Although the exact mechanism is unknown, much is known about the biochemistry of endogenous creatine. In skeletal muscle tissue, it is used for the production of phosphocreatine, an important form of high-energy phosphate. Phosphocreatine is broken down into phosphate and creatine during high intensity exercise lasting 1 5-30 seconds. During the process, energy is released and is used to regenerate ATP, the primary source of energy.
Supplemental creatine Oral supplementation with creatine has been shown to increase phosphocreatine levels in muscles, and as such, has been described as 'fuelling up' natural energy stores. Increased creatine stores leads to faster regeneration of ATP, thereby making more energy immediately available to muscles. Theoretically, increased free creatine allows depleted stores to replenish more quickly, thus shortening recovery times during repeated bouts of intense exercise. Increased muscle creatine may also buffer the lactic acid produced during exercise, delaying muscle fatigue and soreness.
It has been estimated that short-term supplementation over 5-7 days with a daily dose of 20 g creatine increases total creatine content by 10-30% and phosphocreatine stores by 10-40% (Kreider 2003).
In clinical studies, the effect of creatine on performance, endurance, strength and recovery is variable.
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