Indications: Creatine is a substance produced naturally by the body and crucially involved in the mechanism of muscle contraction. The body is capable of producing it from three amino acids - arginine, glycine and methionine - but can produce only about 50% of the creatine it needs, while the remaining 50% must be ingested in the daily diet. The muscles’ energy metabolism involves its conversion into phosphocreatine by means of the addition of a phosphate group. The energy needed to activate muscle contraction is provided by an ATP molecule that releases energy by releasing a phosphate group, and thus being converted into ADP. About 90-95% of the body’ creatine reserves are found in the skeletal muscles (with 0.27-0.58 g per 100 g of muscle), while the remaining 5-10% is distributed throughout the body, and particularly in the heart, brain and testicles. Creatine’s mechanism of action is related to the production of ATP, the molecule that splits to produce the energy used by the body to perform all its fundamental functions, including muscle contraction. A muscle can store only ATP in quantities sufficient for less than 10 seconds of maximal contraction, so the ATP must be constantly restored to enable the exercise to continue, and this is where creatine comes into the picture. In practice, the capacity to regenerate ATP depends on the body’s creatine reserves, which also prevent it from resorting to the energy system called glycolysis - a waste product of which is lactic acid. ATP supplementation ultimately assures the rapid availability of energy, a greater resistance to fatigue, an increase in muscle strength and hydration, a faster recovery and an increase in muscle mass.
Increasing the creatine available in the muscle can thus achieve the following results in terms of athletic performance:
1 - more energy: having a larger amount of creatine in muscles gives athletes greater initial reserves when they start exercising, and this increases
their capacity to keep working their muscle closer to their maximum power and capacity for resistance;
2 - ‘cleaner’ cells: a higher concentration of creatine phosphate also improves the cells’ ‘cleansing’ capacity, lending them a greater resistance to
the fatigue caused by the formation of lactic acid;
3 - less muscle pain: high levels of creatine in the muscle reduce the formation of free radicals, which contribute to the muscle pain experienced
after a hard training session.
An optimal amount of creatine in the muscles can benefit energy levels and enable a prompter response, as well has helping the body to cope with
physical exertion, both in the elderly and in younger people. Its supplementation is very important for athletes consuming larger than normal quantities
in their training, and also for people who have particular dietary needs (e.g. vegetarians).
It is extremely important to choose a good-quality creatine supplement to guarantee that the product will be effective and keep the body in good health.
The real quality of a creatine product depends on the presence or absence of the following impurities:
- creatinine: this is a catabolite of creatine metabolism by the body; being a waste product, it has no positive effects on the body and should
consequently be avoided;
- dicyandiamide: this derives from the process of creatine synthesis; its presence indicates an incomplete or inefficient production process;
- dihydrotriazines: here again, these are substances deriving from suboptimal production processes.
Many of the creatines analyzed, and still available on the market, contain such quantities of these impurities that a normal supplementation could lead
to a build-up in the body of considerable quantities of these waste products, and consequently prove harmful.
Use: dissolve 3.5 g (one level measure) of product in water and drink before training.
Ingredients: micronized creatine monohydrate.
Precautions: the recommended daily dose is 3.5 g a day. Daily intakes of 4-6 g are allowable only for people of greater body weight and subject to a doctor’s approval, and for no longer than one month. Seek a doctor’s opinion in the event of prolonged use (for more than 6-8 weeks). The product is contraindicated in cases of renal disease, pregnancy, and children under 14 years old.