Supercharge your strength and endurance with creatine!

What is Creatine?

Creatine Monohydrate is a naturally occurring organic acid. It is the original and likely the most effective form of supplemental creatine on a gram-for-gram basis compared to creatine malate, creatine hydrochloride, creatine ethyl-ester and others. Creatine is stored primarily in muscle tissue, and it is used for rephosphorylating ADP into ATP. This means that when our muscles use up our energy stores, creatine helps to replenish those stores in a fairly rapid manner. Obviously, you can imagine the benefits creatine may present for athletes just from that information alone.

How Does Creatine Improve Performance?

From that mechanism of action (how we nerdy scientists like to complicate the phrase “this is how this works”), it is no surprise that creatine improves repeated sprint performance, strength, and relative lifting volume. This increased strength and training volume leads athletes to not only use creatine for quick performance enhancement but also to aid their off-season training. In addition to performance benefits, creatine supplementation increases muscle mass. Whether creatine increases muscle mass via increased strength and training volume or increases strength and training volume via increased muscle mass can be debated. It cannot be debated, however, that creatine positively augmenting anabolic hormone status increases muscle gain. Following 8 weeks of resistance training, Saremi and colleagues confirmed creatine’s beneficial effects on body composition, and they also determined that creatine contributed to decreased levels of myostatin.

Is Creatine Safe?

Clearly, one side effect of creatine is weight gain. That is if you consider weight gain a side effect as opposed to a primary or desired effect. Apart from that, the claims that creatine is unsafe are largely fallacious.  A connection between creatine and kidney, liver, and/or heart complications has not been affirmed. However as creatine may cause muscles to retain water, appropriate water consumption is encouraged, just as it would be in the absence of creatine supplementation. Although, even water retention has been contested in the research.

What Athletes Can Benefit Most From Creatine Supplementation?

Thus, athletes in weight-restricted sports may desire to be selective in timing their creatine relative to weigh-ins. For pretty much all other athletes, creatine is going to be the number one to number four choice for supplementation depending upon whether or not protein powder is classified as supplement or food and the endurance component of the sport. If we consider protein powder a food, creatine would be my first recommendation for supplementation for athletes such as football players, hockey players, bodybuilders, sprinters, powerlifters, baseball players, and others performing activity in short bursts. For more endurance-oriented athletes, I would recommend creatine after caffeine, nitrates, and maybe beta-alanine in some cases; these athletes would be soccer players, cyclists, runners, and others performing exercise in prolonged bouts.

What Is The Proper Dose Of Creatine?

Standard dosing for creatine is 5g/day following a loading phase of anywhere from 10-20g per day for 1-2 weeks. In actuality, creatine doesn’t need to be front loaded, as it will accumulate over time with the 5g/day dose, but loading will get your muscles to the “saturation point” faster. The saturation point is when the muscles are full with creatine and cannot hold any more of it, and the saturation point is different for different people. The timing of creatine ingestion is unclear, but it may be best consumed post-workout with some protein and carbohydrate. Additionally, creatine does not need to be cycled. Previously, it was believed that it must be cycled to ensure the recuperation of the body’s own natural, endogenous production. Since new information has emerged confirming that creatine supplementation will not interfere with the body’s maintenance of creatine levels, so once you’re on it, you can stay on for life. Or not, without consequence.

References
  1. Chanutin A: The fate of creatine when administered to man. Journal of Biological Chemistry 1926, 67:29-41.
  2. hultman E, J. Bergstrom, L. L. Spriet, and K. Soderlund.: Energy Metabolism and Fatigue. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics; 1990.
  3. Earnest CP, Snell PG, Rodriguez R, Almada AL, Mitchell TL: The effect of creatine monohydrate ingestion on anaerobic power indices, muscular strength and body composition. Acta physiologica Scandinavica 1995, 153:207-209.
  4. Becque MD, Lochmann JD, Melrose DR: Effects of oral creatine supplementation on muscular strength and body composition. Medicine and science in sports and exercise 2000, 32:654-658.
  5. Kreider RB, Ferreira M, Wilson M, Grindstaff P, Plisk S, Reinardy J, Cantler E, Almada AL: Effects of creatine supplementation on body composition, strength, and sprint performance. Medicine and science in sports and exercise 1998, 30:73-82.
  6. Vandenberghe K, Goris M, Van Hecke P, Van Leemputte M, Vangerven L, Hespel P: Long-term creatine intake is beneficial to muscle performance during resistance training. Journal of applied physiology 1997, 83:2055-2063.
  7. Hoffman J, Ratamess N, Kang J, Mangine G, Faigenbaum A, Stout J: Effect of creatine and beta-alanine supplementation on performance and endocrine responses in strength/power athletes. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism 2006, 16:430-446.
  8. Saremi A, Gharakhanloo R, Sharghi S, Gharaati MR, Larijani B, Omidfar K: Effects of oral creatine and resistance training on serum myostatin and GASP-1. Molecular and cellular endocrinology 2010, 317:25-30.
  9. Buford TW, Kreider RB, Stout JR, Greenwood M, Campbell B, Spano M, Ziegenfuss T, Lopez H, Landis J, Antonio J: International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation and exercise. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2007, 4:6.
  10. VOGEL RA, Webster MJ, ERDMANN LD, CLARK RD: Creatine supplementation: Effect on supramaximal exercise performance at two levels of acute hypohydration. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 2000, 14:214-219.
  11. Antonio J, Ciccone V: The effects of pre versus post workout supplementation of creatine monohydrate on body composition and strength. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2013, 10:36.
  12. Cribb PJ, Williams AD, Hayes A: A creatine-protein-carbohydrate supplement enhances responses to resistance training. Medicine and science in sports and exercise 2007, 39:1960-1968.

6 thoughts on “Supercharge your strength and endurance with creatine!

    • Vaugh….if you are looking for more blood flow for a “pump” you could try our extreme nitric stack or PRE which contains multiple vasodilators (increase blood flow)

  1. Thank you for the information. I’ve been a loyal customer for years and refer many people to your company. I appreciate that your products are free of many fillers and additives. It’s rare to find supplements manufactured with such quality standards and ingredients. I wish you continued success in your efforts to improve your exceptional products and in the education of your customers.
    Sincerely, Phyllis Jones

    • Phyllis…thank you for your kind words, loyalty, and continued support. We appreciate you putting your trust in us and value you as a NutraBio customer.

  2. Thank you for the information. I only use creatine monohydrate because of the studies that support this form. I still do not know how the other creatine forms such HCL, Nitrate etc….are effective, I do not see the studies to support their use, maybe your company can provide some information.

    Thank you,
    John

    • John….we agree with you in that creatine monohydrate is king when it comes to all the various forms. If I remember correctly there are over 700 studies on creatine monohydrate demonstrating improvements in size, strength, power, and endurance. The only studies done on HCL have been in vitro and I am not aware of any studies showing it is superior to monohydrate in humans. I’m not saying that it doesn’t work and it may work better than monohydrate in the small percentage of the population who can get bloated or experience cramps with mono but a lot more research would need to be done on HCL before it can be considered equal or better to monohydrate.

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