How Do Athletes Benefit From Creatine?

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Once considered a supplement for athletes, creatine has now found its way into the general population. Its benefits have been known to improve overall health and have even helped to treat some diseases. You can also check https://www.thorne.com/take-5-daily/article/creatine-101-whats-it-for-why-take-it-how-to-get-it for some useful information. Before beginning a supplement regimen, consult your physician to ensure that creatine is right for you. 

Enhances energy production during high-intensity exercise

During moderate-intensity exercise, glucose in the blood provides half of the energy requirements, while fatty acids provide the rest. As for exercise intensity increases, glucose and glycogen become less available. It causes the body to burn fats for energy, which can be replaced only when glycogen is depleted. When both are depleted, the body uses amino acids as a source of energy.

While aerobic ATP is produced from fat and carbohydrate during moderate exercise, the substrate is switched to carbohydrates during prolonged endurance events (above 80-100% VO2 max). The metabolic process of producing ATP from carbohydrates is 7% more efficient than fat. As endurance training increases, leucine is reduced from muscle glycogen and transfers into mitochondria to produce acetyl-CoA and reduce equivalent NADH.

Reduces risk of cramping

Various factors are responsible for cramping, including excessive physical exertion, dietary deficiencies, and low-carbohydrate diets. While proper nutrition and fluid intake will prevent the muscles from becoming too fatigued, it’s not enough. Exercise should be fueled with plenty of carbohydrates and protein, as glycogen depletion leads to cramps. Diets low in carbohydrates or sodium can also increase the risk of cramping.

The exact cause of muscle cramping is unknown, but common theories revolve around dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. While neuromuscular causes are also suspected, other factors include training under extreme temperatures, exceedingly high loads, and excessive exercise. Additionally, certain health conditions, such as hypoglycemia or heart disease may increase an athlete’s risk of cramping. Finally, a lack of base conditioning may also increase the risk of cramps.

The best way to reduce the risk of cramping for athletes is to improve mobility. When muscles are tired and tight, they are more likely to cramp. Mobility work and myofascial releases can reduce the likelihood of cramping as they improve circulation and flexibility in the muscles. Keeping your muscles warm will also reduce the risk of cramping, as will regular rest. While resting can also help, the ideal amount of fluid intake will depend on the intensity of training and exercise.

Improves recovery after training

Optimal recovery after training has become an increasingly important aspect of physical activity. Although different recovery strategies are supported by varying scientific evidence, all can promote wellness, performance, and adaptation. 

Active recovery can reduce muscle soreness following a training session and improve performance over time. Passive recovery is more beneficial for those with injuries or those who engage in high-intensity training. Active recovery involves using the body’s natural healing processes, such as sleeping and eating, to get back into optimal physical shape. However, passive recovery can also improve performance. The key is to find a balance between active and passive recovery methods.

Protects the brain from ischemic cell damage

Neuroprotective approaches aim to reduce brain cell death caused by interruption of blood flow, which is the hallmark of ischemic stroke. Such strategies could help improve therapeutic effects and relieve patients of their disabilities. For instance, an approach aimed at inhibiting the production of reactive species (ROS) from plasma reduced neuronal cell apoptosis. Other approaches target specific signaling pathways and inhibit apoptosis and inflammation.

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