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"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time (Edison)." Losing weight can be extremely difficult for some individuals, with an ever growing epidemic obesity; the complications are increasing in society. The human mind plays games with the human's decision making skills, making it harder for some individuals to give up on the foods they love to eat and results in having to lose weight. Not everyone's body or mind is shaped the same way as healthy body builders and athletes, some methods work better than others. Exercising and eating healthier foods does not always give the quick and easy results consumers look for. But in our society today, technology is advancing rapidly to make our lives easier and healthier; it is the many reasons why people turn to diet supplements and programs. Diet supplements and programs have been improving throughout time to allow them to become more efficient and effective (Learning via Web?, 2012). Unfortunately, advertisers do not always portray the truth about dietary supplements and creatine (Figure 1). They do indeed give consumers the results they are looking for, but it does not always result in a healthy lifestyle due to the negative effects in chemicals and methods contained in the supplements or program. As a consumer health advocate, I advise to any consumer, men and women of any age that want to lose weight or gain muscle; that this is not a safe and effective method. These are just commercial gimmicks to help sell books, pills and other products, because dieting is a large business (Nelson 12). Many employees and advisors at a local diet supplement and program store for example; will typically advise consumers to take a supposedly safe and effective supplement known as Creatine that will guarantee results consumers want for body building.
A supplement is defined as when something is added to complete a thing, makes up for a deficiency or extend and strengthen as a whole (Dictionary). Creatine comes in many forms such as protein shakes and is consumed to promote muscle endurance, recovery and improve mass and strength. Creatine is a natural amino acid from three forms; glycine, arginine and methionine which build proteins found in meats and fish such as beef. It is produced in the human body in the liver kidneys and pancreas. It is converted into creatine phosphate or phosphocreatine which is then stored in the muscle to be used for energy. During intense and short exercises like lifting weight or sprinting the phosphocreatine is converted to ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) which then split off into ADP (Adenosine diphosphate) to provide energy to cell(coupled reaction) (Figure 2). This process increases the amount of ATP which contains a ribose and three other phosphate groups that are produced during aerobic cellular respiration (Figure 3). The phosphate group which contain high levels of energy are eventually broken off during cellular metabolism so the energy is used for muscles as they contract. Since ATP has a limited space, depletion of energy will occur quickly. The human body's cells must make ATP continuously through metabolic pathways (Figure 4), so cells can function properly (Yi, 2011). By providing more ATP for energy creatine improves muscular strength and power, it helps tone muscle mas by pumping water into the muscles. Creatine alters the process of cellular respiration. Cellular respiration is a process where molecules of glucose are converted to energy. The electrons produced are then stored in phosphate bonds of ATP. Once the bond is broken through hydrolysis reaction which is the addition of water molecule energy is released and can be used in the cell. After the bond is broken ADP is left remaining, for it to be converted back to ATP another phosphate is required. Phosphocreatine provides that required phosphate, allowing it to supply extra energy for the cell to use. Creatine supplements are popular amongst body builders and athletes. It is estimated that Americans spend $14 million per year on creatine supplements (Creatine, 2011).
The advantages of creatine are that they improve muscle strength to achieve larger muscle mass because creatine delivers more testosterone to the cells of the body as it draws much more liquid (Creatine FAQ, 2009). It helps relieve muscle weaknesses in arthritic patients and benefits athletes to work out much longer because it allows the muscles to withstand more action. Creatine assists consumers with abnormally high concentrations of lipids in the blood by lowering the cholesterol level. In some studies creatine supplements help lower levels of triglycerides (fats) in men and women. People suffering from heart disease were able to increase the amount of exercise they do before becoming fatigued. It helps to reduce levels of homcysteine which is associated with heart attacks and strokes. Creatine helps consumers who suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which is a lung disease restricting airflow making breathing heavy and difficult. It does not increase exercise capability, but it does increase muscle mass and endurance better than placebo; which is medicine used to test if drugs have pain relieving effects or effects of psychological processes. Patients with muscular dystrophy which is a muscle disorder that involves muscle weakness and loss of tissue led to small improvements in muscle strength. Lastly, Patients with Parkinson's disease which is a disorder of the brain which leads to shaking and difficulty with movement and coordination, have improved their exercise ability and endurance. Overall, creatine proves to help improve patient's suffering from diseases and disorders, it gives muscles more tone and mass while not hurting ones wallet.
The disadvantages to creatine play a big psychological and physical factor in the human body. Creatine can result in an increase in water weight, after taking this supplement one may feel bloated. Muscles tend to feel softer instead of harder due to the water weight. Some other short term effects one may encounter are upset stomach, diarrhea and dizziness. Long term effect one may encounter that have been reported in the past are; pulled muscles cramps, muscle spasms, loss of appetite, nausea, dehydration, high blood pressure, electrolyte imbalances and if you are allergic to creatine asthmatic symptoms may be present. In some rare cases creatine has led to kidney damaged if not consumed properly as directed, mood swings, hair loss and reduction in penis size. Creatine does not work the best if you need results on demand, creatines effects are a noticeable after your body consumes it regularly; it is not good for athletes competing in an event. Creatine supplements can also interact and react with several drugs and substances, which is why it is important to ask your doctor before consuming creatine monohydrate. Creatine should not be taken with non-steriodial anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, taking creatine with these pain relievers increase risk of kidney damage. Creatine is not recommended when caffeine is consumed because your body must work harder to use creatine which leads to increase of dehydration and stroke. Lastly, you should not consume creatine if one takes prescription diuretics (water pills), cimetidine (Tagamet) and probencid which all increase risk of kidney damage.
But many myths and facts correlate between other causing complications amongst consumers, making decision making difficult. Some diet supplements would benefit certain people and not others because not all people respond the same way to certain methods and supplements. Some do not get the results that they want and therefore switch to other methods. Consumers tend to avoid illegal methods of getting the results they want such as anabolic steroids or other chemical enhancers and switch to what they believe are safe and effective supplements. Others do the complete opposite and disregard all the side effect just to get quick results and beat the competition.
In conclusion, creatine monohydrate works effectively but is not 100 percent completely safe or effective and should not be consumed. It has a many short term affects and long terms affects which are not permanent and go away with time, but there are rare effects which should be kept in mind when consuming creatine. Creatine has an environmental risk because by the disposal of the supplement it could end up in the water supply and harm plants, humans and animals (Pick, 2011). Many precautions need to be taken before using creatine to check for allergies and other drug consumptions which may cause reactions. If you want to lose weight and live life healthy it is always best to play it safe by exercising and eating healthy foods. Life is more valuable than anything else, it is best to live a healthy life to enjoy it to the fullest, disregard what other say or think because not everyone was made the same; some have to work harder than others to achieve and be successful.
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