Creatine and Energy Use!

Author: Nicole Adler   Date Posted: 27 July 2016 

Creatine (Cr) is a well-known substance in the world of sports. However, recent studies have shown the benefits of creatine for the treatment of certain illnesses such as Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Still, one of the best known benefits of creatine is still energy provision. If you have been curious how Cr is able to provide you with more energy, please read our information below to find out!

Where Does the Body Get Its Energy?

Energy is supplied to our cells by a molecule called ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Adenosine triphosphate is formed within the body with help from carbohydrates, fats and proteins. ATP can be formed during four metabolic processes.

In order to get adenosine triphosphate, an extra phosphate molecule needs to be added to another compound in our body – adenosine diphosphate. Creatine can be used to provide an extra phosphate molecule to the adenosine diphosphate molecule, subsequently creating the energy supplier adenosine triphosphate.

Creatine and Energy Use

What Is Adenosine Diphosphate?

Adenosine diphosphate (ADP) can be described as an organic compound in our metabolism. One molecule of ADP consists of sugar bound to one molecule of adenine and two phosphate groups.  These molecules are also bound to five carbon atoms of ribose. ADP can be used to form ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and AMP (adenosine monophosphate).

How Is Adenosine Triphosphate Made?

ATP or adenosine triphosphate can be formed through four processes that take place on a cellular level. These processes fall under the category of cellular respiration and include catabolism, glycolysis, the citric acid cycle and oxidative phosphorylation.

The first process of cellular respiration is catabolism. During this process, glucose is broken down in two stages, more specifically the preparatory phase and payoff phase. In order to get through the payoff phase, the body will need ADP and phosphate.

Another process that is able to form ATP is glycolysis. The energy released during glycolysis is used to form ATP. First, two phosphate groups are added to a 6-carbon glucose molecule. The result is a new 6-carbon sugar diphosphate molecule and two molecules of ADP. The 6-carbon sugar diphosphate is then divided further into two molecules of 3-carbon sugar phosphate. These 3-carbon sugar phosphates are eventually converted into pyruvate. During the conversion from 3-carbon sugar phosphate to pyruvate, various electrons are transferred and form substances such as NAD+ and ATP.

The third process within the cellular respiration category is the citric acid cycle. During the citric acid cycle, the pyruvate from the glycolysis process is taken and creates molecules such as 4NADH, FADH2 and GTP. The last molecule, GTP, can be converted further into ATP.

The oxidative phosphorylation is an important process under the cellular respiration category, but it is also vital for other cellular respiration processes. Oxidative phosphorylation is responsible for the creation of 26 out of the 30 molecules in ATP. This is done by converting electrons such as NADH or FADH2 to oxygen.

How Can Creatine Supplements Help to Create ATP?

Creatine supplements can create more energy for the human body through phosphocreatine (PCr). PCr is a molecule that is able to provide high-energy phosphates to specific areas in the body, more specifically the skeletal muscle and the brain.

PCr can transport high-energy phosphate from the mitochondria to the location where it is needed and is able to release one of its phosphate groups to adenosine diphosphate. The extra phosphate enables the adenosine diphosphate to be converted into adenosine triphosphate. This usually occurs within five seconds after you have done an intense muscular or neuronal action.

When comparing the speed of phosphocreatine with the cellular respiration processes we mentioned earlier, it is clear that ATP can be formed quicker with the help of phosphocreatine. Creatine is therefore a good addition for people that engage in intensive training sessions on a regular basis.

Creatine and Energy Use

Does the Use of Creatine Supplements Deliver Other Benefits?

Cr supplements have proven to be very beneficial for the human body. In addition to providing the body with a lot of energy, Cr supplements also have the ability to increase lean muscle, enhance strength, increase muscular endurance and provide more anaerobic power and performance.

Contrary to popular belief, Cr supplements can also help to lose fat. Many people believe that the use of Cr supplements makes you gain weight, but this is only a half truth. Cr supplements will add water to the body, but not fat. Most athletes can therefore experience a slight weight gain when they start with Cr supplements.

Still, Cr supplements are a great way to lose fat. The more work you put in, the more calories you burn and the more muscle will be able to form. Cr supplements also improve the metabolism, given the fact that Cr supplements have proven to be beneficial for hydration levels during intensive training sessions. Cells that are hydrated better are more metabolic according to recent studies, hence why good hydration during your exercise routine is so important.

What Is the Best Cr Supplement?

There are many different Cr supplements and variants available nowadays, so it can be a little difficult to decide which Cr supplement you are going to use. According to the world of science, creatine monohydrate is the most effective. The reason for that is its bioavailability.

Bioavailability or BA is a term used to refer to the absorption rate of a supplement. The higher the bioavailability of a Cr supplement, the larger the amount of the supplement that will be absorbed into the body.

Research has shown that the consumed dose of a supplement is not necessarily the amount that is absorbed into the body. Bioavailability plays a large role in this, but also the need for a certain substance in the body.

For example, people who do not exercise and take a Cr supplement will not get much benefit from it. Their body has plenty of stored energy, so the supplement will not be used unless they actually start to use some of the energy that has been stored in their body. Contrary to non-active people, athletes will benefit greatly, considering they use a lot of their energy during their training sessions.

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