Creatine is an amino acid that occurs naturally in humans and other animals. Creatine supports the delivery of energy to all of the cells in your body, especially to your muscles. Your body synthesizes creatine from L-arginine, glycine and L-methionine. Red meat is one source of creatine used by the human body.
Some of the creatine present in your body is synthesized from other amino acids in your organs such as your pancreas, liver and kidneys. The remainder of the creatine in your body comes from dietary sources. Good dietary sources of creatine include wild game, lean red meat and some fish including tuna, herring and salmon. Approximately 2 to 3 pounds of raw meat or fish contain the equivalent of 5 grams of pure creatine. Cooking will break down creatine, leaving it less available for your body to absorb it.
Creatine Content of Some Foods
You would have to consume approximately 500 grams of raw meat or fish to obtain the optimal amount of creatine. The specific creatine content pork is approximately 5 grams per kg. Red meet contains 4.5 grams per kg., herring contains 6.5 grams per kilogram, salmon contains 4.5 grams per kilograms, tuna contains 4 grams per kilogram, cod contains 3 grams per kilogram, and vegetables and fruits contain only trace amounts of creatine.
Creatine monohydrate is a supplemental form of creatine sold in various forms. Your body uses creatine monohydrate for the production of phosphocreatine, a substance vital to the production of the main energy molecule ATP. Manufacturers claim that supplemental creatine is advantageous in that you do not have to eat large quantities of meat to provide your body with this aminio acid. Your body cannot absorb supplemental creatine as effectively as creatine from natural food sources.
Benefits of Creatine
Regardless of the source of creatine, this amino acid can improve the work capacity of your muscles and promote lean muscle mass. Additionally, creatine can help to improve protein synthesis and enhance your muscle cell volume. Synthetic creatine can cause weight gain and bodybuilders and athletes sometimes use creatine supplements to bulk up. As with any health supplement, speak to a medical professional prior to consuming any creatine supplement.
- Creatine Information Center: What are natural sources of creatine?
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Creatine; Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD; February 2009
- "Creatine: the Power Supplement"; Melvin Williams, Richard Kreider and J. David Branch;1999