What Is Creatine, What it Does To Your Body And Why Is Used For Muscle Growth

Creatine is a naturally occurring organic compound that plays an essential role in providing energy to the cells in our body, particularly muscle cells. It is synthesized in the liver and can also be obtained through certain foods. Despite its importance, many people are unaware of its functions, sources, and daily requirements. This blog post aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of creatine, its dietary sources, and the impact of its intake on our health and performance.

What is Creatine?

Creatine is a nitrogenous organic acid that helps supply energy to cells throughout the body, especially muscle cells. It is synthesized in the liver and kidneys from the amino acids arginine, glycine, and methionine. Approximately 50% of the body's creatine requirement is produced internally, while the remaining 50% comes from our diet.

Dietary Sources of Creatine

Creatine is predominantly found in animal-based foods such as meat and fish. Foods of plant origin contain only trace amounts of creatine. Here are some common sources of creatine, along with their creatine content per kilogram:

  • Beef: 4.5g
  • Cod: 3.0g
  • Herring: 6.5-10g
  • Pork: 5.0g
  • Salmon: 4.5g
  • Tuna: 4.0g
  • Blueberries: 0.02g
  • Milk: 0.1g

As evident from the above data, individuals who follow a strictly plant-based diet (vegans) may have lower muscle creatine levels than non-vegetarians.

Creatine and Performance

Creatine plays a significant role in high-intensity athletic performance. It is essential for the rapid production of "ATP" molecule, the body's primary energy carrier, which is crucial during high-intensity workouts and heavy weight lifting. Therefore, a creatine deficiency can slightly lower performance levels in power disciplines where muscle reserves of phosphocreatine are important.

However, it's important to note that a lower creatine intake does not impact the general health of the body. As creatine is not classified as an essential amino acid, oral supplementation is typically not necessary except for medium and high-level athletes.

Creatine Supplementation

For those who wish to increase their creatine levels, especially athletes looking to enhance their performance, creatine supplementation might be an option. However, it is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or a dietitian before starting any supplement regimen. It's also worth mentioning that individuals who already consume a high-protein diet may not notice significant improvements in performance with creatine supplementation.

In the final analysis, creatine is a vital compound that plays a significant role in our body's energy production. While it is produced naturally in the body, it can also be obtained from certain foods, especially meat and fish. Although a lower creatine intake can impact athletic performance, it does not affect general health, and supplementation is usually not necessary unless recommended by a healthcare professional.

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