Creatine Monohydrate

(Known as Creatine, Creatine Monohydrate)

tickCreatine based product
tickMuscle Builder
tickStrength enhancer
tickAids recovery
tickBoosts energy
tickPart of the Amino Acid group
How does it work?
Creatine (creatine monohydrate) is used in muscle tissue for the production of phosphocreatine, an important factor in the formation of ATP, the source of energy for muscle contraction and many other functions in the body. Creatine supplements have become increasingly popular with people wanting rapid gains in muscle size and strength.
Who is it used for?
Anyone seeking muscle size, strength and power will benefit from Creatine. Athletes involved in strength- and power-based sports, bodybuilders and regular gym users are likely to notice significant gains in both muscular size and performance. Studies also show that Creatine enhances performance during endurance exercise, such as long-distance running or football. People involved in intense physical activity, especially those limiting their intake of red meat, may have low muscle stores of creatine, which means they will benefit greatly from supplementation.
How does it work?
Creatine is a substance found naturally in your body. Every time you perform any type of intense exercise (such as sprinting, or training with weights), your body uses Creatine to provide your body with energy. Unfortunately, creatine stores only last for a maximum of around 10 seconds. That's why you can't sprint "all-out" for very long - your creatine stores become depleted.

You'll find Creatine in many animal foods, such as salmon, tuna and beef. Although it is possible to get Creatine from your diet, it would be almost impossible to get enough to have any effect on performance. The Creatine in food can also be "damaged" by cooking. It's because of this that many athletes rely on Creatine supplements to provide them with a competitive edge.

Creatine supplementation has been shown in a number of studies to enhance maximal strength [2], improve sporting performance in soccer players [1], and accelerate gains in lean muscle mass [2]. For example, test subjects given Creatine for 12 weeks in combination with a weight-training programme gained 24% and 32% more strength in the bench press and squat, respectively. What's more, they also gained twice as much lean muscle, despite the fact they did no extra training [3]. These kind of results are typical for most people using Creatine. A study published in the prestigious journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise showed that just five days after using 20 grams of Creatine daily, test subjects gained an impressive 3.1 pounds of lean muscle [4].

Creatine can also improve the performance of middle distance runners. Scientists at Belgium's Katholieke University report that elite cyclists performed 9% better during exercise lasting more than two hours after using creatine [7]. There is also strong evidence that Creatine enhances performance in footballers [8]. The research team from Spain examined a group of 19 national level players from Athletic Club de Bilbao, one of Europe's leading footballing sides. The players were divided into two groups. Group one was given Creatine for six days. Group two received a dummy supplement that had no effect. The players were then asked to perform a series of tests. These included a number of sprinting and jumping drills that closely matched the demands of a match. The group who used Creatine were consistently able to outperform the non-Creatine users during both 5- and 15-metre sprints.

Creatine has also been shown to reverse the decline in muscle function that can occur after the age of 30 years. By the time many people reach old age, normal everyday activities become challenges requiring maximum effort. In relative terms, tasks such as putting shopping on the kitchen table, or walking up a flight of stairs becomes the equivalent of a maximum effort dumbbell curl, or a 200-metre sprint for a top athlete! Recognition of these facts prompted several research groups to investigate the effects of creatine supplements in older people. Their findings in the elderly were the same as those in athletes. Creatine supplementation improved strength, muscle power and increased lean body mass, reversing many of the effects of ageing.

When Creatine was first introduced to the market, it was expensive. As more people started buying it and more companies began selling it, prices were forced down. A few manufacturers found ways to cut costs by buying cheap foreign (often Chinese sourced Creatine), with purity that was less than desirable. Recent tests have highlighted the fact that many popular brands of Creatine contain large amounts of impurities, specifically Creatinine, Dicyandiamide, and Dihydrotriazine. This is due to the use of cheap, industrial-grade raw materials used in the manufacturing of Creatine.

In small amounts, these substances pose no safety risk. However, recent tests from University College Chichester have revealed that many well-known brands of Creatine supplements contain large amounts of these contaminants. Reputable supplement companies should be able to provide a certificate of analysis for each batch of Creatine you buy.
How do I use it?
To load with Creatine, 20 grams per day (in four divided amounts mixed well in liquid) are taken for five to six days. Muscle creatine levels increase rapidly, which is beneficial if a short-term gain in strength and size is needed. To maintain muscle creatine levels after this loading period, 5-20 grams per day is effective.
What results can I expect?
Creatine leads to rapid weight gain. Most users gain several pounds in weight after just 5-6 days. Most controlled studies show that 20 grams per day of creatine monohydrate taken for five to six days improves performance and delays muscle fatigue during short-duration, high-intensity exercise such as sprinting or weight lifting. In a 12-week trial by Jeff Volek and a research team from Pennsylvania State University, creatine users ended up stronger in both the squat and bench press compared with subjects using a "dummy" supplement. They also gained twice as much muscle [3].

What can it be combined with?
Taking creatine with 20-50 grams of carbohydrate (such as dextrose) is necessary to maximise muscle uptake [5, 6]. This raises insulin levels, force-feeding Creatine into the muscle for quicker and more effective results. Nutrients such as D-pinitol and chelated magnesium (US Patent # 6,114,379) both increase Creatine uptake, thus reducing the need for large amounts of carbohydrate. Some experts also believe that Creatine absorption and uptake can be improved by combining it with a blend of highly-alkaline phosphates. A highly acidic environment (such as the stomach) can increase the conversion of Creatine into Creatinine, instantly destroying any beneficial results. Combining Creatine with phosphates eliminates this problem.

1. Mujika, I., Padilla, S., Ibanez, J., Izquierdo, M., & Gorostiaga, E. (2000). Creatine supplementation and sprint performance in soccer players. Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise, 32, 518-525
2. Vandenberghe, K., Goris, M., Van Hecke, P., Van Leemputte, M., Vangerven, L., & Hespel, P. (1997). Long-term creatine intake is beneficial to muscle performance during resistance training. Journal of Applied Physiology, 83, 2055-2063
3. Volek J.S., Duncan, N.D., Mazzetti, S.A., Staron, R.S., Putukian, M., Gomez, A.L, Pearson, D.R, Fink, W.J., & Kraemer WJ. (1999). Performance and muscle fiber adaptations to creatine supplementation and heavy resistance training. Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise, 31, 1147-1156
4. Mihic, S., MacDonald, J.R., McKenzie, S., & Tarnopolsky, M.A. (2000). Acute creatine loading increase fat-free mass, but does not affect blood pressure, plasma creatinine, or CK activity in men and women. Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise, 32, 291-296
5. Becque MD, Lochmann JD, Melrose DR. (2000). Effects of oral creatine supplementation on muscular strength and body composition. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 32, 654-658
6. Greenhaff, P.L. (1995). Creatine and its application as an ergogenic aid. International Journal of Sports Nutrition, 5, 94-101
7. Preen, D., Dawson, B., Goodman, C., Lawrence, S., & Beilby, J. (2001). Effect of creatine loading on long-term sprint exercise performance and metabolism. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 33, 814-821
8. Mujika, I., Padilla, S., Ibanez, J., Izquierdo, M., & Gorostiaga, E. (2000). Creatine supplementation and sprint performance in soccer players. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 32, 518-525

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