Creatine has often been associated with anabolic steroids because it provides the user higher levels of energy and increases muscle mass. This is far from the truth though. Though both steroids and creatine enhance athletics performance, and are ingested supplements, they are entirely different.
Steroids are synthetic analogs of muscle building hormones. There are two types of steroids. Anabolic steroids promote generation of new cells and promote rapid cell growth. Androgynous steroids produce masculine traits in the body, such as facial hair growth and a deepening of the voice. Most steroids are both anabolic and androgenic. This is much different from creatine, which essentially, increases ones energy during performance.
Steroids are illegal to possess is the US without a doctor’s prescription. Though there are black markets and underground sources to buy such items, you aren’t going to find anabolic steroids in at your local vitamin retailer.
Creatine is a legal dietary supplement that is very commonly used and easy to buy. Some grocery stores even sell it. It is not a banned substance under the IOC or NCAA guidelines. Creatine has been sold for years and is considered incredibly safe for healthy athletes. Many supporters claim taking it is no more unnatural than supplementing a multi-vitamin. It is classified as a dietary supplement because one can could consume a highly creatine rich diet- such as red meat and fish, to substitute supplementation. In the case of steroids, this cannot be done.
Creatine is naturally produced in the body from the amino acids L-arginine, glycine, and L-methionine. Primarily in the kidneys, it is transported in the blood to fuel the muscles. It supplies muscles with energy by increasing the formation of ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Adenosine Triphosphates are high energy molecules with strongly bound phosphates in the muscle tissue. When a phosphate breaks loose, energy is released. Creatine’s job is to replenish the phosphates to keep ATP running.
Though creatine is a performance aid that will increase an athlete’s strength, muscular endurance, and assist in volumizing muscle cells, all of these effects occur through non-hormonal pathways.
Chemical Structure of Creatine Monohydrate
Compared to Testosterone- the most popular anabolic steroid