Supplement Guide: Creatine Monohydrate

We are faced with an excess of misinformation and hype when it comes to supplements.  In the case of Creatine, one of the most researched sports supplement in history, it isn’t hype.

According to the position statement of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2048496/?tool=pubmed):

“Creatine monohydrate is the most effective ergogenic nutritional supplement currently available to athletes in terms of increasing high-intensity exercise capacity and lean body mass during training.”

Phosphocreatine (PCr) is naturally stored in muscle, up to 160 grams at any given time, and the body relies on these stores for energy production during intense bouts of training.  PCr stores are diminished during these high-level sessions, as does the ability to resynthesize ATP.  Increasing the level of PCr in the body allows for a prolonged re-synthesis of ATP during high-intensity training.

The improvements due to these higher levels of PCr makes it a “must-have” for all athletes.  Creatine’s myriad benefits include:

  • Improvements in maximum power
  • Increase in work capacity
  • Improved sprint performance
  • Improved ability during repeat sprint efforts
  • Improved ability to gain lean body mass
  • Cognitive benefits

The supplementation protocols given on most creatine containers require a short period of high dosage (a “loading” phase); up to 25 grams consumed 5-7 days straight; and then a longer period of maintenance where the athlete will consume about 5 grams per day for 4-6 weeks.  It’s been shown that reloading every 4-6 weeks is effective in maintaining muscle creatine content.  The low cost of the monohydrate brand of creatine makes this an easy option for all athletes.

Recommendations:
Purchase a flavorless brand of Creatine Monohydrate and add the recommended dosage to any drink or swallow with a drink of water.  Creatine is also found in meat and fish sources in small concentrations.

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