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What is it?

Creatine is a non-protein amino acid compound found mainly in red meat and seafood (1). Our bodies produce creatine at 1g/day in the liver, kidneys and to a lesser extent in the pancreas. Our bodies can otherwise ingest creatine at about 1g/day in a diet with meat. About 95% of our bodies stores of creatine are in the skeletal muscles and the remaining 5% is found in the brain, liver, kidney and reproductive organs (2). It is naturally found in meat so vegetarians tend to have lower creatine levels (3). Oral creatine ingestion leads to greater levels in the body. From there it is stored in organs or cleared through the kidney (2). Our bodies clear 1-2% of intramuscular creatine thus making us need to ingest 1-3 g of creatine per day to maintain usual stores. Creatine monohydrate is a common supplement that can improve exercise performance and increase the fat-free mass (4, 5). But it is also used to research several diseases and disorders.

 

How creatine works in the body during exercise

There is a direct positive relationship between muscle creatine uptake and exercise performance (6). Creatine supplementation is often paired with resistance training. It is believed to lead to a higher level of ATP (cell’s energy molecule) regeneration allowing you to maintain higher training intensity and improve the quality of your workout. It might even increase glycogen stores within the muscle (7). Creatine can be used as a buffer to resynthesize ATP in the body (8, 9).

 

Health Benefits of Creatine

Antioxidant activity

Creatine is able to remove harmful free radicals in lab tests (10). This could improve the performance of muscles and in aging.

 

Exercise benefits

It amplifies the effects of resistance training to enhance strength (11). It improves the quality and benefits of high-intensity intermittent speed training (12). It can also improve aerobic endurance in trials lasting more than 2.5 minutes (13). When used with aerobic endurance, creatine supplementation increases creatine stores in the body leading to increased plasma volume, more glycogen storage, and ventilatory improvements. The benefits can be summarized below (14)

  • Increased sprint performance
  • Increased work performed during exercise sets
  • Increased muscle mass & strength during training
  • Higher glycogen made in the body
  • Increased work capacity
  • Enhanced recovery from injury from exercise

 

Injury rehabilitation

Creatine might be useful in recovering from injury. Creatine supplementation decreased markers of muscle damage in athletes after an iron man challenge (15). Creatine supplementation is also believed to help athletes recover from intense workouts. Glycogen is a complex sugar molecular that is important in promoting recovering and preventing overtraining during exercise (16). Creatine is thought to help athletes who deplete large amounts of glycogen while training. Creatine also helps in reducing inflammation during exercise (17). Studies have shown that creatine supplementation helps with rehabilitation after serious muscle injury (18, 19)

 

Injury prevention

Creatine users have actually experienced less cramping, lower dehydration, less muscle tightness, less muscle strains, less non-contact injuries and less total injuries in comparison to those not taking creatine (20)

 

Neurological and cognitive function

There is an improvement in neurological and cognitive function with creatine supplementation (21, 22). Impairments due to sleep deprivation and aging can be improved with creatine supplementation (23).

 

Neurodegenerative diseases benefit

Creatine supplementation has been investigated clinically with various neuromuscular diseases like muscular dystrophy, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson disease, mitochondria-related diseases and Lou Gehrig’s disease (24-28). These studies have shown that creatine supplementation may improve physical health and clinical outcomes.  

 

Overall health

Creatine seems to have positive effects on strength, power, fat-free mass, daily living performance and neurological function in young and older people (29).

 

Ischemic heart disease

Creatine supplementation in addition to cardioplegic solutions has been used to treat myocardial ischemia and prevent ischemia-induced heart rhythm disfunctions while improving cardiac function (30).

 

Aging

Creatine supplementation has been reported to help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, reduce fat accumulation in the liver, serve as an antioxidant, enhance glycemic control, slow tumor growth in some types of cancers, improve physical strength and minimize bone loss (31-36).

 

ISSN on Creatine Supplementation

The international society of sports nutrition concludes the following on creatine supplementation (11, 14)

 

  1. Creatine monohydrate is the most effective nutritional supplement currently available with the intent of increasing high-intensity exercise capacity and lean body mass.
  2. Creatine monohydrate supplementation is safe and has therapeutic benefits in healthy and diseased populations ranging from infants to the elderly. There is no compelling scientific evidence that the use of creatine monohydrate (up to 30 g/day for 5 years) has any detrimental effects
  3. With precautions and supervision, creatine monohydrate supplementation in children and adolescent athletes is acceptable. We recommend that creatine supplementation only be considered by younger athletes who: a.) are involved in serious/competitive supervised training; b.) are consuming a well-balanced and performance-enhancing diet; c.) are knowledgeable about appropriate use of creatine; and d.) do not exceed recommended dosages.
  4. Creatine monohydrate is the most studied and clinically effective form of creatine in terms of muscle uptake and increase of high-intensity exercise capacity.
  5. Carbohydrate or carbohydrate and protein addition to a creatine supplement appear to increase muscular uptake of creatine, although the effect on performance measures may not be greater than using creatine monohydrate alone.
  6. The quickest method of increasing muscle creatine stores may be to consume ~0.3 g/kg/day of creatine monohydrate for 5–7-days followed by 3–5 g/day to maintain elevated stores. Initially, ingesting smaller amounts of creatine monohydrate (e.g., 3–5 g/day) will increase muscle creatine stores over a 3–4 week period, however, the initial performance effects of this method of supplementation are less supported.
  7. Clinical populations have been supplemented with high levels of creatine monohydrate (0.3 – 0.8 g/kg/day equivalent to 21–56 g/day for a 70 kg individual) for years with no clinically significant or serious adverse events.

 

Precaution

Several reports have indicated supplementation with creatine during training has no side effects. One side effect reported from creatine supplementation is weight gain. There have been few renal disorders associated with creatine supplementation. In these cases, dosages were not followed. It is important to take based on dosage on the label or as advised by a professional. While there is some youth that does supplement with creatine, this is not recommended. A youth taking creatine should be supervised by qualified professionals and have consent from the parents. They should know the precautions with creatine.

 

MapleLife Creatine

MapleLife produces high-quality natural supplements at a great price. Their creatine is 100% pure with no additives or filters. You get a high-quality creatine monohydrate product for an excellent price that you can use in any way you like. If you are looking to improve your exercise routine, improve your physical health or challenge your body, this is a natural product that will benefit you.

 

References

  1. Bertin M, et al. Origin of the genes for the isoforms of creatine kinase. Gene. 2007;392(1–2):273–82.
  2. Persky A, Brazeau G: Clinical pharmacology of the dietary supplement creatine monohydrate. Pharmacol Rev 2001, 53:161–176.
  3. Burke DG, Candow DG, Chilibeck PD, MacNeil LG, Roy BD, Tarnopolsky MA, Ziegenfuss T: Effect of creatine supplementation and resistance-exercise training on muscle insulin-like growth factor in young adults. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2008, 18:389–398.
  4. Buford T, Kreider R, Stout J, Greenwood M, Campbell B, Spano M, Ziegenfuss T, Lopez H, Landis J, Antonio J: International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation and exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2007, 4:6.
  5. American College of Sport Medicine: Round Table, the physiological and health effects of oral creatine supplementation. Med Sci Sports Exc 2000, 32:706–717.
  6. Casey A, Greenhaff P: Does dietary creatine supplementation play a role in skeletal muscle metabolism and performance? Am J Clin Nutr 2000, 72:607S–617S
  7. Hickner R, Dyck D, Sklar J, Hatley H, Byrd P: Effect of 28 days of creatine ingestion on muscle metabolism and performance of a simulated cycling road race. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2010, 7:26.
  8. Schlattner U, et al. Cellular compartmentation of energy metabolism: creatine kinase microcompartments and recruitment of B-type creatine kinase to specific subcellular sites. Amino Acids. 2016;48(8):1751–74.
  9. Ydfors M, et al. Modelling in vivo creatine/phosphocreatine in vitro reveals divergent adaptations in human muscle mitochondrial respiratory control by ADP after acute and chronic exercise. J Physiol. 2016;594(11):3127–40.
  10. Lawler JM, Barnes WS, Wu G, Song W, Demaree S: Direct antioxidant properties of creatine. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2002, 290:47–52.
  11. Buford T, Kreider R, Stout J, Greenwood M, Campbell B, Spano M, Ziegenfuss T, Lopez H, Landis J, Antonio J: International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation and exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2007, 4:6.
  12. van Loon L, Oosterlaar A, Hartgens F, Hesselink M, Snow R, Wagenmakers A: Effects of creatine loading and prolonged creatine supplementation on body composition, fuel selection, sprint and endurance performance in humans. Clin Sci (Lond) 2003, 104:153–162.
  13. Branch JD: Effects of creatine supplementation on body composition and performace: a meta análisis. Int J Sports Nutr Exerc Metabol 2003, 13:I198-122.
  14. Kreider, R. B., Kalman, D. S., Antonio, J., Ziegenfuss, T. N., Wildman, R., Collins, R., … Lopez, H. L. (2017). International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 14(1), 18. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-017-0173-z
  15. Bassit RA, Pinheiro CH, Vitzel KF, Sproesser AJ, Silveira LR, Curi R: Effect of short-term creatine supplementation on markers of skeletal muscle damage after strenuous contractile activity. Eur J Appl Physiol 2010, 108:945–955.
  16. Kreider RB, et al. ISSN exercise & sport nutrition review: research & recommendations. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2010;7:7
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  18. Hespel P, et al. Oral creatine supplementation facilitates the rehabilitation of disuse atrophy and alters the expression of muscle myogenic factors in humans. J Physiol. 2001;536(Pt 2):625–33.
  19. Op’t Eijnde B, et al. Effect of oral creatine supplementation on human muscle GLUT4 protein content after immobilization. Diabetes. 2001;50(1): 18–23.
  20. Greenwood M, et al. Creatine supplementation during college football training does not increase the incidence of cramping or injury. Mol Cell Biochem. 2003;244(1–2):83–8.
  21. Hammett S, Wall M, Edwards T, Smith A: Dietary supplementation of creatine monohydrate reduces the human fMRI BOLD signal. Neurosci Lett 2010, 479:201–205.
  22. D’Anci KE, Allen PJ, Kanarek RB: A potential role for creatine in drug abuse? Mol Neurobiol 2011, 44:136–141.
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  24. Ogborn DI, et al. Effects of creatine and exercise on skeletal muscle of FRG1-transgenic mice. Can J Neurol Sci. 2012;39(2):225–31.
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  27. Komura K, et al. Effectiveness of creatine monohydrate in mitochondrial encephalomyopathies. Pediatr Neurol. 2003;28(1):53–8.
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  30. Balestrino M, et al. Potential of creatine or phosphocreatine supplementation in cerebrovascular disease and in ischemic heart disease. Amino Acids. 2016;48(8):1955–67
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  35. Gualano B, et al. Creatine in type 2 diabetes: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011;43(5):770–8.
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