Creatine: Guest Post from Beauty by the Geeks

Hi there science fans! We here at Antisense Science have teamed up with our good friends over at Beauty by the Geeks to bring you a guest feature on creatine -we love a bit of science cross-pollination! The post was originally part of BBTG’s Molecular Mondays, so check them out after you’ve read this!

Creatine. A molecular gem that you’ve probably heard of in the context of exercise and working out in the gym.  Creatine is used as a supplement by gym-goers and sporty folk when they want to get more out of their workout. It comes from both endogenous and exogenous sources, being produced in the liver and coming from dietary meat and fish.

It’s a compound which can give a runner that extra bit of explosive energy or a weight-lifter a little more strength. This nitrogenous organic acid is composed of three different amino acids and it acts to increase the levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the muscles in times when an extra energy supply is needed, above and beyond the level of ATP normally found in the body.

In order for us to use ATP as a source of energy, it needs those three phosphate groups stuck onto it. As we use more energy, however, ATP loses a few of these groups in its conversion to ADP (in this case, the D stands for “di”).

Molecular Structure of Creatine

Molecular Structure of Creatine

In the body, most creatine is found as phosphocreatine – creatine with an extra phosphate group on. Phosphocreatine donates a phosphate group to ADP so that it reverts to ATP – ready to provide energy for working muscles.

It’s all about increasing the body’s capacity to make more energy, making the skeletal muscle work for a longer period of time. It works best in high intensity exercise when rapid bursts of energy are released.

As alluded to earlier, creatine is made up of three amino acids: arginine, glycine and methionine. Firstly, arginine and glycine combine to form guanidinoacetate under the influence of the enzyme arginine:glycine amidinotransferase. Next, methionine donates a methyl group (one carbon and three hydrogen atoms) in a two-step process involving the production of S-adenosylmethionine and its reaction with guanidinoacetate to form creatine, governed by the enzymes methionine adenosyltransferase and guanidinoacetate methyltransferase.

The molecule is osmotically active which increases intracellular water retention and protein synthesis, aiding their growth. It can also reduce muscular lactic acid build up.

Creatine can also enhance the ability of the muscles to contract. Muscle contraction requires the interaction of actin and myosin in a cyclic manner resulting in the shortening of the sarcomere (muscle cell). The initiation of muscle contraction requires calcium release which binds to troponin on the actin filament, revealing myosin attachment sites. The binding and subsequent movement of the myosin heads to the actin filament pulls it along, contracting the skeletal muscle. This process inevitably requires ATP which is supplied by creatine’s ability to increase mitochondrial ATP production and transportation to the myosin heads for the formation of this “cross bridge cycle”.

Side effects of creatine supplementation are rare and anecdotal at best. Clinical trials have revealed no compelling evidence with regards to adverse effects of creatine on the body if taken correctly. The timing, method of consumption and dose are important when taking creatine though.

We’ve seen how creatine, whether dietary or supplemental, can dramatically increase the working body’s reserve of ATP and as such, influence the outcome of exercise.

Now who wants tickets for the gun show?

Thanks for reading! Why not head over to Beauty by the Geeks to keep the science flowing?!


Bemben MG, & Lamont HS (2005). Creatine supplementation and exercise performance: recent findings. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 35 (2), 107-25 PMID: 15707376

Brosnan JT, da Silva RP, & Brosnan ME (2011). The metabolic burden of creatine synthesis. Amino acids, 40 (5), 1325-31 PMID: 21387089

Cooper R, Naclerio F, Allgrove J, & Jimenez A (2012). Creatine supplementation with specific view to exercise/sports performance: an update. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 9 (1) PMID: 22817979

Images adapted from:


18 responses to “Creatine: Guest Post from Beauty by the Geeks

    • Hi! Thanks for your feedback! Nice article, interesting to see creatine looked at from a number of different perspectives…good job!

  1. Congrats on producing this well-written article on creatine. Thanks for including scientific terms and explaining how creatine works in our body. The information contained is both concise and reliable! A very valuable source for people who are thinking of taking this supplement.

    • Hi Samantha, glad you enjoyed the article! It’s best for people to know exactly what creatine is doing within the muscles before using it…hopefully this piece will help! Thanks for your feedback

  2. Hey there! This is my first comment here so I
    just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I
    really enjoy reading through your blog posts.
    Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same topics?

    • Hi there! Many thanks for your kind feedback and interest.

      We’ll be sure to keep you reading with our upcoming posts!


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  4. With havin so much written content do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or
    copyright violation? My website has a lot of exclusive content I’ve either authored myself or outsourced but it seems a
    lot of it is popping it up all over the web
    without my authorization. Do you know any ways to help stop content from being stolen? I’d definitely appreciate it.

    • Hi there! Thanks for the comment. We do get a lot of instances where people have used our articles elsewhere (often where people reblog an article) but they always seem to have a link back to our website, which often helps to send new readers to our main site so actually seems to help us in the long run.
      If you’re having issues where people are taking your work without permission and/or putting their name on it without giving you correct credit, then that is copyright violation and its probably worth dropping them an email or commenting asking them to a) cease and desist (remove the article from their site) or b) link back to the original article (which is only polite of them anyway, and might help your stats). There are different types of copyright and how you decide to licence your content will determine how people are allowed to use it (or at least that’s what I’ve found with images).
      This website gives quite an in depth look into copyright and blogging which you might find useful-, we try really hard to ensure we don’t plagiarise other people’s images when we use them in our feature articles so we always hope that others will take the time with our blog content, but I know that it doesn’t always play out that way.

      I hope you manage to sort it out!

  5. Please let me know if you’re looking for a article writer for
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    • Thank you for getting in touch! I’ve had a look at your site (looks great) and although we have an article on creatine and a few on sports science we’re more based on science in the news/ recent research. But if we ever have anything that looks like it might be your kind of thing I’ll drop you an email. Cheers 🙂

    • Hi!
      Thankfully we haven’t run into that problem yet- although that does make me think we should start regularly backing up our site! So sorry to hear that you had that issue.
      I’m not even sure how you could go about stopping hacking other than having a really good password and changing it regularly.

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