Creatine monohydrate is a body building supplement. Many athletes and trainers use it to enhance athletic performance. College athletics are an advocate for creatine when it comes to exercising and strength conditioning, But what is creatine? Creatine is a naturally occurring metabolite found in red muscle tissue. It is a powerful ergogenic aid that plays an important role in energizing muscle.
Creatine increases the body's ability to do work. It is high powered and generates the muscles ultimate energy source - ATP (adenosine triphosphate)- ATP produces the contractions of a muscle's proteins. When muscles are performing work ATP is being broken down into ADP (adenosine diphosphate) and energy is given off. The ATP being used usually lasts 10 - 15 seconds. After that the muscle depends on creatine phosphate to restock the ATP. Creatine acts as a reserve for the ATP. Therefore increased amounts of creatine will allow the body to supply ATP at a faster rate. Which, in turn allows an individual to workout longer and maintain a high level of strength. With creatine as a supple)-nent the body is exposed 4 grams of creatine per kilogram. Red meats give 1 gram of creatine per large serving.
These increased amounts of creatine slow the possibility of fatigue. Creatine promotes the synthesis of protein, which promotes muscle growth. The loading phase consists of 5 grams 4 - 6 times a day for the first 5 to 7 days. 'f his should be accompanied by at least I hour of exercise. The load should then be reduced after a week to no more than IO grams per day. This is what most of the stores that sell the creatine will tell vou because there aim is to sell the product. Since the product has been proven to work many people are going to follow the routine, when in fact loading is not necessary. The loading is done in the first phase so that by the time one finds out that loading isn't necessary it's too late.
The Journal of Applied Physiology published a study to determine the importance of a loading phase of creatine. In the study four separate groups were used and each group was given a different amount of creatine. The study lasted 28 days and the muscle creatine levels were tested. The four doses went like this: Group I - 20 grams for six days and nothing; Group 2 ---20 grams for six days then 2 grams per day; Group 3 -- '3 grams per day for 28 days; Group 4 was given a placebo. After 28 days, muscle biopsies were taken and groups 2 and 3 proved that loading was not necessary to achieve results from creatine. Groups 2 and 3 showed the same amounts of creatine increases. The exercise that was used was not presented in Joe Wieder's article.
There have also been other studies conducted on creatine. One of the better ones was by a group of students out in Texas. The effects of creatine on muscle power and strength indices of ten subjects, all male, were tested. The amounts of creatine were not given but more than likely each subject was given the same amount. The training that was used consisted of 3 consecutive 30 second Wingate bike tests with 5 minutes rest in between, and a bench press workout. For each individual a one rep max for the bench press was taken then sets were performed at 70% of the one rep max. Eight subjects completed the experiment. Their average ages in the creatine group was 29.5 years + 3.6years. The age in the placebo group was 31.8 years old + 2.2. Body fat levels in the creatine group were 10. 1% + 3,7%, and the other group was 9.4% + 4.6. In the beginning 5 subjects were supplemented with creatine and the others received a placebo, but as you know only eight people finished the experiment, luckily one person dropped from each group. There was a 14-day grace period for the supplements to have an effect. At this time the subjects were tested again on the bike. The weight lifting tests were retaken after 28 days.
The post-test trials in the creatine groups were significantly higher than in the placebo group. In the bicycle test there was a 5% increase in the anaerobic output for the creatine-supplemented group and no increase3 for the placebo group. The difference came in the creatine group's ability to reach and sustain higher levels of anaerobic power consistently throughout each 5-second time interval. Statistical evidence was taken every 5 seconds during each trial and they proved that the creatine allows an individual to maintain a lot longer.
Creatine also made a difference in the subjects' ability to do
repetitions on the bench press, Their ability to perform 26% more repetitions
increased the creatine groups one rep max 6%. There was a slight
decrease in the placebo group, probably due to fatigue. When the
results were corrected for body weight the data showed no differences due
to the fact that creatine adds mass also. The participants in the
creatine group added an average of 1.7 kg, and 1.6 kg in fat free mass;
there weren't any notable differences in the placebo group. There
also were no significant differences in dealing with body fat. Creatine
is not prone to add fat unless one is not working out and taking advantage
of its affects because it will add mass or weight.
The increases in work output that the creatine groups observed were very consistent with their increases in stored levels of phosphocreatine in the muscles. The increased levels of creatine allowed for a faster recovery time for the muscles and in turn more endurance. It is not clear as to why there are such gains in body weight though. These tests and trials proved that creatine is effective in strength training and it also demonstrates its effectiveness in adding muscle.
Below is a table presentine the values and results for the trials.
Anaerobic indices Pre Post Pre Post
Creatine has different effects on each individual person. Some people will use it and see effects within a week, others will use this and it will take a longer period of time to see results. There is no determination of how the product will affect a person. The bottom line is the results though, creatine works. A 500-gram container will cost a person around $35 - $40 and it only lasts two and a half to three weeks with loading. Without loading the creatine should last about a month, this is your best bet because it has been proved that loading is not necessary.
While creatine is being taken it is necessary that the individual remains hydrated during the early cycles extra water is taken into the cells when creatine enters and this causes minor water retention- This water retention has been related to cramps and heat intolerance.
The majority of the advocates for creatine didn't report any side effects.
In most instances when the question was raised, the articles said, "Yes,
it's safe. No negative side effects noted in research with recommended
levels of supplement." All of these people were involved with sales and
advertisement of the product also. An article on a review of creatine
was the most effective in providing insight on creatine because it didn't
have anything to do with promotions of it. Creatine is safe, it is
pure and it works!
Psychology DepartmentThe Health Psychology Home Page is produced and maintained by David Schlundt, PhD.
Vanderbilt Homepage | Introduction to Vanderbilt | Admissions | Colleges & Schools | Research Centers | News & Media Information | People at Vanderbilt | Libraries | Administrative Departments | Medical
|Return to the Health Psychology Home Page|
|Send E-mail comments or questions to Dr. Schlundt|