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Creatine Monohydrate - a Dietary Supplement

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Essay title: Creatine Monohydrate - a Dietary Supplement

The taking of Creatine Monohydrate as a dietary supplement for physical and psychological benefits is a very controversial issue. Some people believe that the taking of creatine is in no way harmful to your body, and if there are certain minor side effects, the benefits greatly outweigh them. Other people argue that creatine does more harm than good, and that there can be dangerous short and long term side effects.

Derived from the Greek word kreas, meaning flesh, creatine (methylguanidino acetic acid) was first discovered by a French scientist named Chevreul in 1832. It is a naturally occurring compound produced by the kidneys, liver, and pancreas (Bamberger, 1998). Creatine is stored in high concentrations in skeletal and heart muscles and to a lesser extent in the brain (Salomons, Wyss, Jakobs, 2005). It is also found in red meat and fish; usually a concentration of about 4 grams of creatine per kilogram (Sahelian, 2000).

It has been found that most people consume one gram of creatine per day, along with naturally producing another gram as well (Bamberger, 1998). The average human body uses over two grams of creatine just to maintain normal energy metabolism. Since creatine is a natural supplement, by taking the substance, a person is simply putting more of the natural occurring compound into his/her body (The Healthy Biz Chronicles-October, 1998). The recommended daily dosage for creatine supplementation is five grams. To obtain this amount of dosage without supplementation and through our diet alone, a person would have to consume anywhere from five to twenty-five pounds of meat (Gutfeld, 1997).

Creatine gives a person immediate energy for muscles. If used properly, it is the most effective legal supplement for gaining muscle size and strength. Creatine delays fatigue and improves recovery, which means that a person can exercise longer and recover faster (The Healthy Biz Chronicles-October, 1998). These are all very attractive and positive factors an athlete would love to be able to attain legally, not compromising their safety with illegal substances such as steroids, but through essentially natural and relatively safe means.

There have been hundreds of studies done on creatine all supporting the fact that it is a safe supplement. Creatine does not affect a person’s hormone levels. This means a person does not obtain side effects such as bad skin and/or mood swings, like he/she would get from the use of steroids (Absolute Creatine-Creatine Articles).

One side effect of taking creatine is weight gain. As much as 6.6 pounds of increased weight within the first few weeks has been reported (http://www.creatinemonohydrate.net/creatine_side_effects.html).

Depending on which sport an athlete is training for, this could be a positive or negative side effect. For example, when I was training for football during middle school, creatine was a very safe and quick way for me to gain weight not as fat, but as muscle since I was working out so much. But with my baseball training in high school, I still took creatine, but I felt like I needed to do more work on my speed training because with the added weight, I did not want to add any time to my speed. For any sport where bulking up is required creatine would provide an obvious advantage, but any athlete trying to lose or maintain weight will be offset by its effects. Endurance athletes such as distance runners probably would not benefit from creatine use. If a person is working out like he/she should be, then the weight gain will be in the form of muscle. However, if a person takes creatine and does not work out at least 3-5 days per week, then the weight gain will be in the form of fat (The Healthy Biz Chronicles-October, 1998).

A person may also experience weight gain due to water intake. Normally a person should drink eight glasses of water a day. However, if that person takes creatine, then he/she should double that amount to sixteen glasses of water a day. I can remember when my creatine use was at its peak, the amount of water I drank per day was outrageous compared to what a normal person who does not take creatine would have to drink. Along with the increased amount of water intake also came an increased amount in trips to the bathroom. The increased amount of water intake is necessarily though, because taking creatine and not drinking enough water can cause as upset stomach, diarrhea, dehydration, as well as muscle cramps and pulls. Alcohol will also increase levels of dehydration for creatine users (The Healthy Biz Chronicles-October, 1998).

Another side effect that could occur if a person abuses and overloads on creatine is kidney and liver damage. Any creatine a person’s body does not use is excreted as a waste product called creatinine. If a person overloads and takes 20 grams of creatine a day instead of the recommended dosage of five grams, his/her body will not be

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