What is Creatine?
Creatine is a biochemical compound found naturally occurring in our bodies, and also in some of the food we eat. The chemical name for Creatine is methyl guanidine-acetic acid. Creatine is made up of three amino acids, Arginine, Glycine and Methionine, and produced by the liver. Creatine is used as a source of high energy phosphates for muscle fuel in high intensity activity.
Creatine is found in small amounts in some foods in our diet. It is also available as a dietary supplement. Dietary supplementation of creatine is popular in some sports, particularly those of high intensity and short duration. Creatine supplementation provides an increase in the level of creatine available in the muscle, which then provides more immediate fuel for the muscle in the first brief moments of exercise.
Does it work?
There has been a lot of research in the past decade which has clearly shown creatine as an effective supplement to enhance sporting performance. It’s most effective use is suited to activities of short duration and high intensity, when following specific loading protocols.
Powder or Solution
Creatine is available in two forms, powdered and in solution. The majority of the research studies of the effectiveness of creatine have utilized the powdered form of creatine. When this creatine is placed in solution, it does not stay in this form for long, breaking down into the inactive substance creatinine. Many companies claim that their liquid creatine is stable - that is, it remains as creatine instead of becoming creatinine. However, claims made by many companies in this field are often unsubstantiated, and are simply marketing ploys. I am not aware of any evidence of a stable form of creatine, so view any product which claims to have stable creatine with caution. If you are going to use creatine, you would be better to go with the proven results of the powder product, with the assistance of a sports dietitian.