Friday, July 8, 2011

Understading Creatine and ATP for Muscle Building

What is Creatine?
Creatine is a compound that can be made in our bodies or taken as a dietary supplement. The chemical name for Creatine is methyl guanidine-acetic acid. That sure is a mouth full - which is why it is much easier to just call it creatine. Here is the chemical makeup of creatine - 

Creatine is made up of three amino acids - Arginine, Glycine and Methionine. Our liver has the ability to combine these three amino acids and make creatine. The other way we get creatine is from our diet.

  • How much Creatine do we have in our body?
This varies based on the amount of muscle mass you have and your weight. On average a 160 pound person would have about 120 grams of creatine stored in their body.
  • Where is Creatine stored in our body?
It is believed that 95 - 98% of the creatine in our body is stored in our muscles. The remaining about 2- 5% is stored in various other parts of the body including the brain, heart and testes. 

  • What is ATP? 
ATP stands for Adenosine triphosphate. ATP is a chemical compound that cells would use to store energy or to release energy. It is the basic source of energy. ATP is important for a variety of functions, such as active transport, muscle contraction and protein synthesis. Although ATP is used for transferring energy, it isn’t good storing large amounts of energy for extended periods of time. 

To meet the demands of a high-intensity exercise, such as a sprint, muscles derive their energy from a series of reactions involving adenosine triphosphate (ATP), phosphocreatine (PCr), adenosine diphosphate (ADP), and creatine. ATP, the amount of which is relatively constant, provides energy when it releases a phosphate molecule and becomes ADP. ATP is regenerated when PCr donates a phosphate molecule that combines with ADP. Stored PCr can fuel the first 4-5 seconds of a sprint, but another fuel source must provide the energy to sustain the activity. Creatine supplements increase the storage of PCr, thus making more ATP available to fuel the working muscles and enable them to work harder before becoming fatigued.