L’Accademia del Fitness
CREATINE: NOT ONLY FOR SPORT Monohydrate creatine is undoubtedly the most investigated molecule in the field of sport in order to help professional and amateur athletes to recover from their great physical efforts and to increase their explosive power. Creatine has recently (in the last 15 years) been studied as an additional molecule to one’s daily diet to prevent the appearance and diminish the symptoms of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s etc. Neurodegenerative diseases are usually characterised by the degeneration of neurons inside specific brain areas. Neuron loss or dysfunction can be due to a wide range of neurological diseases, depending on the localization of the neuron loss and on the advance of the disease itself. A great number of studies have shown that this type of diseases have a biochemical aetiology which contributes to the pathogenicity and to the clinical appearance of many neurodegenerative pathologies. The combination of processes including cytotoxicity, oxidative stress, energy exhaustion and mitochondrial dysfunction are involved in many disorders such as Huntington’s disease (HD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and mitochondrial diseases in general.
As it is well known, mitochondria are small cellular organs which have the function of producing energy and of regulating the cell’s energy condition by means of the oxidative phosphorylation process which produces huge ATP quantities for the supply of tissues such as the striated muscle, the skeletal muscle and the cerebral tissue. These functions (supply and regulation of cellular energy) are involved in neurodegenerative processes such as excitotoxicity, the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), the calcium homeostasis dysregulation process and the apoptosis process. One of the most frequent neurodegenerative diseases in the world is Parkinson’s disease (PD). This pathology is due to the chronic and progressive degeneration of the nervous structures which constitute the extrapyramidal system. Such alteration occurs in an area of the central nervous system called substantia nigra, a nucleus situated at the level of the mesencephalon in which dopamine is produced. This is the area where the loss or dysfunctioning of the dopaminergic neurons occurs, leading to the suppression of the neuron activity of the motor cortex. The pathogenesis therefore consists in the loss of cellular
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