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Creatine Phosphate Review

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Creatine Phosphate

Wikipedia defines Phosphocreatine, also known as creatine phosphate (CP) or PCr (Pcr), as a phosphorylated creatine molecule that serves as a rapidly mobilizable reserve of high-energy phosphates in skeletal muscle and the brain. There is no question that Creatine phosphate does enhance sports performance, especially repeated sprints. Extra creatine is therefore ergogenic, because it may help generate more power output during intense exercise. In addition, long term creatine supplementation produces greater gains in strength and sprint performance and may increase lean body mass.

Athletes can increase the amount of creatine in muscle by taking creatine supplements. Although some studies report no ergogenic effect, most indicate that creatine supplementation (e.g. 20 g per day for 5 to 7 days) increases sprint performance by 1-5% and work performed in repeated sprints by up to 15%.

These ergogenic effects appear to be related to the extent of uptake of creatine into muscle. Creatine supplementation for a month or two during training has been reported to promote further gains in sprint performance (5-8%), as well as gains in strength (5-15%) and lean body mass (1-3%). The only known side effect is increased body weight. More research is needed on individual differences in the response to creatine, periodic or cyclical use of creatine, side effects, and long-term effects on endurance.

Creatine is an amino acid, like the building blocks that make up proteins. Creatine in the form of phosphocreatine (creatine phosphate) is an important store of energy in muscle cells. During intense exercise lasting around half a minute, phosphocreatine is broken down to creatine and phosphate, and the energy released is used to regenerate the primary source of energy, adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

Output power drops as phosphocreatine becomes depleted, because ATP cannot be regenerated fast enough to meet the demand of the exercise. It follows that a bigger store of phosphocreatine in muscle should reduce fatigue during sprinting.

Extra creatine in the muscle may also increase the rate of regeneration of phosphocreatine following sprints, which should mean less fatigue with repeated bursts of activity in training or in many sport competitions. Research shows that there is a daily turnover or demand for creatine.

The daily turnover of creatine is about 2 g for a 70 kg person. About half of the daily needs of creatine are provided by the body synthesizing creatine from amino acids. The remaining daily need of creatine is obtained from the diet. Meat or fish are the best natural sources.

For example, there is about 1 g of creatine in 250 g (half a pound) of raw meat. Dietary supplementation with synthetic creatine is the primary way athletes "load" the muscle with creatine. Daily doses of 20 g of creatine for 5-7 days usually increase the total creatine content in muscle by 10-25%. About one-third of the extra creatine in muscle is in the form of phosphocreatine.

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