
every athlete you know what creatine is, before they consume it.
Creatine is a compound that is made in our bodies and can be taken
as a dietary supplement. On average, a 160-pound person would have
about 120 grams of natural creatine stored in their body. When an
athlete is doing an intense quick-burst activity such as weightlifting,
their muscles must contract, needing a quick source of energy while
the force of muscle contraction depending on the amount of stored
ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate). When the ATP is used, it turns into
ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate). Creatine increases the availability of
ATP by reacting with the ADP in the body and turning it back into
ATP. The more ATP in the body means the more fuel for the muscles.
Creatine also helps to increase your muscle size by volumization.
Volumization is the process of pulling fluid into the muscle cells
and thus increasing their volume. Creatine also helps users to gain
weight in this manner. These are the only major side effects. Certain
side effects have been attributed to Creatine use. Fortunately, these
effects are minor: upset stomach, muscle cramping, diarrhea, and dehydration.
In addition, people tend to have more side effects when taking the
powder as opposed to a more direct delivery method like serum or effervescent
powder. Drinking plenty of water when taking creatine can minimize
most of these effects. There is also some concern that creatine may
place undue stress on the liver and kidneys. With normal dosage, creatine
in theory should pose no long-term health risks. In fact, some studies
have shown that creatine can help reduce chances of heart disease
and adult on-set diabetes.
On November 12, 1999, at the 19th Annual Southwest American College
of Sports Medicine Meeting, two long-term creatine studies were presented
from the Exercise and Sport Nutrition Lab at the University of Memphis.
Both studies showed that nine months of creatine supplementation in
athletes had no negative effects on markers of renal function or muscle
and liver enzymes in comparison to athletes not taking creatine. Creatine
has never been proven to interfere with growth. It is true that long
term studies with teenagers have not been done. In addition, for ethical
reasons they probably never will be. No one wants to pump kids full
of creatine for a few years only to see if harm is done. When the
body is in its growth phase it is very important not to do anything
that could interfere with growth. It is for this reason that it makes
sense to spend some time trying to determine if creatine could in
any way interfere with growth. Creatine has not been studied long
enough to guarantee it does not interfere with anything. Creatine
supplementation has only been around a short number of years, the
long term side effects are still unknown, and is recommended that
you be atleast 18 years of age before experimenting with creatine.
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