Creatine as an Antioxidant

It would not surprise anyone that the body must produce energy in order to perform even the simplest of tasks. Moreover, the requirement for energy can increase several hundred-fold in response to intense physical activity. Somewhat more surprising however, is the notion that extremely high levels of energy expenditure might produce potentially harmful agents known as “free radicals”. And, very surprising was the recent finding that creatine possesses an inherent capacity (as an antioxidant) to neutralize such free radicals. This potential benefit of creatine is further strengthened by combining it with essential B-vitamins.

Energy metabolism liberates electrons (accompanied by protons, H+), which then need to be removed from the cell soon after being produced. Oxygen is the final acceptor of these electrons to produce water (oxygen is the “O” in H2O). This is one of the principal reasons that our breathing rate increases in response to heavy exercise. This process is not perfect, however, and a small amount of oxygen is inevitably converted into Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), a class of free radical. Most importantly, the rate at which ROS are produced increases in parallel with exercise intensity, i.e. with increasing consumption of oxygen. ROS are notorious at destabilizing cellular membranes, ultimately causing muscle damage and possibly muscle cell death, especially after strenuous exercise.

Antioxidants Combat Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS)

The body normally defends itself from free radical damage with the help of antioxidants that are typically able to neutralize ROS as soon as they are produced. During strenuous exercise, however, the levels of ROS rise to the point where they actually overrun the body’s normal antioxidant defenses, giving rise to a degenerative scenario known as oxidative stress. To combat oxidative stress the body produces its own battalion of antioxidants as well as obtains antioxidants from the diet. Glutathione is one of the most potent antioxidants produced by the body. On the other side of the issue, the superoxide radical is one of the most insidious of ROS produced by heavy exercise, disease or injury. Oxidative stress resulting from the production of free radicals will prolong the times it takes for your muscle to recover following intense exercise in preparation of muscle growth. Therefore, consuming dietary antioxidants is necessary to combat the development of OverTraining Syndrome (OTS).

Continue reading about the special antioxidant boost provided by combining Creatine and essential B-vitamins.

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