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When you’re insulin resistant, that is, you’ve got metabolic syndrome, pretty much every chemical in the body is NOT QUITE RIGHT. Some are up. Some are down. Few are actually at physiologically NORMAL levels.
Traditionally the focus is on the big guns.
- And cholesterol
In this series, we take a look at some of the other players.
Who they are, what they’re up to and how they’re part of the state of insulin resistance.
Phosphocreatine when you’re insulin resistant
Phosphocreatine, serves as a cell’s power bank, and when you have metabolic syndrome, the power bank is often NOT fully charged.
So, in key clutch moments………………. the cell, can RUN OUT OF JUICE.
Understanding cell power
The ultimate source of power, in a cell, is the high energy phosphate bond, inside ATP molecules. To function properly, cells need LOTS of ATP. The vast majority of ATP is generated, inside specialized organelles, known as the mitochondria, by a process known as oxidative phosphorylation.
The term, OXIDATIVE, tips us off, to the fact, that the process requires oxygen.
When the OXYGEN levels, inside a cell are low,
the power supply can become LIMITED.
Impacting cell performance……..
If the situation persists, for an extended period of time, it can lead to cell death. So, cells have a back up system, which kicks in, when oxygen levels drop.
When both oxygen and fuel, are plentiful, some of the ATP that is generated, is diverted…………
The diversion involves, pulling of the high energy phosphate bond from the ATP, and sticking it onto creatine, to create phosphocreatine.
The phosphocreatine, just sits there, holding the energy.
This is especially useful, because if supplies of ATP, exceed the cell’s requirements, cells opt to power down, because generating more power, than is needed, is inherently wasteful and potentially risky.
The phosphocreatine system, allows a cell to expand the ATP store, 10 fold.
Power dips not a problem
If the power supply dips, creatine kinase, immediately, pulls the phosphate off, sticks it onto an ADP, so there is no interruption in power.
Now, this system, can’t power the cell for very long.
But, it doesn’t have to…………
Restoring oxygen supplies is a priority, so a multitude of systems, kick in, to ensure adequate oxygen delivery.
The number of power banks
Now every cell will have creatine power banks, but the amount of creatine, inside a cell, is variable. The phosphagen system, is particularly important for cells with high energy requirements…
The exact amount inside a cell, depends on…………creatine supplies.
Which depend on body levels of creatine, along with how efficiently, the creatine is being delivered.
The creatine supply
To the body is guaranteed…..it’s home made.
Production is a two step process.
Step 1 takes place in the kidney. It involves bringing together, the amino acids, glycine and arginine, to create guanidinoacetic acid. The enzyme that does this is AGAT (arginine:glycine amidinotransferase.
Step 2, takes place in the liver. The enzyme GAMT (guanidionacetic acid methyltransferase) pops a methyl group onto the guanidinoacetic acid, to make creatine.
The chemistry is pretty easy, but methyl groups are precious.
So, creatine imports are preferred……………..
The major source of dietary creatine is MEAT. In fact, the name creatine, is derived from the Greek word, for meat, kreas. It is estimated that our ancestors, ate 2 – 4 g of creatine a day.
Something most modern humans, aren’t doing.
The other problem, with modern living, it’s easy to be, short of methyl groups. Methyl groups are involved in lots of day to day, body chemistry and also, in many detoxification processes. More “chemical” exposures, necessitate more methyl groups.
Combine this, with delivery issues, which go hand in hand with metabolic syndrome.
It’s easy to end up with lower levels of phosphocreatine, than ideal…………..
This impacts cell energetics, especially, in situations where oxygen levels are compromised.
Something that is also more likely to happen, when you’re metabolically challenged !
So boosting creatine levels, is potentially helpful. In fact, studies have suggested creatine supplements, can improve sugar control.
You can do it through diet (i.e. eat meat or fish) or by taking a creatine supplement.
You don’t need massive quantities……… just enough to tip the balance, in your favour.
Getting it out
It turns out, creatine is not all that stable – it dehydrates, when this happens, it becomes creatinine. It is estimated, you pee out, approx. 2 g a day.
If the name, creatinine, looks familiar…………… IT IS.
Doctors measure this on a regular basis. The reason they do this, the amount of creatinine in your blood, gives them insight into just how well your kidneys are working.
Higher creatine, suggests kidney problems.
Now more creatine going in, automatically means, more creatinine going out, there is nothing untoward about this, it’s chemistry, but you want to give your doc a heads up, if you’re supplementing.
Helpful, but not the full monty………
Better cell energetics is probably not the real value of improving creatine imports, the real value comes from the fact that, it cuts the liver some slack.
Remember methyl groups are precious.
And they can be in short supply, thanks to genetics, life style and body chemistry, this can compromise body chemistry – this can compromise, fat exports from the liver.
Extra creatine, will give you BETTER energetics and BETTER methylation status, helping you to create BETTER BODY CHEMISTRY and BETTER HEALTH.
Here are a few of the journal articles I’ve used to tell the phosphocreatine story. Phosphocreatine is just one of hundreds of chemicals in the body that are amiss when you’re suffering from metabolic syndrome. To learn more about some of the other players, go to our “Ups and Downs” of Insulin Resistance series.
The association among skeletal muscle phosphocreatine recovery, adiposity, and insulin resistance in children. Pediatr Obes. (2017) 12(2):163-170. Greg D. Wells, Laura Banks, Jessica E. Caterini, Sara Thompson,Michael D. Noseworthy, Tammy Rayner, Catriona Syme,Brian W. McCrindle and Jill Hamilton
The metabolic burden of creatine synthesis. Amino Acids (2011) 40:1325–1331. John T. Brosnan, Robin P. da Silva, Margaret E. Brosnan
Creatine supplementation and glycemic control: a systematic review. Amino Acids. (2016) 48(9):2103-29. Camila Lemos Pinto, Patrícia Borges Botelho, Gustavo Duarte Pimentel, Patrícia Lopes, Campos?Ferraz, João Felipe Mota1
Creatine in Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized,Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Med Sci Sports Exerc. (2011) 43(5):770-8. Bruno Gualano, Vitor de Salles Painnel, Hamilton Roschel, Guilherme Giannin Artiol, Manoel Neves, Ana Lucia de SaPinto, Maria Elizabeth Rossi Da Silva, Maria Rosaria Cunha, Maria Concepcion Garcia Otaduy, Claudia da Costa Leite, Julio Cesar Ferreira, Rosa Maria Peeira, Patricia Chakur Brum, Elosia Bonfa and Antonio Herbert Lancha.
The human brain is the biggest of all, so human mothers should be breast feeding as long as chimp moms do, but we don’t, thanks to our carnivorous nature.
Harvard researchers show red meat is “okay” provided you’re following the example of nature’s carnivores – i.e. eating meat in an unprocessed form.
If you’re going paleo, you might need to get out the spear and hunt down your dinner, supermarket meat is NOT REAL enough to avoid heart disease etc.