Basketball players wanting to gain a competitive edge look for innovative ways to increase their skills on the court. Dietary supplements offer a potential way to boost performance, but many supplements are not safe to take or may not offer the benefits they claim. Creatine monohydrate is a common sports supplement sold to competitive athletes. Because of its ability to boost production of ATP, a high-energy compound, supplementing with creatine enhances performance during bouts of high-intensity exercise. Increasing energy production as well as contributing to lean muscle mass production potentially benefits athletes, especially basketball players.
Creatine Monohydrate Effects
As a naturally occurring amino acid, creatine is found in meat and fish but can also be made by your body. This compound is stored in muscle tissue and used during high-intensity, short-duration exercises for conversion to energy. Creatine's primary use in muscle tissue is regeneration of high-energy compounds known as ATP. During sprints or other high-energy exercises, creatine increases ATP production which is used to fuel muscle cells. Additionally, creatine's role in energy production decreases recovery time, which may allow athletes to train more often. Creatine has not been shown to be effective in endurance exercises such as long-distance running, but after considering research studies, the National Institutes of Health states that creatine supplementation is effective for improving the athletic performance of young, healthy people during short bouts of high intensity-exercise.
Application To Basketball
Basketball players perform a variety of high-intensity exercises in regular playing time. Running down the length of the court at a sprint may be required at regular intervals throughout the game. Players must also be able to dribble and shoot as well as pass the ball to other players which requires power and force. Finally, jumping is an important skill for players to master. Jumping is an explosive movement used while blocking a shot, taking a shot or trying to catch a pass. Throughout the entire game, players need to be able to have the energy to complete these high-intensity exercises. Because of these energy requirements, basketball players may enhance their playing abilities and increase lean muscle mass through creatine supplementation. Creatine does not actually stimulate muscle tissue growth, but enhances muscle contractions and reduces fatigue which may help basketball players train for greater muscle mass. Keep in mind that creatine is not currently banned by the NCAA, but supplementation remains controversial. Schools cannot give creatine to athletes, although athletes are not prevented from buying and taking this supplement on their own.
Because you can only store a certain amount of creatine monohydrate in your body, taking excessive amounts is not beneficial and your body will excrete excess creatine in your urine. The upper limit for creatine is 20 grams a day. However, spacing out supplementation to receive five grams, four times a day improves absorption and storage. Your body absorbs creatine more effectively when you take it with carbohydrate foods such as fruits, fruit juices and starches. Following this supplementation information helps your body to maximize this amino acid's potential to boost your basketball skills.
Creatine supplementation may be dangerous in some cases. When taken in high dosages, of more than 20 grams per day, you increase the risk of kidney damage. Additionally, taking high doses may stop your body from making its own creatine. This supplement has been marketed to all age groups, but creatine has not been tested in people under the age of 19, and could pose health risks for this age group. When taking this supplement, be sure to talk to a doctor, especially if you are on other prescription medications which may interact with creatine. In some cases, creatine supplementation causes weight gain, which may be counterproductive, so you should monitor your own responses to this supplement.