The Fight For Creatine Essay, Research Paper
Creatine is an amino acid that is produced in the pancreas, liver, and kidneys. The natural creatine that is produced in the body replenishes adenosine triphosphate, which fuels muscle use. Creatine helps to add in extra repetitions during a lifting program. When adding in extra repetitions there are better chances of building muscle bulk. Many people feel creatine should be banned just like anabolic steroids because of long-term side effects. However, creatine is not as dangerous as some think and it should not be banned.
Creatine is not only produced naturally but can also be bought as a supplement. Whether you buy it in powder or pill form it seems to have the same effect. Within the past few years creatine has become widely known as a supplement that can be bought to help add bulk to a person?s body. Many professional, college, and high school athletes can be seen using this supplement during their daily workouts to help build bulk faster. Some of these athletes have even been seen breaking records that have been around for many years.
Mark McGwire will go down in history as one of the greatest baseball players of all time. But will his image be tarnished because of his use of androstenedione? No, because the drug has never been banned in professional baseball. This is a drug that does many of the same thing that creatine does. Androstenedione is naturally produced in the gonads and adrenal gland. In the liver, it is transformed into testosterone, which encourages muscle growth. ?McGwire says ?andro? helps him train harder and recover quickly from injuries? (Schrof).
When looking at Mark McGwire you see a 6-foot 5-inch, 250-pound mass of muscle. Obviously creatine has done something for him if he can bulk up muscle. Would he have been able to break the home-run record without the use of creatine? It is hard to say. Even more important, will his use of this cause lasting effects on his body? Will there be long-term side effects or even short-term side effects that could cause him to have to stop playing baseball (Schrof)?
When looking at some of the research one might see someone say that creatine, in supplement form, could stop the normal production of creatine in user?s body. Recent studies show that when creatine was used in rats, it down-regulated their natural production of creatine in their body. The studies of these rats have caused questions on long-term effects of the use of creatine. The scientists feel that this could cause creatine synthesis deficiency. The symptoms for this deficiency are fatigue, muscle atrophy, poor exercise capacity, and neuromuscular deficiencies (Kreider).
The data for long-term side effects in humans is limited but there have been some studies. They put people on creatine for five to 140 days and then watched their creatine levels after they were taken off creatine. One study showed that after four to six weeks the level of naturally produced creatine returned to normal. In theory, if the synthetic creatine surpassed normal creatine production, the creatine in muscle should have dropped below base levels. When looking at athletes who have taken creatine and have now stopped you might expect them to show some signs of creatine synthesis deficiency. However, this has not yet been seen. ?Currently, no evidence indicates that creatine supplementation permanently suppresses the creatine synthesis in humans? (Kreider).
Creatine could cost between 50 and 90 dollars. Despite the price and the creatine is still very popular. Some high school football coaches even say that their athletes should not take this drug. Not considering the advice of their coaches, some of these athletes still take the supplement. Robert Presti, the owner of a health store in New York, says that the creatine supplement is one of his best selling products. The controversy over creatine has not prevented him from taking it. He says, ?My body has responded well to it? (Springen).
Some doctors say that creatine promotes dehydration and cramping. This is yet another myth of this drug. One sign of dehydration is low electrolyte levels. With all the studies on creatine there has never been a finding of this unless the athlete trained in a hot and humid atmosphere. When looking at any athlete who has trained in these conditions, dehydration could be found. Users of creatine have been known to cramp but not any more than athletes who don?t take it. There are no scientific studies that support the idea that creatine causes cramping and dehydration (Kreider).
Doctors say the use of creatine could also cause an upset stomach and diarrhea. The studies that show these results are rare. Even when these were some symptoms, they were not major enough to stop taking the supplements. When these indications were noted, most of the takers used more than the recommended dosage. With these few isolated cases, gastrointestinal problems have not diminished the popularity of creatine among athletes (Kreider).
?Creatine seems to work? (Sullivan). Researchers put nineteen women on a ten-week weight-lifting program. The women on the creatine gained strength on the leg press by forty-six percent. The women who were not on a creatine supplement only gained about twenty-five percent of leg strength. The creatine group also gained seven pounds, which was twice that of the controlled group. This gain of weight can be directed to muscle mass. This shows that while taking creatine a person can gain muscle faster. Some still think that some of this weight gain could be water, not muscle even though they are becoming stronger (Sullivan).
The long-term side effects of creatine are unknown. This is true. No one really knows how creatine will react with the body in the future. Some studies have been done on patients with gyrate atrophy and infants with creatine-synthesis deficiency. In these studies, creatine was administered at 1.5 grams to 8 grams a day for up to five years. ?Available evidence indicates that short- and long-term creatine supplementation does not pose a medical risk when taken at recommended dosages? (Kreider).
Most studies show taking creatine leads to greater training adaptations. When an athlete is able to train harder they are able to build more muscle faster. Building more muscle faster means that they will be able to stronger, faster. The result of this will give them an advantage over their opponent. They will be stronger and will be able to out perform the opposition.
Some people ask why should high school students be taking this drug? I don?t think that they should. They should not be taking any supplements that are not natural to their bodies. The amount of hormones that are in a normal high school student is already giving them the energy to bulk up. The extra hormones could just cause more problems than what will help them.
When doing research on a drug I would look at the Olympics. Most of their rules will regulate any drug that is not appropriate for athletes even before it comes out. The Olympic committee has not banned creatine. Therefore, why should there be an all out ban of this drug? If anything, it should be the decision of the leagues, teams, and coaches. Not a decision made by the government.
Kreider, Richard B. ?6 Creatine fears: Real concern or false alarm?? Joe Weider?s Muscle & Fitness November 1999: 160-161. .
Schrof, Joannie M. ?McGwire Hits the Pills.? U.S. News & World Report September 7, 1998: 53-54. .
Sullivan, Dana. ?Crazy for creatine.? Joe Weider?s Shape October 1999: 40-42. .
Springen, Karen, Marc Peyser, and Jennifer Lach. ?The New Muscle Candy.? Newsweek January 12, 1998. .