Creatine Monohydrate Facts:
The History of Creatine: In 1832 the French scientist Chevreul discovered a new ingredient of meat to which he gave the name Creatine, according to the source from which it was extracted (Kreas: Greek for flesh). The German scientist Justus von Liebig confirmed that Creatine is a regular constituent of flesh. Creatine levels in wild animals were 10 times higher compared to captive animals suggesting that physical activity might have an influence on the amount of Creatine present in flesh. A meat extract (Liebigs Fleischextrakt) was the only source for Creatine supplementation over the next century.
Anecdotal reports in the early 1990’s suggested that Creatine supplementation might improve sport performance. British track and field 1992 Olympic champions Linford Christie (100 m dash) and Sally Gunnell (400 m hurdles) reportedly used Creatine, as did the Cambridge University rowing team in training for three months before defeating the heavily favored Oxford (1). Numerous controlled clinical trials followed in the upcoming years proving the benefits of Creatine supplementation in different sports.
Many celebrated professional athletes and Olympic champions acknowledge Creatine use and estimated 80% of the athletes at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta used Creatine. Mark McGwire, one of major league baseball’s greatest sluggers, used Creatine during the 1998 season and his legendary race to set the single season home run record, making Creatine the most popular sports nutrition in the US. Creatine supplementation has become a common practice among professional, elite, collegiate and amateur athletes to enhance exercise performance.
Today, Creatine is one of the best-studied supplements in the field of sports nutrition and its proven efficacy as an ergogenic substance was reviewed and accepted by numerous authorities.
Are there other benefits of Creatine besides sports performance?
• Improves strength and fitness in daily activities in the elderly
• Speeds up recovery after times of immobility
• Creatine improves mental performance
• Creatine has direct antioxidant properties
• Creatine has neuroprotective effects
Are there quality differences in different Creatine products? Yes there are. Creatine products with more than 5% impurities have been found on the market. The reaction conditions as well as the treatment of the crude Creatine Monohydrate are crucial for the quality of the product. Inferior starting materials or reducing the amount of water during "recrystallization" results in increased amounts of impurities (such as Dicyandiamide (dimerization product of Cyanamide), Creatinine (Cyclization product of Creatine) and Dihydrotriazines). Worldwide authorities warn about potential health risks resulting from the presence impurities in Dietary Supplements and in Creatine Monohydrate products. Pfanstiehl creatine and Creapure have a very strict specification on potential impurities in Creatine Monohydrate.
What is the common daily dosage for Creatine? A high-dose loading phase of 20 g (4 times 5 g) Creatine Monohydrate per day for 5 days followed by a maintenance phase of 2 to 5 g (once daily) per day is common for athletes. Based on body weight, 0.3 g Creatine Monohydrate per kg body mass per day as a loading phase and 0.03 g Creatine Monohydrate per kg body mass per day as a maintenance phase are suggested. Alternatively a low-dose long-term usage will result in the same muscle Creatine levels (3g for 28 days). Taking larger amounts of Creatine for more than 5 days does not result in significantly higher levels and is therefore unnecessary.
What is the best form of administration? Can I simply stir Creatine in my favorite sports drink? Yes, you can. Dissolve creatine completely in liquids such as water, fruit juice or tea. 5 g can easily be dissolved in 500 mL of water at room temperature or in a cup (app. 200 ml) of hot tea. Please prepare beverages fresh and consume within the same day.
Are there any beneficial effects of taking Creatine with Glucose or Protein? Creatine retention can be augmented when Creatine is consumed along with simple carbohydrates, such as Glucose, compared to Creatine alone. This increased Creatine absorption has been attributed to insulin mediated stimulation of the Creatine transporter. However, large amounts of carbohydrate (~100 g) or combinations of carbohydrate (47 g) and Protein (50 g) are necessary to significantly improve Creatine uptake. These large doses of carbohydrate are difficult to palate and potentially hazardous to diabetics or those with glucose intolerance. A recent study suggests that adding alpha-Lipoic Acid can reduce the amount of Carbohydrates needed. 25 g Dextrose and alpha-Lipoic Acid (250 mg) resulted in greater muscle Creatine accumulation than Creatine intake alone, or Creatine plus 25 g Dextrose.
Is Creatine stable in water? Contrary to what many companies will tell you, Creatine is not stable in aqueous solution due to a degradation into Creatinine. The speed of degradation is:
• dependant on the pH (the lower the pH the faster the degradation)
• dependant on the temperature (the higher the temperature the faster the degradation)
I have heard that creatine should not be consumed together with coffee; what about coke or ice tea ? Try to avoid taking high amounts of Caffeine with Creatine. Simultaneous supplementation of large amounts of Caffeine (5 mg per kg body weight per day) eliminates the ergogenic effects of Creatine by interfering with the resynthesis of Phosphocreatine. Lower amounts of Caffeine (e.g. 1-2 cups of Coffee) seem not to influence the efficacy of Creatine.
Is Creatine safe? Numerous animal and human trials have proven the safety of Creatine supplementation. Besides the classic toxicology, Creatine was tested in more than 50 clinical trials. People of all ages (from several months up to age 70+) in sports and non-sports applications, over periods of more than 21 months used Creatine without any unwanted side effects.
I heard a rumor that Creatine was associated with the death of three Wrestlers in 1997. Is it true? Creatine was not involved in the deaths of those wrestlers. Heightened attention developed with reported suspicions that one of three wrestlers who died suddenly in the winter of 1997 of heat exhaustion, dehydration and/or heart failure after intense workouts in a hot environment, in an attempt to lose weight rapidly, may have used Creatine (Associated Press December 19th, 1997, Muscle building supplement to be investigated in wrestlers’ deaths). The FDA issued a report containing the conclusion that Creatine had been ruled out as a primary factor in the death of these wrestlers (Associated Press April 30th,1998, FDA rejects Creatine role in deaths).
Is there any doping test risk for athletes, in Olympic tests for example? No. Creatine is considered as food by the IOC. The Creatine content in the muscle is limited and can only be increased up to certain amount. An athlete can increase his or her Creatine muscle content through regular diet (e.g. high-meat or high-fish diets).
I read a publication that numerous Dietary Supplements contain illegal substances. How can I avoid Creatine supplements with impurities like banned steroids or hormones? Nutrabio.com ensures that our raw material do not contain any illegal (doping) substances deriving from the Creatine synthesis. A certificate of analysis guaranteeing that no doping agents are present in your product is available upon request. Every serious company will be happy to provide you with such a certificate.
Does Creatine improve performance in athletes? The effects of Creatine supplementation were studied in people with different training background and athletic abilities, from competitive college athletes to relatively untrained beginners. Creatine supplementation significantly increases performance in a variety of sports such as sprinting, repeated jumping, swimming, kayaking/rowing, resistance exercise or cycling. Short-term Creatine supplementation improves, for example, maximal strength/power (5-15%), work performed during sets of maximum efforts (5-20%), power production during short sprints (app. 30%) and work performed during repetitive sprints (5-15%). Creatine supplementation is common amongst bodybuilders, power lifters, wrestlers, rowers, cyclists, mountain bikers, tennis players, skiers, or players in American football, soccer, rugby, basketball, ice hockey, volleyball or handball teams as well as track and field athletes (sprinter, shot put, javelin, discus).
How does Creatine improve performance? Different mechanisms are involved in the ergogenic effects of creatine supplementation which include:
• Higher Phosphocreatine concentrations serving as an immediate buffer to ATP during exercise.
• Increased Phosphocreatine re-synthesis rate during and after exercise due to increased levels of free Creatine.
• Smaller decrease in muscle pH during exercise.
• Enhanced training load.
• Increasing muscle mass (absolute power output).
Tempus fugit, Carpe diem.