Creatine, [NH2-C(NH)-NCH2(COOH )-CH3], is a natural amino acid derivative, present mainly in the brain and muscle fibers. It plays a role in providing energy to the muscle cells and muscle contraction. It was discovered in 1832 by the French chemist Eugène Chevreul. The word comes from Greek κρέας (Kreas, meat).
In all vertebrates and some invertebrates creatine is formed from the creatine phosphate by creatine kinase enzyme. The presence of such energy supply maintains ATP / ADP at a sufficient level in those cells where high concentration of ATP is required. High-energy phosphate buffers in the cells are in the form of phosphocreatine or phosphoarginine. This system works in the cell as a system of intracellular energy transfer from the places where the energy is stored in the form of ATP (mitochondria and the reactions of glycolysis in the cytoplasm) to the places where energy is needed (myofibrils in the case of the of muscle contraction, the sarcoplasmic retikulym for pumping calcium ions and in many other places).
Caffeine does not destroy the molecules of creatine. But they are partly opposed to each other: creatine accumulates water in the body, creating hyperhydrate cells and caffeine acts as a diuretic, and at proper portions prevents this effect.
Creatine is produced naturally or is synthesized in the body from certain amino acids such as glycine, arginine and methionine in the liver, pancreas and kidneys. In omnivores, creatine endogenous synthesis is half the creatine supply, the other half comes from food (mainly fish and meat, 500 g of beef steak contain 2.5 g of creatine). However, in vegetarians, endogenous synthesis is responsible for the overall production of creatine. A study of 25 omnivores and 17 vegetarians on the effect of creatine in vegetarians showed that the total amount of creatine was lower compared to omnivores. However, since creatine is synthesized from the amino acids mentioned, plant foods rich in these amino acids allow the body to synthesize it in sufficient amounts.
In the regeneration of ATP molecules, creatine phosphate neutralize acids that are formed during the exercise and lower blood pH that causes muscle fatigue. Creatine also activates glycolysis. Side effects besides increasing the total mass of the body are not found (it is believed that creatine promotes the synthesis of muscle proteins). However, there are identified cases of poisoning with large doses of creatine. At high doses of creatine leads to a weakening of bone and kidney dysfunction. One of the cases was registered U.S. hospitals. The victim was a college student, who, as a result of the consumption of large amount of creatine developed renal failure.
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