Creatine is a nitrogenous organic acid that naturally occurs in vertebrates, and helps supply energy to muscle cells. It is a natural substance found in some of the foods we eat, especially large in red meat. In recent years, creatine has been proven to help bodybuilders in different ways. Creatine has become one of the popular dietary supplements used by bodybuilders and powerlifters.

In the human body, creatine is synthesized mainly in the liver by the use of parts from three different amino acids – glycine, arginine, and methionine. 95% of it is later stored in the skeletal muscles, with the rest in the brain, heart, and testes.

Be sure to discuss the health risks of taking creatine supplements with your doctor, but you should be aware that there are benefits to raising your creatine levels as well.

1.   When you are lifting, ATP (Adenosine 5′-triphosphate) helps your muscles contract. With each contraction, the amount of ATP in your system decreases until you are maxed out to the point where you can no longer lift. The only way to replenish ATP in your muscles is with creatine.

2.   Creatine enhances your body’s ability to store glycogen. Muscles use glycogen to fuel the anabolic process. Your body needs adequate glycogen to help your muscles recover after an intense workout. By doing this, your muscles grow bigger as well as faster.

3.   If you aren’t getting enough creatine in your diet, you may want to use a creatine supplement. Creatine is found in red meats, like steak. If you’re a vegetarian, or someone who doesn’t eat a lot of creatine-hearty foods, you may benefit from the use of supplements. Glycogen (a carbohydrate) is often achieved by what is called carb-loading (like eating lots of pasta). By taking a creatine supplement, you will have to do less of this.

4.   Creatine also increases cardiovascular activity. When you take creatine supplements, you will most likely notice the effects in your anabolic workout, but it can also positively affect your cardiovascular exercise as well. Since creatine helps increase the amount of aerobic activity you can do before getting winded, you will be able to exercise longer and more intensely.

Although studies have shown it is generally safe to use, creatine is not for everyone. Unlike a lot of anabolic steroids and other supplements on the market, you should not start using creatine without first consulting with a doctor. You also want to be sure you are using creatine in the right amounts. Although the label should give you a general idea on how to use it, to use it most efficiently you should calculate the amount you want to use in accordance with your weight and percentage of body fat. The result of increased creatine in the body is the chemical creatinine, which is normally easily flushed out of the body through the kidneys. If you have kidney problems, however, increased amounts of creatinine can be harmful to your health. As with any substance, you must use common sense when taking creatine. If you don’t abuse the use of creatine, it can help you achieve results faster.

The Down Side of Supplements

Some people take dietary supplements to help them stay healthy, but many bodybuilders abuse supplements, in an effort to get bigger muscles faster. The most commonly abused drug among bodybuilders is the anabolic steroid. While its true you may see results in less time than a natural bodybuilder, the disadvantages of using steroids greatly outweigh the benefits.

The first thing you should know about steroids; is they are illegal. You also need to know that competitive bodybuilders often have to undergo drug tests before they will be allowed to enter an event. If you get caught with steroids, it can ruin your reputation both in and out of the bodybuilding world. The negative side effects of steroids are not only the legal aspects. Using steroids can do some serious damage to your body, as well as your overall health.

Even though men and women may react differently to steroids, they both face the same types of dangers. For example, steroids will cause a man’s testicles to shrink, sperm count to drop, have a deeper voice, hair loss, and make him develop breasts. Women too will experience deepened voices and hair loss, as well as enlargement of the clitoris, and increased growth of facial hair. In teenagers, who have not yet finished growing, it will stunt their growth. If these side effects haven’t put a scare into you yet, continue reading. It can get much worse.

Steroids can damage your liver by causing you to develop jaundice; a disease with flu-like symptoms that turns your skin yellow. Steroids have also been known to cause cancer and liver tumors. Perhaps the worst side effect is the one that affects the heart. Using steroids can cause enlargement of the heart, as well as hardening of the arteries, both health issues are precursors to heart disease, and in the end heart failure. People who abuse these supplements have also been known to develop skin spots, acne, trembling, and uncontrollable anger that makes the user become physically violent.

Steroids are only useful if you are a dedicated bodybuilder already, so you won’t gain any muscle mass simply by popping pills or injecting yourself. Steroids help your muscles recover from training, so while most bodybuilders need at least 48 hours between sessions to see results, users are ready to train again in a few hours. Therefore, users can build muscles faster.

You must keep in mind, just because things happen faster, does not always mean its better. There are some bodybuilders who are pushing for steroids to be legal when used responsibly, but professionals generally agree that abusing steroids will result in an untimely death. It is not necessary to use steroids to achieve the kind of body, bodybuilders admire. Healthy professional bodybuilders state that there are good training principals, which include the importance of having a nutrient-rich diet, along with the proper rest. Having both nutrition and rest will create a body other will envy.