One of the most heavily researched supplements in the
history of sports nutrition (over 200 studies to date, over the last decade), Creatines
efficacy cannot be denied.
COULD BENEFIT FROM CREATINE?
light of the above benefits, individuals most likely to experience creatines
positive effects are:
- Bodybuilders and strength athletes.
- The aging population.
- Sufferers of neurodegenerative disease.
- Those with naturally lower levels of creatine (people, such
as vegetarians, who have a lower base level of creatine)
ENHANCES MUSCLE VOLUMIZATION*
Another important benefit for bodybuilders and strength
athletes is creatines muscle volumizing effect 3. Creatine has a property that
causes muscle cells to inflate, which produces a more heavily muscled
appearance, and, more importantly, serves as a stimulus for protein synthesis.*
Up to six pounds of added body weight in the first few weeks
is commonly reported in those who begin creatine supplementation (a process
primarily accounted for by water moving rapidly from the bloodstream to the
IMPROVES ANAEROBIC CAPACITY*
In their impressive study, Ziegenfuss, and fellow
researchers demonstrated that creatine loading over just three days
significantly improved muscle volume and cycle sprint performance in elite
For this study, ten male and ten female athletes were
assigned to creatine or placebo groups, where, before and after the three-day
creatine supplementation period, they were assessed on repeated sprint
performance and thigh muscle volume - the creatine group was given 0.35 grams
of creatine per kilogram of fat-free mass, and all subjects completed six
maximal ten-second cycle sprints with 60 seconds of recovery in between.*
It was found that over the three-day period, creatine
subjects experienced increased total body mass of, on average, 0.9 kilograms, a
6.6% increase in high volume (in five of six creatine taking participants),
and increases in performance in all six sprints. Their anaerobic capacity
clearly had improved with the addition of creatine, compared to the control
subjects who took in only maltodextrin.*
In recent years creatine has been studied for its
post-exercise muscle regeneration properties. Findings have been very
promising. In 2004, Santos and colleagues studied the effects of creatine
supplementation on muscle cell damage in experienced endurance athletes running
a 30-kilometer race.
Closely monitoring several markers of cell damage
(including creatine kinase, lactate dehydrogenase, prostaglandin-E and tumor
necrosis factor-alpha) in their sample of 18 male athletes (who used 20 grams
of creatine monohydrate per day for five days, mixed with 60 grams of
maltodextrin), the researchers found levels of these markers were reduced
after the race, compared to 16 control subjects who took only the
They concluded that creatine supplementation somehow
reduced muscle cell damage and inflammation following the exhaustive exercise.
The researchers issued the following statement:*
It seems creatine also helps to promote complete recovery
from intense exercise. Another reason strength and endurance athletes may
benefit from its use.*
Creatine enhances the body's capacity to perform high
intensity work (and assists greater muscle size and performance gains as a
Creatine phosphate (creatines high energy molecule form,
stored within cells) is used to supply the type 11b muscle fibers (fast-twitch
high-glycolytic; the ones that get largest in size) with immediate energy,
ensuring these muscles do not prematurely fatigue.*
This strengthens the muscular contraction of these fibers, and
helps the athlete to pump out more reps, sprint at a faster rate, or engage
more forcefully in whatever sport or type of exercise, they take part in.
Supplementing with creatine allows the muscles to store more of this
high-energy molecule to provide greater gains in strength and muscle.*
Creatine used in this manner is regarded as a high-energy
phosphate and its role in energy production cannot be overstated. Whenever the
body uses energy, a molecule called ATP (adenosine with a tail of three
phosphate groups, hence its name Adenosine Tri-Phosphate) is used as an energy
source - as a fundamental energy donor.*
Under conditions of strenuous activity, ATP releases one of
these high-energy phosphate groups to power muscular contraction. Once this
phosphate has been released, ATP becomes ADP (Adenosine Di-Phosphate, a
de-energized form of ATP). To regenerate ATP and assist further energy
production - to complete additional reps for example - creatine becomes a key
As explained previously in this article, creatine's
erogenic actions work to assist energy production and power output, resulting
in muscle size and strength, and improved performance. Additionally, it has
been found creatine provides a powerful anabolic boost through its enhancing of
systemic methylation (the regulation of gene expression, protein synthesis and
RNA metabolism through enzymatic catalyzation) status.*
Indeed, methylation is a process that is essential for the
supporting of life itself. A molecule known as SAM (S-Adenosyl Methionine) is
the body's principal methyl donor, and a breakdown in its production can
adversely affect whole-body anabolism.
Creatine drains the body's SAM reserves like nothing else,
which, in turn, deleteriously impacts methylation status (during its
synthesisation by the liver and kidneys, creatine draws heavily from the SAM
reserves). Supplementing creatine will enhance methylation status, as it will
lessen the drain on the liver and kidneys, and alleviate the body's need to
synthesize creatine from amino acids.*
ENHANCES BRAIN FUNCTION*
Widely known for it muscle-building benefits, creatine, it
appears, has much more to offer than its ergogenic properties. Researchers Wyss
and Schulze looked at the broader health implications of creatine as they tried
to determine its value in treat[ing] several neurodegenerative, vascular and
Their findings, published in the prestigious Neuroscience,
showed creatine to be an extremely important neuroprotectant (an agent that
increases the survival of nerve cells to environmental insults).
Energy metabolism and the production of Reactive Oxygen
Species (very small molecules that can result in significant damage to cell
structures, which include oxygen ions, free radicals, and peroxides) are
thought to underpin many neurodegenerative disorders, and creatine is thought
to enhance the brains' ability to survive the metabolic and physical trauma
associated with these conditions.
It was found by Wyss and colleagues that those with
neurodegenerative disorders associated with creatine deficiencies (inborn
errors in creatine production and storage) may require supplemental creatine,
in order for it to be more effectively delivered to the central nervous system.
Additionally, Ray and colleagues found creatine to improve
brain function (specifically short-term memory) in normal subjects. In a placebo
controlled cross-over design study, 45 vegetarian and vegan subjects (chosen as
their intake of creatine was negligible) took five grams per day of creatine
for six weeks.
After this period, all subjects were assessed on non-verbal
intelligence and verbal memory capacity. It was found that subjects who took
creatine rather than the placebo exhibited improved short-term memory and were
better able to problem solve under time constraints. Significantly, the
IMPROVES BONE HEALING*
Gerbin and co-researchers at the Institute of cell biology
in Switzerland found creatine could be used successfully as an adjuvant therapy
for bone fracture healing or for the treatment of osteoporosis. Based on
their in-vivo study, they concluded that creatine significantly enhanced the activity of alkaline phosphate (ALP; an important marker for bone growth).
Cell energy (of which in their study on bone regeneration
creatine played a major role) is important for bone development and
maintenance, and therefore directly related to osteoporosis. Creatine, as we
know, enhances cellular energy production. The researchers linked this to bone
IMPROVES GLUCOSE TOLERANCE*
Creatine might assist with the combating of diabetes, as it
has been shown to improve glucose tolerance. Derave and co-researchers showed
that supplemental creatine increased glucose transporter (glut-4) expression
and muscle glycogen content while improving glucose tolerance in a previously
Since this study was conducted, it appears the reasons for
the improvements in glucose tolerance were due to the increased expression of
glucose transporter type 4. It seems the expression of this transporter was
actually induced by IGF-1 and IGF-2, which are induced by creatine.
MAY REDUCE SARCOPENIA (AGE RELATED MUSCLE LOSS)*
As we age there is a natural decline in the production of
muscle building (anabolic) hormones such as testosterone, growth hormone and insulin-like growth factors (IGF-1). As a result, there is a natural
tendency for those advancing in age to progressively lose muscle mass.
As mentioned, fast twitch fibers (the type that makes the bulk of our muscle size) respond well to supplemental creatine in the athletic
population. These fibers are also the first to be sacrificed by the effects of sarcopenia. The powerful anabolic hormone, IGF-1, has been shown to localize
in the fast twitch fibers and, significantly, this is the hormone most likely
to dwindle to a greater degree as we age.*
It follows that creatine supplementation into older
adulthood might negate the degenerative effects of age-related muscle wasting
as it enhances fast twitch muscle fiber integrity, and, in turn, should help to
maintain youthful levels of IGF-1.
Further research suggests advanced systemic methylation
(discussed earlier) resulting from creatine use might predispose the cell for
greater IGF-1 production. Which of these might prove to be the most efficient
means of reducing age-related muscle wasting is up for debate, but creatines
potential as a muscle preserver in the aging population cannot be denied.
Creatine has also been shown to improve isometric strength
in addition to body composition in older adults, provided a strength-training
program is run concurrently. In their double-blind study, Brose and
colleagues assigned 28 healthy men and women - over age 65 - to a 14 week
resistance training exercise program, during which these subjects trained three
days a week.
14 of these participants were given five grams of creatine
mixed with two grams of dextrose while the other 14 subjects received a placebo
of seven grams of dextrose. After the 14 weeks, the creatine group were found
to have experienced greater increases in fat-free mass and total body mass, in addition
to improvements in isometric knee extension strength.
This study helps to confirm the role creatine can play in
offsetting age-related muscle wasting, if combined with a strength training
IMPROVES PERFORMANCE & MUSCLE MASS STATUS IN VEGETARIANS*
Traditionally a group with lower creatine levels compared
to their meat-eating counterparts, vegetarians stand to miss out on the
benefits creatine supplies, unless of course, they supplement, it appears. It
was also thought that given vegetarians initial low creatine levels, they would
be more sensitive to its ergogenic effects.
Researcher Burke and his co-workers studied this proposal
when they compared the changes in muscle creatine, muscle fiber morphology,
body composition, hydration status, and exercise performance between
vegetarians and non-vegetarians over an eight-week resistance-training program,
in which, in a double-blind fashion, ten vegetarians took creatine and eight took
Additionally, 12 non-vegetarians took creatine with the
other 12 taking the placebo. The creatine-taking subjects initially loaded with
0.25 grams of creatine per kilogram of lean body mass for seven days, before
0.0625 grams over the subsequent 49-day period.
It was revealed that vegetarian subjects who took creatine
experienced a greater increase in total creatine, phosphocreatine, lean tissue,
and total work performance compared to the non-vegetarians who took creatine,
indicating vegetarians are more responsive to creatine supplementation.
Take Creatine Monohydrate
The general recommended dose of creatine monohydrate is
3g - 5g daily. There’s no general consensus on the best time of day to take
creatine. Many people mix creatine powder with other supplements they’re
already taking like whey protein. Creatine can also be mixed with warm water
(improves solubility), fruit juice or caffeine-free tea. It’s important to note
that creatine monohydrate should be prepared fresh when you need to take it. Do
not pre-mix you creatine powder ahead of time.
users often do a “loading phase” of taking 20 grams throughout the day for 5-7
days before moving a maintenance phase of 3-5 grams per day. Research has shown
this to increase the rate at which muscles become saturated. However, loading
is not necessary for creatine to exert its positive effect.
3-5 grams of creatine monohydrate with either your pre or post workout shake.
Should you choose to load, take 5 grams 4 times per day for 6 days followed by
3 to 5 grams per day, of course, after your doctor tells you your kidneys are good
No long term studies have been conducted on creatine monohydrate
so it’s generally recommended that you cycle it. An example of a creatine
monohydrate cycle might be 8 weeks on and 4 weeks off.
Taking more doesn't mean it’s going to work better. Once
your ATP pool is full, excess creatine is excreted (wasted) by the body. As
creatine draws water from the body into muscle cells it’s very important that
you drink adequate fluids when taking it.
Creatine usage is generally not recommended for people
under the age of 18. This is because of the lack of research of creatine
supplementation in teenagers.
There are many different kinds of creatine available. If
you look on the shelves of a supplement store, you will see creatine
monohydrate, creatine ethyl ester, creatine hydrochloride, creatine AKG and
others. The oldest form is creatine monohydrate, and it just so happens this version
has been the compound used in essentially all of the well-designed creatine studies.
For this reason, we recommend this form over the newer, non-research backed
forms. We have created a pharmaceutical grade product that has taken away the
possibility of toxins or impurities in the product. A Non-China Product,
which is where most of the Creatine in the U.S. is made.
of quick facts about Creatine:
- Creatine is not a steroid.
- Creatine does not damage the kidneys.
- Creatine has no significant side-effects.
are the potential side-effects of creatine:
- Dehydration, but you simply need to drink more water. You
don’t even need to drink a lot more water. Just a bit extra.
- Cramps, which stems from the dehydration, so water or a
sports drink with lots of electrolytes will take care of this.
- Weight gain, but this is water weight gain. You’re not
getting fat. If you ever stop taking creatine, the weight will go away.
- Diarrhea, this seems to be tied with dosage. Stick with the
5g dosage for maintenance and you should be fine.
LifeSource Vitamins Creatine Monohydrate Powder: 100% Pure:
One of the most heavily researched supplements in the history of sports
nutrition (over 200 studies to date, over the last decade), Creatines efficacy
cannot be denied.
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statements have been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to
diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. As always, consult your physician
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information contained throughout this website is based upon the opinion of the
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