Have you ever asked yourself what is creatine? Creatine is a substance that occurs naturally in several varieties of meat and fish. It is a chemical compound that is found in every human body and is even produced by the liver, kidneys, and pancreas. It plays an important role in the development and use of muscles.
More specifically, creatine is an amino acid. Amino acids are protein building blocks, which is why body builders and those trying to gain size have turned to creatine over the last several years. Creatine is often sold as a dietary supplement that can either be taken in pill form or in a powder mixed into liquids. The human body is able to convert creatine into creatine phosphate, which in turn is stored in muscles, where it can then be used as energy. Why is this important? Simply put, it helps you perform better with high intensity exercises like weight lifting or sprinting. Users often report being able to do more repetitions when lifting and have a shorter recover time. This means creatine allows an athlete to lift more weight and do so more often without soreness and fatigue.
Despite user reports of success with creatine, not all studies concur that the supplement increases athletic performance. Most studies have shown that creatine has the best results in young adults and that it does not seem to have any effect on endurance exercises such as distance running. Professionals on average do tend to agree that the supplement is best suited for short, high intensity workouts, but to what degree is still up for debate.
As far as health concerns, Creatine is generally considered safe when used moderately. Like several supplements, when used in exceedingly high doses it can cause kidney damage or interfere with the body’s natural production of creatine. This is why it is always important to follow the recommended dosages, which are usually posted on the packaging of the supplement. To date it has not been banned in any professional athletic organizations or in collegiate athletics. However, there is still some controversy with its use. With that in mind, each individual should evaluate for themselves whether creatine is right for them or not.