What is Creatine Monohydrate

What is Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine monohydrate is one of the most researched supplements, 70% of studies show that creatine monohydrate is a significant enhancer (performance enhancer) in a variety of sports. But most people simplify its effects to “creatine makes you bigger” and “you’re left with nothing but water.” While this is part of the supplement’s function, it really understates the nitrogenous compound because its operation is more complex than simple cell swelling.

Creatine is a nitrogenous compound stored in the muscles of mammals and fish, 95% of which is stored in skeletal muscle (making animal meat an excellent dietary source). In humans, 60% is creatine phosphate (PCr) and 40% is creatine.

For maximal or supramaximal exercise <30s, the body activates the anaerobic energy system. This includes stored ATP (the body’s energy source), the ATP-PCr system, and the anaerobic glycolytic system.

Training at this intensity does not provide enough time to generate energy (ATP) through the more sustainable aerobic (with oxygen) pathway. So an immediate energy source is needed. This is where creatine comes into play. Creatine phosphate (PCr) is responsible for resynthesizing ATP (adenosine triphosphate) from ADP (adenosine diphosphate), providing a quick source of energy. When phosphate is “broken” from ATP, the bonds of ADP are broken, leaving ADP and releasing energy. Creatine kinase can facilitate the reaction between ADP and phosphate to resynthesize (regenerate) ATP. Stored ATP and PCr work to their maximum in 5-8 seconds, depleting 88-100%, requiring 30-60 seconds to recover 50%, and full recovery takes about 5 minutes.

If our bodies can produce creatine, why do we need to supplement it?

By supplementing Creatine monohydrate, we can increase the body’s creatine storage from 125mmol.kg to 160mmol.kg, increase the maximum energy produced and maintained by the body, extend the time to exhaustion in training and increase the number of repetitions, as well as the rate of physical recovery, that is, how long the body can re-gather energy. The benefits of supplementing CrM are:

By consuming higher levels of creatine in our bodies, we can induce faster PCr resynthesis in the body, achieving longer physical recovery and improvement under the anaerobic system.

During anaerobic exercise (resistance training), metabolites (such as lactate and H+ ions) accumulate in the human body. The accumulation of H+ ions inhibits energy production and reduces optimal performance.

It can remove H+ ions produced during PCr resynthesis. Athletes pursuing endurance are worth considering!

Muscle Contraction

Creatine supplementation can enhance strength because it positively affects the contractile proteins of our muscles.

Myosin and actin, found in the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) of skeletal muscle, combine to produce muscle contraction in a process known as the “sliding filament theory”.

When calcium is released in the sarcoplasmic reticulum, it binds to troponin to move fetuin, exposing myosin binding sites. Actin and myosin can then combine and “contract”, which is called cross-linking.

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