Is Creatine Natural or Not?

Creatine is a nitrogen-based compound composed of three essential amino acids- glycine, arginine, and methionine. The three amino acids biologically form a chemical methyl guanidino acetic acid which is converted to creatine and phosphocreatine. The process takes place in the kidney and liver and the product formed is stored mainly in muscles via the blood. Creatine elevates the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) by donating its phosphate molecules to adenosine diphosphate (ADP) which is converted to ATP. Therefore, it can initially be inferred that creatine is a naturally produced source of energy. Besides its production in the body, creatine can also be consumed externally via food sources like meat or fish.

The daily requirement of creatine is around 2-3 grams in an individual. However, since creatine is also equally excreted in small amounts on daily basis, our daily intake of creatine might not meet the body requirements. Therefore, it also becomes important to found for alternatives to natural creatine to make up to the required mark. This has led to the development of synthetic or laboratory produces creatine which is similar to the natural creatine produced in our body.

Let us take a look at how synthetic creatine is made. The artificial supplement is produced using two chemical compounds namely, sarcosine and cyanamide. Sarcosine is a sodium-based salt while cyanamide is a white-colored amide. Individually they are not considered safe for human consumption, however, when mixed together they are consumable. The production of creatine takes place in a reactor that is heated and pressurized to a certain temperature and pressure respectively. Both the compounds are blended together in the reactor with some catalysts to form creatine crystals. Any unwanted residual particles are later removed while vacuum drying the product. The final product is ground into a fine powder to enhance its solubility in
liquids.

Creatine is an important nutrient required by the body due to its various benefits. It helps in increasing the body mass, repairing injury damages, and various diseases like Parkinson’s and depression. Although creatine is often considered as a natural product due to its major production by amino acids present inside the body, it cannot be denied that creatine supplements are also commercially used which form the artificial source. However, it is also important that one consumes such supplements only when necessary.

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