Creatine intake is really widespread. But how to take creatine correctly? What do you actually know about the creatine effect? And which creatine should it actually be? In this article I will give you the answer to these questions and maybe a little more… 😉
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Creatine effects – Short answer
- Strength increase and hypertrophy when combined with strength training (Cooper et al., 2012, Campbell & Spano, 2011)
- Improving cognitive performance (Rawson & Venezia, 2011)
- Improving the quality and utility of high-intensity speed training (Cooper et al., 2012)
- Increase in bone density when supplementing strength training with creatine (Rawson & Venezia, 2011)
- Improving endurance performance (Cooper et al., 2012)
How to take creatine correctly?
Taking creatine sometimes raises questions! Here’s how your muscles can fully benefit from supplementing with creatine! 😉
How to take creatine – Summary
- First: 4-7 days 0.3 g creatine for every kg body weight per day (divided into 4-5 servings)
- Thereafter: 0.1 g of creatine for every kg of body weight per day (e.g. one serving before training and the other after)
f you skip the loading phase, then you only take 0.1 g of creatine for every kg of body weight per day (e.g. one serving before training and the other serving after training)
If you want to take a creatine but don’t know which creatine, try this: Crea Rock*
How to take creatine reatin – More details
In order to saturate creatine stores quickly, a 4-7 day loading phase is typically recommended, in which 0.3 g of creatine for every kg of body weight per day, divided into several servings. 4 – 5 servings spread over the day are common. A distribution of, for example, 20 x 1 g every 30 minutes promises better creatine absorption. The maintenance phase follows directly after the charging phase. In this phase you only take 0.1 g creatine / kg body weight daily. You can also do without a loading phase and take 0.1 g creatine / kg body weight right from the start. However, the performance-enhancing effects only appear later (Cooper et al., 2012).
Which kind of creatine?
Creatine is available in different forms. While creatine monohydrate is currently considered the “gold standard”, there are several other forms of creatine on the market (Jagim et al., 2012). For example, creatine ethyl ester (hydrochloride), Kre-Alkalyn®, creatine pyruvate, creatine citrate, just to name a few (Cooper et al., 2012).
But what about the promises made by the manufacturers? Are other forms of creatine more effective than creatine monohydrate? Products such as creatine pyruvate and creatine citrate may provide the following benefits (Cooper et al., 2012):
- Better solubility in water
- Higher bioavailability (more creatine where it should be)
- Lower risk of gastrointestinal problems
However, these forms of creatine are less stable compared to creatine monohydrate. However, concomitant intake of carbohydrates could improve stability (Cooper et al., 2012). Creatine Ethyl Ester manufacturers claim that it increases the bioavailability of creatine (due to esterification). However, creatine monohydrate seems to be more effective (Spillane et al., 2009).
Kre-Alkalyn® is advertised as storing more creatine and producing less creatinine (a breakdown product of creatine), thereby minimizing potential side effects. Here, too, a more effective effect remains questionable (Jagim et al., 2012).
As just described, there are some new forms of creatine on the market that have the potential to be more effective than creatine monohydrate. Since the new forms of creatine still have questions about their safety and effectiveness, and manufacturing practices vary from country to country, more analysis is needed to fully elucidate the benefits and risks (Cooper et al., 2012 ).
Creatine effects – Detailed
Creatine is produced by the body in the liver, kidneys and pancreas and is also ingested through food (Cooper et al., 2012). As a supplement, it is either mixed with liquid in powder form or taken in tablet form. The idea behind the supplement is to maximally increase the intracellular pool of creatine (creatine + creatine phosphate). As a result, ATP can be regenerated more quickly, thereby sustaining a higher training intensity (Schoch et al., 2006). Creatine leads to an increase in body weight. However, this increase is not only due to water retention, but also to an increase in protein content in the muscle (Campbell & Spano, 2011). However, not everyone responds to creatine. Individuals who benefit from the supplement have a higher percentage of Type II muscle fibers and lower baseline muscle creatine levels. Despite some claims that creatine intake is harmful, scientific research shows no negative effects on adult health (including liver and kidneys) even with long-term use of creatine (Cooper et al., 2012). Thus, in addition to a sensible exercise and nutritional protocol, supplementing with creatine is a safe and effective way to help build muscle and increase strength (Campbell & Spano, 2011).
Other possible modes of action:
- Decreased lactate accumulation (Cooper et al., 2012)
- If you combine intensive strength training with the intake of creatine, there can be an increased production of the insulin-like growth factor IGF-1 (influences muscle growth) (Burke et al., 2008)
- Increase in muscle glycogen stores (Cooper et al., 2012)
- It’s possible that creatine combined with strength training causes myostatin release to be blocked. Myostatin is a protein that inhibits the growth of muscle tissue (Saremi et al., 2010) Just type “Belgian Blue myostatin” into Google and you’ll see what happens when you inhibit myostatin 😉
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Burke, D. G, Candow, D. G., Chilibeck, P. D., MacNeil, L. G., Roy, B. D., Tarnopolsky, M. A. & Ziegenfuss, T. (2008). Effect of creatine supplementation and resistance-exercise training on muscle insulin-like growth factor in young adults. International journal of sports nutrition exercise metabolism. 18(4):389-98.
Campbell, B. I. & Spano, M. A. (2011). NSCA’s Guide to Sport and Exercise Nutrition. National strength and conditioning association. Human Kinetics. Champaign.
Cooper R., Naclerio, F., Allgrove, J. & Jimenez, A. (2012). Creatine supplementation with specific view to exercise,sports performance: an update. Journal of the international society of sports nutrition. 9:33.
Jagim, A. R., Oliver, J. M., Sanchez, A., Galvan, E., Fluckey, J., Reichman, S. et al. (2012). Kre-Alkalyn® supplementation does not promote greater changes in muscle creatine content, body composition, or training adaptations in comparison to creatine monohydrate. Journal of the international society of sports nutrition. 9(Suppl 1):P11.
Rawson, E. S. & Venezia, A. C. (2011). Use of creatine in the elderly and evidence for effects on cognitive function in young and old. Amino acids. 40(5):1349-62.
Saremi, A., Gharakhanloo, R., Sharghi, S., Gharaati, M. R., Larijani, B. & Omidfar, K. (2010). Effects of oral creatine and resistance training on serum myostatin and GASP-1. Molecular and cellular endocrinololgy. 12;317(1-2):25-30.
Schoch, R. D., Willoughby, D. & Greenwood, M. (2006). The Regulation and Expression of the Creatine Transporter: A Brief Review of Creatine Supplementation in Humans and Animals. Journal of the international society of sports nutrition. 3(1): 60-66.
Spillane, M., Schoch, R., Cooke, M., Harvey, T., Greenwood, M., Kreider, R. and Willoughby, D. S. (2009). The effects of creatine ethyl ester supplementation combined with heavy resistance training on body composition, muscle performance, and serum and muscle creatine levels. Journal of the international society of sports nutrition. 6:6.