The use of creatine as a sports nutrition supplement has been surrounded by both controversy and fallacy since it gained widespread popularity in the early 1990's. Anecdotal and media reports have often claimed that creatine usage is a dangerous and unnecessary practice; often linking creatine use to anabolic steroid abuse. But many athletes and experts in the field have reported that creatine supplementation is not only beneficial for athletic performance and various medical conditions but is also clinically safe and a useful ergogenic aid.
Creatine is chemically known as a non-protein nitrogen; a compound which contains nitrogen but is not a protein per se. It is synthesized in the liver and pancreas from the amino acids arginine, glycine, and methionine. Approximately 95% of the body's creatine is stored in skeletal muscle. About two thirds of the creatine found in skeletal muscle is stored as phosphocreatine (PCr) while the remaining amount of creatine is stored as free creatine. The body breaks down creatine into creatinine in the skeletal muscle. It is then excreted in urine. Intensely training athletes will have slightly higher creatinine levels irrespective of supplementation as a consequence of metabolism; this does not indicate kidney damage.
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