Creatine supports skin health and protects against, and reverses, age related skin damage. Or, that which is associate with aging is connected to damage to skin cells, especially within the mitochondria and DNA. Mitochondria, found in every cell, converts nutrients from food into energy. Aging is related to dysfunctional mitochondria (102). So, creatine is important in preserving the skin’s (and body’s) cellular energy system. It is turned to phosphocreatine (its phosphorylated form) in the body and, in this way, acts as a pivotal source for high energy phosphates, one of three components of ATP or adenosine triphosphate. The other two are sugar or ribose, and a nitrogen base called adenine. As aging sets in, and oxidative stress does more damage to cells, it becomes more difficult for the body to maintain the creatine system, and so more difficult to maintain the concordant energy storage mechanism in skin, in this way skin is negatively affected by a loss of creatine. The aging of the skin specifically is associated with a deterioration in cellular energy metabolism. This loss of energy is the result of harmful changes in mitochondrial function. This in turn is the result of free radicals created by solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation, called exogenous noxes (103). In short, as skin ages the cells try to counter any loss of mitochondrial energetic capacity by producing extra-mitochondrial pathways like glycolysis or the creatine kinase (CK) system.
A study of creatine metabolism and skin aging showed that aging is associated with a stress related deterioration in the mitochondrial energy supply in human skin (epidermal) cells, which is associated with a reduction in mitochondrial creatine kinase (Ck) activity (103). The same study shows that creatine supplementation is taken up by skin cells, where it is correlated with an increase in mitochondrial CK activity, improved mitochondrial functioning, and provided protection from free oxygen radical stress, or free radicals/oxidative stress (103).
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