We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Creatine Phosphate?

By Helga George
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Creatine phosphate is an organic compound that provides a quick source of energy for muscle fibers to contract when they need an initial burst of energy. It is also found in the brain and provides a similar burst of energy for neurons. Another term for this compound is phosphocreatine, which is abbreviated as PCr or Pcr.

The most common description for the action of creatine phosphate is with muscle fibers. The initial energy for muscle contraction comes from the high-energy compound adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The power of ATP comes from its three high-energy phosphate bonds. Muscle fibers, however, only contain a small reservoir of ATP. Most of their energy store is kept in a pool of creatine phosphate.

The cells also have the precursor to ATP, which is adenosine diphosphate (ADP). This compound has two high-energy bonds. The addition of another high-energy phosphate bond to ADP creates ATP.

Creatine that has a phosphate attached to it is referred to as being phosphorylated, and this phosphate bond is a high-energy one like that of ATP. The phosphorylated creatine transfers its phosphate to ADP to form ATP, leaving unphosphorylated creatine. When the muscle cells have the energy of ATP, they can act in the time it takes for alternate energy sources to be activated. If all of the creatine phosphate is used up, the cells can still produce ATP by an alternate method of energy production that is much less efficient.

This process is catalyzed by the enzyme creatine phosphokinase, also known as creatine kinase. The reaction is reversible. The enzyme can either add a phosphate to creatine to make creatine phosphate, or remove one to make creatine, depending on the needs of the cell.

When the cells are resting, they build up their stores of creatine phosphate. This is done by removing a phosphate from ATP and adding it to creatine, creating ADP as a by-product in the process. Muscle and brain cells are the classic examples of tissues that utilize this type of system, but other tissues that rapidly use ATP also use creatine phosphate as an energy store. These include spermatozoa and the photoreceptor cells of the retina.

The reversible phosphorylation of creatine phosphate is carried out by one of several different types of creatine kinases. There is one type specialized for muscles (M) and another for the brain (B). Each molecule of creatine kinase is made up of two sub-units, which can be composed of varying combinations of the different types. Creatine kinase of the MB type is assayed clinically in blood tests for emergency patients, and specifically for patients suspected of having had a heart attack or kidney failure.

The creatine kinase test also detects patients with muscle disorders or brain damage. A small percentage of people that take statin drugs to lower their cholesterol will have elevated creatine kinase levels. Low levels can indicate rheumatoid arthritis and alcohol damage to the liver.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon349967 — On Sep 30, 2013

@anon154251: ATP and CP are heavy molecules and would weigh the cell down. It would rather resynthesize ATP after have been separated by ATPase.

By anon154251 — On Feb 20, 2011

Thanks very much. This really answered many of my questions except one question.

Actually, I am a medical student and our professor asked us: why does the cell needs to store ATP AS creatine phosphate ?? Why not keep it as ATP?

So please I've been thinking and searching for the cause.

I was wondering if you would know the answer. Best regards.

By sapphire12 — On Dec 17, 2010

@FernValley, while most nutrition experts would agree with you, it does not, unfortunately, matter much to those athletes who are most interested in an easier way to accomplish a goal, and have little concern for the longterm effects of using risky products to enhance physical performance.

By FernValley — On Nov 07, 2010

I have hard that creatine products, which provide the user with extra amounts of creatine phosphate and therefore more energy, are on the rise. However, it seems that this, like many chemicals our bodies use, might be best when it is entirely natural, produced in our bodies by consuming other healthy foods.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.