Creatine Benefits *Usage and Effectiveness* 2019 Guide

Contents

Long-Term Creatine Intake Is Shown To Be Safe

The results on tests of athletes that have used creatine for up to three continuous years show this supplement causes no detrimental effects to the liver or kidneys. That’s the conclusion of a long-term study recently performed at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri.

Researchers at Truman State examined the effect of long-term creatine supplementation on the liver and kidney function of collegiate football players. Creatine supplementation was undertaken for an average of 2.9 +/- 1.8 years with supplementation dosages that ranged from 5 to 20-grams per day.

When venous blood samples were compared between the creatine treatment and control groups there were no differences found in any of the clinical markers typically used to determine impairments in liver and kidney function. Additionally, all measures determined for the creatine group fell within clinically normal ranges.

Athletes Can Tolerate Intense Training Better When Supplementing With Creatine

Creatine monohydrate’s muscle-building, performance-enhancing abilities just keep emerging from the research. This simple yet amazing protein molecule is shown by research to accelerate muscle growth and improve exercise training adaptations.

In fact, research now shows that creatine may enhance an athlete’s entire physiology so that they respond better to intense training programs.

A very interesting study from Ball State University evaluated the effects of creatine supplementation on physiological responses to an intense period of training.

Physiological Responses to an Intense Period of Training

In this study, 17 resistance-trained men were randomly assigned to ingest creatine or a placebo during two weeks of high volume (three sets of 8-12 max reps on eight exercises) and low volume (five sets of 3-5 max reps for five exercises) resistance training performed four days per week.

Resting hormone levels and metabolic markers of overreaching were obtained prior to and following each phase of training.

Results revealed that creatine supplementation helped maintain free testosterone and hemoglobin levels while these markers actually decreased in the non-creatine users.

Additionally, uric acid levels (a marker of protein breakdown) increased in the non-creatine group.

These findings suggest that creatine supplementation during intense training programs may actually help athletes tolerate training to a better extent, and this may explain how creatine supplementation improves training adaptations and total work capacity.

Creatine Increases Muscle Cell Volume To Create Gains In Lean Mass

Creatine monohydrate exploded onto the sports supplement market almost 10 years ago. It turned the athletic world upside-down because it was the first nutritional supplement shown to stimulate dramatic gains in strength and lean body mass. However, sports scientists were skeptical. They assumed these extraordinary gains in lean mass were simply due to water retention. Now, these assumptions have been proven wrong.

This is the second study to confirm that creatine supplementation accelerates the growth of muscle tissue by increasing muscle cell volume. Increasing a muscle’s cell volume (the amount of water inside the cell) is a well-documented, potent trigger of the mechanisms that build lean tissue.

Increase Muscle Cell Volume and Accelerate Gains in Muscle Mass

Research at Oklahoma University demonstrated that when athletes use creatine, it gets inside the muscle to increase muscle cell volume and accelerate gains in muscle mass.

Creatine draws water inside the cell and this triggers the synthesis of lean tissue. Scientists aren’t sure why this phenomenon occurs. However, when creatine is transported inside muscle cells, water follows. This increases muscle cell volume and shuts off catabolic (breakdown) processes while stimulating anabolism (growth).

Cell Volumizing

In this study, this “cell volumizing” property of creatine also produced a direct improvement in sports performance. The football players on creatine increased their strength, peak muscle torque, anaerobic power and capacity as well as built bigger muscles. Competitive athletes that don’t use creatine are missing out on some dramatic gains.

Supplementation Does Not Affect The Hormonal Response Of Weight Training Exercise

This study showed that creatine does not affect the body’s hormonal response from intense exercise.

Thanks to the media, there are many misconceptions about creatine monohydrate, particularly what creatine supplementation can and cannot do. The fact is, athletes that use creatine safely build more strength and muscle than those that do not.

Researchers in Belgium examined creatine’s effect on growth hormone, testosterone, and cortisol secretion after heavy resistance training. In a double-blind cross-over study, 11-healthy young male volunteers underwent a standard heavy resistance training session after a five-day loading phase with creatine (20-grams a day) and a placebo.

Blood was sampled before, immediately after, and 30 and 60-minutes after each training session.

No Significant Difference in Hormonal Response

Results showed there was no significant difference in hormonal response when the men took creatine or the sugar-based placebo. Serum growth hormone, testosterone and cortisol levels were all elevated by training and were not altered by creatine intake. It was concluded that short-term creatine supplementation does not alter hormone responses to heavy resistance training. Therefore, creatine must exert its tremendous muscle building effects via other, non-hormonal mechanisms.

Enhancing Glycogen Loading In Muscle

Glycogen loading is the high intake of carbohydrates after exhaustive exercise. Glycogen loading enhances performance in endurance events and ensures bodybuilders step on stage with full, rock-hard muscles. Even if you’re not a competitive bodybuilder/athlete, glycogen loading fills muscles with energy producing carbohydrates that increase your work capacity and enhance growth.

A couple of years ago, research showed muscle glycogen uptake is enhanced by creatine supplementation. This latest study demonstrates that creatine supplementation enhances glycogen synthesis in muscles when athletes attempt to glycogen load.

Creatine Supplementation Enhances Glycogen Synthesis in Muscles

In this clever study athletes performed two separate bouts of exhaustive, glycogen-depleting exercise in their right leg (the left leg was used as a comparative control), followed by three days of high carbohydrate intake in an attempt to load the muscles with glycogen. One of these bouts of carbohydrate depletion and loading phases was performed after a bout of high dose creatine supplementation.

The results of muscle biopsy fiber analysis demonstrated that muscles with a high creatine concentration (from supplementation) facilitate a more rapid glycogen accumulation. The creatine supplementation accelerated glycogen synthesis in muscles. When the athletes used creatine before they loaded, the result was a higher accumulation of muscle glycogen.

The researchers speculated that because creatine enhances muscle cell volume, this increased the transport/accumulation of glycogen within muscle. Enhanced glycogen accumulation is another example of creatine’s anabolic effects.

Intense Training Sessions Make Muscle Cells Highly Sensitive to Glucose and Carbohydrates

So the best time to consume carbohydrates and load your muscles with glycogen is right after training. The results of this study indicate that creatine acts synergistically with carbohydrates to accelerate glycogen synthesis and accumulation within muscle.

Enhanced Anabolic Effect

Bodybuilders can be real smart and add this information to the other recent finding of glutamine’s muscle glycogen stimulating effects and apply it to their nutrition program. Taking glutamine and creatine together after training will promote an enhanced anabolic effect within muscle by hyper-saturating cells with glycogen.

Take your creatine and glutamine with carbohydrates in the hours immediately after training. This will trigger an increase in muscle cell volume, a greater rate of protein synthesis, better recovery and faster results from those intense workouts.

Enhance Performance And Reduce Muscle Loss During Calorie Restriction

Sometimes athletes have to restrict their calorie intake to “make weight” for their sport or activity. However, restrictive dietary practices can lead to reduced performance and a loss of body protein (muscle).

Researchers at the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg have shown that weight training athletes who supplement with creatine can still increase muscle creatine levels and improve their performance while dieting.

This investigation examined the effects of creatine supplementation in athletes on a calorie restricted diet for four days. One group of eight athletes consumed 20 grams of creatine a day for four days while the other group of eight consumed a placebo (glucose) and a controlled formula diet (with reduced calories).

Exercise performance was assessed by a series of sprints, with 30 seconds rest before and after supplementation. Nitrogen balance and body composition were also assessed in these athletes as they continued to train with weights throughout the study.

Creatine Loading Improves Sprint Times In Runners

Scientists from the Department of Physiology at University of Bergen, Norway have demonstrated that creatine loading enabled sprinters to record faster times.

The study was performed as a single blind test on 18 sprinters. The participants consumed either 20 grams of creatine with 20 grams of glucose per day. Or 40 grams of glucose per day (9 sprinters in each group). The creatine loading was divided into 4 equal dosages during the day.

A Substantial Part of the Athlete’s Training

During the last two years a substantial part of the athlete’s training had consisted of a series of maximal sprints with short rest periods to improve their fatigue resistance. The effect of creatine on sprint performance was evaluated in two tests; 1 x 100 meter sprint and 6×60 meter intermittent sprints.

Creatine supplementation enabled the sprinters to significantly reduce their 100-meter sprint times from 11.68+/-0.27 seconds down to 11.59+/-0.31 seconds.

Enabled the Sprinters to Significantly Reduce Their 100-Meter Sprint Times

Also, the creatine supplemented sprinters reduced their total time of 6 intermittent 60 meter sprints (45.63+/-1.11 s vs. 45.12+/-1.1 seconds). Sprint velocities were significantly increased in 5 out of 6 intermittent 60 m sprints in the creatine using athletes, suggesting quicker, more efficient energy repletion and greater resistance to fatigue.

No improvements were observed in the placebo group.

This is just more evidence as to the effectiveness of this powerful supplement. Creatine increases the availability of energy substrates for performing work. Athletes that do it naturally should always include creatine in their nutritional arsenal to enhance performance.

However, remember results depend on your ability to absorb and assimilate the creatine. Quality and purity of the creatine supplement is essential.

Creatine Supplementation Directly Enhances Energy Re-Synthesis In Muscles

Two weeks of creatine supplementation at 21gm/day actually increased the amount of ATP (energy) formed in working muscle, at both high and low intensities.

Although there is a ton of research coming through on the benefits of creatine supplementation, it really has not been clearly demonstrated how or why these benefits occur, until now.

A team of researchers in Belgium used P-NMR (a member of the MRI family) to show that in the active working calf muscles of 14 male subjects, creatine supplementation directly increased resting Phospho-creatine levels (PCr). This directly enhanced the amount of ATP produced during the muscular work.

Responsible for Rebuilding Critical ATP Levels

In muscles PCr is directly responsible for rebuilding critical ATP levels and this increase in PCr stores (around 20%) significantly increased the amount of ATP synthesized during exercise. More ATP generated means greater capacity for work when you’re hitting those heavy weights.

The fact that oral creatine supplementation has been shown to increase PCr stores is important. It shows that creatine fits directly into the energy production spectrum. These increases in PCr also produced higher repletion of ATP during repeated muscle contractions. More ATP was regenerated faster.

A Powerful Ergogenic Effect

The researchers confirmed this means creatine supplementation exerts a powerful ergogenic effect via a direct increased rate of ATP synthesis in working muscle. Also important is the fact that these enhanced ATP levels were seen during both submaximal and high intensity work.

Upon examination of the study protocol, the researchers appeared not to specify consuming the creatine in a carbohydrate-based drink. This would have transported more creatine into muscle and generated an even more potent effect on energy re-synthesis.

Loading With Creatine Increases Power Out Put And Delays Muscular Fatigue

The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of creatine loading on the onset of neuromuscular fatigue in a group of 15 female college athletes.

Skin surface electromyographic (EMG) procedures on the vastus lateralis muscle were used to identify power output to fatigue. Seven (7) of the girls loaded with creatine (5gm + 20gm glucose 4 x per day) for 5 days.

The other 8 subjects loaded for the 5 days on a placebo (20gm of glucose). This was a well designed study. It was randomized and double blind. The researchers did not purposely select athletes that had not used creatine previously and had them abstain from using any supplement for 12 weeks before the study.

This was a good approach!

Average Power Output Was Greater

Results showed that the average “work capacity at fatigue threshold” was indeed higher for the creatine supplemented group than for the placebo group. Their group average power output was greater before fatigue and upon closer scrutiny of the data, the differences were also clearly seen individually.

Five (5) of the 7 creatine fed athletes increased their work capacity at fatigue threshold while only one increased in the placebo group. This shows this study was not a skewed by statistics.

It does appears creatine loading delays the onset of neuromuscular fatigue.

Supplementing With Creatine Makes Muscle Grow Bigger

There is a ton of data that demonstrates creatine’s effectiveness at increasing lean body weight, strength, and muscular performance. However, many experts claim the increases in lean body weight are probably due to just water retention. Well, it’s a little more than that.

An excellent study by weight training research guru William Kraemer and colleagues is the first to demonstrate creatine supplementation combined with an intense weight training program actually grows more muscle than training without creatine.

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of creatine supplementation in conjunction with 12 weeks of heavy resistance exercise training on performance, body composition, and muscle fiber growth.

All Muscle Fiber Types Not Just the Fast Twitch Fiber

The researchers actually examined the experienced lifters’ muscle fibers from muscle biopsies before and after the twelve weeks. Results showed the creatine supplemented group increased cross sectional area (size) of all muscle fiber types not just the fast twitch fibers that are thought to be the only fibers activated by heavy lifting.

These percentage increases were more than twice that observed in placebo subjects. The supplemented group’s strength also went through the roof. Increases in some lifts of 5kgs or more were seen in the first week and this astounded the researchers! The creatine group also increased the amount of reps per set.

Kreamer’s previous weight training studies always incorporated structured and intense programs. This study was no exception.

In fact, the researchers suggest the whole reason such dramatic results were seen was because the subjects were constantly pushed to increase the poundage and utilizing creatine while training like this actually enables accelerated muscle growth.

A Super Supplement For Vegetarian Athletes!

The results of a recent study suggest that creatine supplementation may provide vegetarians with even greater benefits than non-vegetarians during bodybuilding training.

Researchers at the Department of Human Kinetics at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Canada recently published the first study to compare the effects of creatine supplementation in vegetarians to non-vegetarian weight lifters. In this investigation, the creatine dose was calculated by weight and the dosage protocol was 20 grams a day for 7 days followed by 49 days of 5 grams a day (for a 176 pound participant).

Better Lean Mass Gains

Although all the weight lifters given creatine showed better lean mass gains, the vegetarians who supplemented with creatine experienced significantly greater increases in muscle creatine stores. The increase in muscle creatine concentrations resulted in greater gains in lean body mass, and total work performed during training.

Micronized creatine is an awesome supplement for any athlete. However, the results of this study suggest that vegetarian athletes may obtain the greatest benefits from this supplement during resistance training.

Alpha Lipic Acid (ALA) Makes Creatine Work Better

Micronized creatine is without a doubt, the most effective muscle building, performance enhancing supplement available today. Best of all, micronized creatine is also very safe and economical to use. Its one of very few compounds an athlete can use and feel an immediate impact on their performance.

The key to obtaining creatine’s powerful benefits is to get large amounts of creatine inside the muscle cell. However, this is easier said than done.

A dose of creatine passes in and out of the system very rapidly and leaves little change for uptake by muscle. Therefore, the job of increasing muscle creatine stores is more difficult than it sounds.

However, Canadian sports scientists have just confirmed that taking ALA (1000mgs per day) with creatine and glucose will increase creatine uptake by muscle.

Adding ALA to the creatine/glucose mix resulted in significantly greater concentrations of phosphocreatine and creatine in resting muscle after five days of supplementation.

ALA Should be Consumed Regularly Throughout the Day

The dose of glucose used in this research was 100-gms combined with 20-grams of creatine per day (taken in divided servings). ALA may help increase muscle creatine transport into cells. However, based on the results of this study, a high dose of ALA is needed and it should be consumed regularly throughout the day.

The participants in the study weighed 80kgs (on average). Therefore, I’d recommend one or two (200mg) capsules of ALA, four times a day if bodybuilders are attempting a loading phase with their Micronized creatine supplement.

Athletes Can Tolerate Intense Training Much Better When Supplementing

Creatine monohydrate’s muscle-building, performance-enhancing abilities just keep emerging from the research. This simple yet amazing protein molecule is shown by research to accelerate muscle growth and improve exercise training adaptations.

In fact, research now shows that creatine may enhance an athlete’s entire physiology so that they respond better to intense training programs.

Respond Better to Intense Training Programs

A very interesting study from Ball State University evaluated the effects of creatine supplementation on physiological responses to an intense period of training.

In this study, 17 resistance-trained men were randomly assigned to ingest creatine or a placebo during two weeks of high volume (three sets of 8-12 max reps on eight exercises) and low volume (five sets of 3-5 max reps for five exercises) resistance training performed four days per week.

Resting hormone levels and metabolic markers of overreaching were obtained prior to and following each phase of training.

Results revealed that creatine supplementation helped maintain free testosterone and hemoglobin levels while these markers actually decreased in the non-creatine users. Additionally, uric acid levels (a marker of protein breakdown) increased in the non-creatine group.

These findings suggest that creatine supplementation during intense training programs may actually help athletes tolerate training to a better extent, and this may explain how creatine supplementation improves training adaptations and total work capacity.

Creatine Increases Muscle Cell Volume To Create Gains In Lean Mass

Creatine monohydrate exploded onto the sports supplement market almost 10 years ago. It turned the athletic world upside-down because it was the first nutritional supplement shown to stimulate dramatic gains in strength and lean body mass.

However, sports scientists were skeptical. They assumed these extraordinary gains in lean mass were simply due to water retention. Now, these assumptions have been proven wrong.

Accelerates the Growth of Muscle Tissue by Increasing Muscle Cell Volume

This is the second study to confirm that creatine supplementation accelerates the growth of muscle tissue by increasing muscle cell volume. Increasing a muscle’s cell volume (the amount of water inside the cell) is a well-documented, potent trigger of the mechanisms that build lean tissue.

Research at Oklahoma University demonstrated that when athletes use creatine, it gets inside the muscle to increase muscle cell volume and accelerate gains in muscle mass.

Creatine draws water inside the cell and this triggers the synthesis of lean tissue. Scientists aren’t sure why this phenomenon occurs. However, when creatine is transported inside muscle cells, water follows.

Stimulating Anabolism

This increases muscle cell volume and shuts off catabolic (breakdown) processes while stimulating anabolism (growth).

In this study, this “cell volumizing” property of creatine also produced a direct improvement in sports performance. The football players on creatine increased their strength, peak muscle torque, anaerobic power and capacity as well as built bigger muscles. Competitive athletes that don’t use creatine are missing out on some dramatic gains.

Creatine- High Octane Fuel for Your Brain

Research from the Department of Neuropsychiatry, University of Tokyo has shown that creatine supplementation increases the ability to do calculations and helps you stay alert.

The study involved 19 men and 5 women with an average age of 24.

Fights Mental Fatigue

They supplemented with 8 grams of creatine or a placebo for 5 days. They were tested to determine mental fatigue before and after supplementation. Subjects were given numerical calculations to perform for 15 minutes. After a five-minute break another series of calculations were performed for 15 minutes.

Near infrared spectroscopy was used to determine changes in brain hemoglobin as a measure of mental fatigue.

The results of the study showed those taking creatine performed substantially better after 5 days of supplementation than at the beginning of the study. Those taking the placebo showed no change.

It appears creatine supplementation increases brain oxygen consumption.

Creatine Supplementation Does Not Cause Cramping

While there has been a lot of hearsay suggesting creatine supplementation causes muscle cramping, no documentation or evidence has appeared in science. This study was the first to determine if creatine supplementation actually caused a higher incidence of cramping in athletes. It also examined what would happen to performance while creatine was in the system and dehydration occurred.

Sixteen healthy males loaded on creatine (20grams a day) for 5 days then participated in several exercises sessions in a heat chamber of 75 minutes each in duration.

This protocol was specifically designed to dehydrate the athletes. The long workouts were broken up with 5 x 5 second maximal sprints to assess power output performance.

Dehydration

Creatine has previously been shown to enhance performance in these repeat-effort, power tests. However, as the athletes became dehydrated virtually no difference between the groups (creatine and placebo) in power performance was seen.

This result lead the researchers to suspect that dehydration probably overrules any possible benefits of creatine supplementation. The exercise protocol was so dehydrating that nearly all of the subjects endured muscle cramping.

The incidence of cramping was recorded and analysis of the data showed that there was no greater incidence of cramping in the athletes using creatine. Both the creatine and placebo groups cramped up equally as much. Leading the researchers to also conclude that creatine did not create a greater incidence of muscle cramping.

Creatine Supplementation Works For Women Too

Although a huge amount of studies have been conducted with men utilizing creatine, no research has been documented concerning the benefits of oral creatine supplementation during strength training in women athletes.

This study followed similar dosage protocols as the men; a loading phase of 20gms per day for the first week then 2gms per day there after. This study only went for 5 weeks, however this did not prevent the girls that used creatine to make some significant improvements in their upper body strength (bench press 1rep max) and body fat levels (skin fold tests).

Significant Improvements in Their Upper Body Strength

The girls using the creatine improved their strength and lost more body fat than the girls taking the placebo.

Body weight did not change between groups, indicating the girls may have also grown some muscle in only 5 weeks of training. Skin fold caliper and hydrostatic (underwater weighing were used to assess body composition.

In my opinion caliper testing is not good enough for university experimental protocols. However the readings in this case did correlate well with the hydrostatic (underwater weighing) method. Although this too is now being exposed as a rather inaccurate determinant of body composition because of its insensitivity and inaccuracy.

No differences between the groups in body fat were observed utilizing the hydrostatic strategy while a substantial decrease was observed applying skin fold caliper approach.

This is understandable, the leaner the athlete the more sensitive the caliper measure becomes and 5 weeks is too short a time for underwater weighing to pick up any subtle variation.

The key discovery with this research is that creatine supplements, utilizing quantity protocols recommended in literature for men will work equally well in women that are training with weights. Significant results were seen in upper body strength and a decrease in body fat in only 5 weeks.

May Decrease The Risk Of Heart Disease, Especially In Men

Creatine is essential to energy production and is usually made in the liver in a healthy person, from other amino acids. During this synthesis there is a large amount of “methyl group transfers”, this chemical reaction is thought to impair the efficiency of homocysteine disposal within the body. A build up of the chemical homocysteine (nothing to do with cysteine) within the body is really bad news. It is thought to contribute directly to heart disease.

Men always seem to be at higher risk of heart attack than women, men also possess higher levels of homocysteine. It is believed that the high rate of creatine synthesis in men is a major contributor to the higher levels of homocysteine.

An insightful medical paper presented by Dr. MF McCarty suggests that moderate, regular creatine intake would hinder regular creatine synthesis, and thus limit the main production process of homocysteine.

Creatine supplementation would block the chemical pathway that produces lots of homocysteine, lowering the risk of heart disease. Low levels of homocysteine mean a greatly reduced risk of fatty tissue build up within the heart and prevention of heart disease.

Thus, it may appear that creatine supplementation is a practical strategy for decreasing homocysteine levels and decreasing the risk of heart disease, especially in men. This is just another one of many imerging aspects from research on the health benefits of creatine supplementation. And you thought creatine only made big muscles!

Independent Tests Reveal Liquid Creatine Contains No Creatine

Recent, independent tests on many of the novel creatine supplements reveal they fail dismally to deliver results. In an independent assessment, supplements such as liquid, effervescent and chewable creatine were shown to contain minute amounts of creatine or no creatine at all!

Tests were conducted on 22 muscle-enhancing supplements. They found no problems among creatine-powder products.

However, the liquid creatine products were found to contain less than 1% of their label claims for creatine. One chewable wafer product was found to contain less than 10% of its label claim for creatine.

The liquid creatine products tested contained virtually no creatine and were contaminated with a creatine breakdown compound (creatinine). Just remember, the marketers of liquid creatine products all claim 100% stable, pure creatine.

These tests, conducted at an independent facility revealed that liquid creatine contains no creatine! The two liquid creatine products tested actually contained more creatinine than creatine!

When creatine is metabolized in the body, it creates the waste product creatinine which is normally removed from the body by the kidneys. Creatinine also appears in impure creatine supplements as a result of improper manufacturing or breakdown of the creatine.

Creatine sold in liquid form breaks down within the product into creatinine. Creatinine is useless and must be eliminated through the kidneys.

These results on liquid creatine come hot on the heels of a study performed by highly respected scientists Richard Krieder and Darryn Willoughby that revealed participants using 8 times the prescribed dose of one liquid creatine product failed to increase muscle creatine levels any better than a placebo that contained only colored water.

Several studies have revealed that liquid creatine products not only fail to meet label claims for creatine content, most of them contain no creatine at all! If you want to pay big bucks for small bottles of colored water, that’s your choice.

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Creatine Benefits *Usage and Effectiveness* 2019 Guide
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Creatine Benefits *Usage and Effectiveness* 2019 Guide
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The benefits of creatine for muscle building and strength report. Learn how to use creatine for maximum effectiveness.
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Flat Iron Body
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