What is creatine?

Creatine is a nitrogenous organic acid that occurs naturally in vertebrates and helps to supply energy to muscle. Creatine was identified in 1832 when Michel Eugène Chevreul discovered it as a component of skeletal muscle, which he later named creatine after the Greek word for flesh, Kreas.

Creatine is produced naturally by the body and helps to improve muscles’ performance during exercise. This improvement in performance should allow you to train at higher levels for certain sports and gain muscle.

Foods such as meat and fish provide much of the body’s creatine and the rest is made in the body by the liver, kidneys and pancreas. It is stored in the muscles as phosphocreatine (you may find it referred to as PC) contributing to the body’s energy stores used during intense exercise.

Taking creatine supplements can increase your muscle stores of phosphocreatine by roughly 20 per cent on average. However, the exact increase can vary depending on the individual – the range is somewhere between 10 per cent and 40 per cent.

Are there side effects?

The use of creatine in healthy individuals is generally considered safe. Studies have not yet been able to demonstrate that either long-term or short-term creatine supplementation results in adverse health effects. Creatine supplementation using recommended dosages has not been linked with any adverse side effects beyond occasional dehydration due to increased muscular water uptake from the rest of the body. In fact, an increase in muscle mass and therefore body mass because of increased muscle hydration is the most widely accepted side effect of creatine supplementation.

Studies so far have not highlighted any problems. If you are training and taking creatine supplements you will almost certainly gain weight, particularly lean body mass. Creatine supplementation is not illegal and is allowed by the International Olympic Committee.

Resource: http://en.wikipedia.org, http://www.bupa.co.uk