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   Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine 1 - Creatine Monohydrate
Creatine 2 - Creatine Effects
Creatine 3 - Types of Creatine
Creatine 4 - Using Creatine
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Best Creatine Supplements - 3
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Creatine Monohydrate Effects

What are the Effects of Creatine Supplements? (2)

In part 1 we discuss some basics of creatine and how it works. In this second part, we'll take a look at the many benefits of creatine, and its use in various spots. The effects and benefits of creatine is well known, and well researched and documented. The application of creatine supplements is used in a wide range of sports to improve performance, and there are many studies that have demonstrated the beneficial effects of creatine in a wide range of sports activities. Please see below:

  • Creatine supplement helps prolong the time at which maximal rate of power output could be maintained for running and jumping [1]
  • Creatine is found to helps improve endurance and anaerobic performance in elite rowers [2]
  • Creatine supplementation enhances dynamic strength and improves performance in consecutive maximal swims in highly trained swimmers [3]
  • Creatine improved performance in maximal isokinetic cycling by improving ATP resynthesis leading to increased availability of phosphocreatine [4]
  • Creatine improved performance in repeated jump height exercises [5]
  • One week of creatine supplementation enhances muscular performance in repeated sets of bench press and jump squats [6]
  • Creatine supplementation resulted in increased bench press repetitions, increased body mass, and decreased body fat percent in soldiers [7]
  • Creatine combined with strength training increases satellite cell number in human skeletal muscle fibres, and allows for enhanced muscle fibre growth in response to strength training [8]
  • Creatine supplementation results in total body weight gain; however, a part of the weight gain is due to water retention [9]
  • 12 weeks of resistance training and creatine use helped increase bone mineral content and enhanced muscle mass in older individuals [10]

Does Creatine Work for Sports?

Because of creatine's well known ability to improve performance, it's effects on physical performance has been widely studied in many different sports such as swimming, running, cycling, rowing, and bodybuilding. Because creatine helps to replenish ATP (by resynthesizing ADP into ATP), it would make sense that using creatine would help prolong the power output during various physical activities, and this is what many studies have confirmed.

An Italian study supplemented the participants with 20g of creatine for 5 days, and measured their performance on 45 seconds of maximal continuous jumping and all-out treadmill running. Compared to the placebo group, the creatine supplemented group improved their jumping test performance by 7% in the first 15 seconds and by 12% during the second 15 seconds of the test. However, the positive effects was not observed in the last 15 seconds of the jumping exercise. The time of running to exhaustion on the treadmill also improved by 13%.[1] These results suggest that creatine helps prolongs the time at which you can maintain your maximal power output at.

Another Polish study involving elite rowers also had similar findings.  16 males elite rowers consumed 20g of creatine for 5 days and performed exercises on the rowing machine. The results found that creatine supplements improved endurance in the athletes and also improved their anaerobic performance. [2]

The results of these studies are what you would expect from creatine monohydrate. By having more creatine readily available in your body, your body is able to generate additional ATP to fuel the muscle contractions.

Creatine has also been found to help enhance performance in swimmers as well. In another creatine study, 16 male swimmers with average age of 15.9years supplemented 20g creatine daily for 5 days. After 5 days, continuous rebound jumps increased by 20.2%. Swimming time was also significantly reduced for the creatine group (before creatine: 50.69+/-1.41 s; after creatine: 48.86+/-1.34 s), while the time was unchanged for the placebo group. [3] Creatine supplementation enhances dynamic strength and improved the performance of maximal swims in the swimmers.

Much of these performance improvements can be attributed to creatine's ability to resynthesize ATP, thus increasing the overall amount of ATP available. Studies have confirmed that supplementing 20g of creatine monohydrate for 5 days results in increased total muscle creatine, and at the same time reduces the loss of ATP by 30.7%. [4] Studies have also found that phosphocreatine increases in both type I and type II fibers, and the increase in available phosphocreatine in type I and II fibers leads to increase in ATP resynthesis enhancing performance.

Creatine Monohydrate and Bodybuilding

As we have highlighted above, creatine has many benefits for all types of sports, and much of these beneficial effects have been confirmed in clinical studies. Now we'll discuss some specifics about creatine and its use in bodybuilding and weight training. There's probably no other sport than bodybuilding and weight lifting where creatine plays such a prominent role in sports nutrition and supplementation. Because bodybuilding involves performing short bouts of repeated high intensity exercises to stimulate muscle growth, creatine's ability to resynthesize ATP really becomes a major contributor to maintaining maximal muscle contraction and allowing the user to maintain the maximum power output for just a several extra seconds allowing them to perform one or two extra repetitions using the same weight, or same number of reps with a slightly heavier weight.

The effects of creatine monohydrate on muscular performance was examined in a Pennsylvania State University study. 14 male subjects were given either 25g of creatine or a placebo. The subjects performed bench press (5 sets to failure) and a jump squat exercise. The creatine supplement group experienced significant improvement in peak power output in jump squats and increase in repetitions in bench press. The creatine group also had a 1.4kg increase in body mass. [6] However, it is worth noting that the increase in body mass is probably not all pure muscle mass, but rather, a portion of that weight gain is a result from water retention - one of the effects of creatine.  Creatine supplementation results in increase in total body weight, and also increase in body water content, and part of the weight gain from creatine supplements is due to water retention. [9]

Not only does creatine allow you to train harder, it also enhances muscle fibre growth in response to the strength training. A Denmark study with 32 male subjects studied the effects of creatine on satellite cells and myonuclei in skeletal muscle. The subjects were given either a placebo, creatine, or protein. Muscle biopsies and satellite cells were taken a 0, 4, and 8 weeks. The researchers found the creatine group had significantly greater increase in satellite cells at week 4 and week 8 compared to other groups. This study results have shown that creatine amplified training-induced increase in satellite cells and it also helps to enhance muscle fibre growth in response to strength training. [8]

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Part 3: Types of Creatine Powders >>
Part 4: Using Creatine and Loading >>

<< Part 1: Creatine Monohydrate


1. Int J Sports Med. 1997 Jul;18(5):369-72.
Effect of oral creatine supplementation on jumping and running performance.
Bosco C, Tihanyi J, Pucspk J, Kovacs I, Gabossy A, Colli R, Pulvirenti G, Tranquilli C, Foti C, Viru M, Viru A.

2. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2003 Jun;13(2):173-83.
Effect of creatine supplementation on aerobic performance and anaerobic capacity in elite rowers in the course of endurance training.
Chwalbiñska-Moneta J.

3. Acta Physiol Hung. 2009 Sep;96(3):325-36.
Creatine supplementation improves the anaerobic performance of elite junior fin swimmers.
Juhász I, Györe I, Csende Z, Rácz L, Tihanyi J.

4. Am J Physiol. 1996 Jul;271(1 Pt 1):E31-7.
Creatine ingestion favorably affects performance and muscle metabolism during maximal exercise in humans.
Casey A, Constantin-Teodosiu D, Howell S, Hultman E, Greenhaff PL.

5. J Strength Cond Res. 2008 Jul;22(4):1081-6.
Comparison of creatine monohydrate and carbohydrate supplementation on repeated jump height performance.
Koenig CA, Benardot D, Cody M, Thompson WR.

6. J Am Diet Assoc. 1997 Jul;97(7):765-70.
Creatine supplementation enhances muscular performance during high-intensity resistance exercise.
Volek JS, Kraemer WJ, Bush JA, Boetes M, Incledon T, Clark KL, Lynch JM.

7. J Strength Cond Res. 2002 Nov;16(4):500-8.
The effect of creatine monohydrate supplementation on obstacle course and multiple bench press performance.
Warber JP, Tharion WJ, Patton JF, Champagne CM, Mitotti P, Lieberman HR.

8. J Physiol. 2006 Jun 1;573(Pt 2):525-34. Epub 2006 Mar 31.
Creatine supplementation augments the increase in satellite cell and myonuclei number in human skeletal muscle induced by strength training.
Olsen S, Aagaard P, Kadi F, Tufekovic G, Verney J, Olesen JL, Suetta C, Kjaer M.

9. J Strength Cond Res. 2003 Nov;17(4):817-21.
Creatine monohydrate supplementation on body weight and percent body fat.
Kutz MR, Gunter MJ.

10. J Nutr Health Aging. 2005 Sep-Oct;9(5):352-3.
Creatine monohydrate and resistance training increase bone mineral content and density in older men.
Chilibeck PD, Chrusch MJ, Chad KE, Shawn Davison K, Burke DG.


Mar 2010