"Creatine is a combination of three different amino acids: glycine, arginine and methionine – that's it – nothing more than a combination of amino acids," writes prominent powerlifter Layne Norton in his article "Creatine: What It Is and How It Is is working."
And yet, this simple connection is involved in a variety of processes in the body. It is a fundamental component of how your body generates its primary form of energy in muscle cells, the compound adenosine triphosphate or ATP. When the muscles contract explosively, or for short, intense work that lasts no more than 8-12 seconds, creatine (bound with phosphoric acid as creatine phosphate) creates the energy needed for it.
Most creatine in your body is made up in the liver and kidneys, but most of it is stored in muscle tissue. Creatine is not considered an "essential" nutrient because healthy human bodies can do it, and it can also be easily derived from a diet that contains animal products.
However, dietary creatine comes almost entirely from animal products. Vegan and vegetarian athletes are nowhere near getting as much creatine in the diet as people who eat dairy, eggs and / or meat. This is one reason why creatine is often recommended as an important vegetarian supplement.
Creatine monohydrate, the most popular form of creatine supplement, is simply creatine with a water molecule attached to it ̵
Occasionally people see that creatine is a steroid. Norton says that this can not be further from the truth.
"No, creatine is not a steroid, it's totally different and works differently," he writes. "It's also not a stimulant, though sometimes combined with stimulants like caffeine in pre-workout formulas.