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Simultaneity and Identification: Creatine

In his latest weekly column (Nov 13, 2007, mostly about sports but also with a good dose of economics) at ESPN, Gregg Easterbrook writes,

Economics note: As the sense that creatine possesses forbidden powers has declined, so has its price. Five years ago, General Nutrition Centers sold a canister for $100 or more; now, canisters sell for $25 or so.

It looks as if Easterbrook is attributing the drop in the price of creatine to a decline in demand. But it is also quite likely that the high prices induced entry and increased competition among suppliers. Indeed, most websites devoted to body-building point out that there are now many brands and varieties of creatine to choose from.

If the demand curve shifted leftward, it also seems that the supply curve could have shifted to the right. Either shift (or both) would cause the price to drop, but it would be incorrect to attribute the price decline to either shift alone without more information.

How Does Creatine Work?

Creatine is thought to work by providing energy for muscles, which can help to improve athletic performance. Creatine is a natural substance that is produced in the body and stored in muscle cells. It helps to supply energy to muscles, and its levels can become depleted during exercise. Creatine supplements are often taken by athletes in order to improve their performance.

While creatine is found naturally in foods like meat and fish, it is also available in powder form. When taken as a supplement, it is typically mixed with water or juice and consumed before or after exercise. Creatine works by increasing the body’s supply of ATP, which is the energy source that muscles use during exercise. This can lead to improved performance, particularly in activities that require short bursts of energy, such as sprinting.

Additionally, creatine has been shown to increase muscle mass and strength when taken in combination with resistance training. For these reasons, creatine is a popular supplement among athletes and bodybuilders. However, it is important to consult with a doctor before starting any supplement regimen, as there may be potential side effects.