Creatine and Muscle Growth
Muscle damage is the common result of exercise. Muscle tears in very small amounts are not a very serious medical issue; in fact doctors suggest that it is necessary to stimulate muscle growth. However, if there is an extensive muscle tear, which exceeds the body's ability to repair it, then it might result in muscle breakdown or catabolism.
Creatine can be said to be closer to vitamins than steroids or hormones. Since creatine is an amino acid (as can be understood from its structure) it is similar to glutamine, and arginine - both used to enhance performance. Creatine supporters have even claimed that using creatine is not any more unnatural than taking a multivitamin supplement. This distinction is important since steroids have serious side effects which can harm the body, unlike creatine.
The human body is made up of a quarter billion distinct muscle cells, which constitute over 400 separate muscles. Although muscle sizes vary from individual to individual, muscle regeneration is highly related to muscle use. The theory is simple - the more use a muscle is put to, the more it grows. During muscle synthesis, protein molecules are broken down and re-synthesized to facilitate growth.
Muscle growth takes place from 4 different areas. The process starts with a stimulus which causes muscle contraction. Energy is required in plentiful amounts to power muscle contraction. The presence of muscle builders is required. Nutrients like proteins, minerals and amino acids should be available to be used in the muscle building process. Lastly hormones, enzymes and growth factors are required as biochemical materials.
Creatine supplementation provides energy to allow intensive muscle contraction for a longer duration, and more frequently. Creatine is taken to facilitate energy for workouts. Users take creatine so that the excess energy facilities a longer workout and a faster recovery from muscle fatigue.
Creatine has quite often been likened to anabolic steroids, because it provides the user with higher amounts of energy and increases lean muscle mass. But nothing could be further from truth. Though both anabolic steroids and creatine enhance performance, and both are ingested as supplements, the basic difference lies in the chemical structure of the two. Anabolic steroids like testosterone are hormones, while creatine is a protein available in the body.
Athletes are now paying very close attention to find ways to decrease oxidative stress in muscles which increases muscle tear. Antioxidants like vitamins decrease oxidative stress which occurs during intensive exercise. A study has confirmed that creatine acts as an antioxidant in its own right. This of course is an additional benefit from creatine's common use to increase ATP availability in muscles.
Creatine has been determined to be the most popular and the most effective muscle building nutrient available on the market. Creatine works hard to increase muscle size and density. Studies on creatine monohydrate have consistently demonstrated creatine's efficacy.
Whatever the case may be, athletes using or thinking about using creatine should do so cautiously, and after consultation with their governing sporting body and a doctor. Creatine has received mixed reviews from athletes on how it has helped them. While some including tennis professionals, claimed that they found no difference before and after creatine use, weightlifters and body builders swear by it. More research is necessary on creatine and its benefits.
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