Creatine: A Complement To Boost Your Performance
If you are told monohydrate, kre alkalyn , powdered and sometimes liquid, you should think of creatine which is part of the dietary supplements that anyone practicing bodybuilding knows or will know. Creatine is used by American athletes and especially by bodybuilders to gain muscle mass. It is more and more successful the same way as whey or BCAA. No scientific studies have shown adverse health effects. It is found in many food supplements and more and more aesthetic products.
What is creatine?
Creatine is a derivative of 3 amino acids which are arginine, glycine and methionine. It is therefore, in principle, a supplement based on amino acids and not an amino acid per se. Its role is to provide energy to the cells for short and intense efforts.
The creatine whose name comes from the Greek kreas (meat) is produced naturally by the body and is stored mainly in the skeletal muscle. Supplementation increases the muscle content of creatine and phosphocreatine by 10 to 30%, which improves energy availability for high-intensity exercises. It was discovered in 1835 by a French scientist named Chevreul.
Made in our body by the liver, kidneys and pancreas, it is then transported by blood to the heart, brain and skeletal striated muscles, which contain 95% of creatine in the form of phosphocreatine. Our body also uses the creatine brought by the diet: it is found in meats and fish. For example, a 150 g steak contains about 1 g of creatine.
Creatine is not a doping product
It is difficult to understand the disproportionate polemic around creatine that took place in France in the 90s in the middle of bodybuilding and again in 2014 with the case Florent Manaudou in the midst of swimming. Some people equate it with a doping drug that is hazardous to health just like anabolic steroids . Creatine is a food supplement authorized in France and also authorized by sports bodies like the IOC and the sports federations. Creatine monohydrate can be found in pharmacy, parapharmacy and of course, all sports nutrition shops . It is usually sold in powder form, but is also found in capsule form or in liquid form. Creatine is as important in mass intake as it is in dry weather.
Effect of Creatine
It is the complement to take muscle: creatine increases muscle performance and allows better recovery. Creatine molecules with a high affinity to water will increase the hydration of the muscle cells, resulting in an increase in their volume. The muscles appear swollen, but it is actually the excess water that gives them this appearance. We can speak of a retention of muscular water that has nothing to do with the retention of subcutaneous water.
Links to Muscle Growth
Muscle contractions require energy. In fact, any chemical reaction or physiological action requires energy. All this energy comes from a component called adenosine triphosphate or ATP. Few ATP resources are stored in our muscles. These ATP stocks must be continuously replenished. This is precisely the object of metabolism: the decomposition of foods (carbohydrates, lipids and sometimes proteins) to produce ATP in order to allow our actions of everyday life. ATP is constantly renewing during our daily activities, mainly through the decomposition of lipids.
However, a “normal” metabolism with energy produced by lipids is inappropriate to support ATP during a very high intensity effort. When ATP rates fall, for example at the moment when the racing speed begins to decline after 60 meters in a 100 meter sprint, its insufficiency is immediately overcome by a simple and very simple process which involves a component Called creatine phosphate (CP, also known as phosphocreatine) 1. Creatine phosphate is the first, but not the only supplier of ATP. During high intensity efforts for up to 25 seconds. For activities that last longer, it is primarily the carbohydrates and then the lipids that will provide ATP.
What is particularly interesting with creatine during muscle recovery after exertion is the obvious correlation between intramuscular creatine and creatine phosphate and, on the other hand, by other anabolic and anticatabolic reactions.
One reason why creatine has become a popular nutritional supplement is that several scientists have come to the conclusion that an increase in intramuscular creatine results in increased anabolism in the synthesis of proteins of the contractile Muscle fiber.
In fact, it’s a preliminary study on anabolic steroids that revealed that a part of muscle growth is due to the ability of steroids to increase the levels of creatine phosphate in the muscle. Perhaps more interesting is the prospect that an increase in intramuscular stocks of creatine and creatine phosphate reduces the decomposition of other muscle proteins, due to its effects on intramuscular glutamine stocks. Indeed, several studies show a direct correlation between certain aspects of muscle protein metabolism and intramuscular glutamine stocks.
In general, intramuscular glutamine stocks allow and even stimulate the synthesis of proteins in muscle fibers other than myofibrils. In addition, protein degradation is accentuated with the fall in intramuscular glutamine stocks. Therefore, anything that affects the intramuscular stocks of glutamine also has a consequence on the synthesis of muscle proteins or on protein losses in muscle.
The general energy balance within the muscle cell itself is closely related to the process that affects the intramuscular stocks of glutamine.
When the energy of the cells decreases, there is ammonia production. Increasing ammonia can result in glutamine losses, which causes increased degradation of proteins. Still, the rise in creatine stocks and therefore creatine phosphate can cause both an increase in contractile or non-contractile proteins and a decrease in protein loss in the muscle.
In other words, creatine is not only a short-term palliative for increasing performance (eg for sprinting). It should be related to both anabolic and anticatabolic reactions within the muscle cell that have a direct impact on recovery, muscle growth and strengthening.
Creatine is not dangerous
Creatine is safe if taken in the recommended amounts. Overdose, creatine consumption can lead to muscle cramps, abdominal cramps, diarrhea and dehydration. It is therefore not recommended to consume it during periods of high heat. Overdosage of creatine may damage the kidneys if your hydration is not adequate.
Indeed, the use of creatine causes an increase in metabolic waste. These are eliminated by the kidneys. If you do not drink enough water to help the kidneys eliminate this waste, they can quickly be overworked. In the long term, this can cause kidney failure. Drinking plenty of water is therefore very important when you are taking creatine.
Creatine is good for health
Many studies have shown that creatine monohydrate is beneficial to health because of its antioxidant potential. It is known that intensive training is associated with an oxidative stress that can lead to apoptosis (death of the cell). A new study published in August 2015 in the International Journal of Research in Medical Sciences 2 demonstrated an additional beneficial effect of creatine monohydrate: that of decreasing cell death induced by intensive exercise.
Another beneficial effect: a study by the Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine in South Korea and the Brain Institute and Department of Psychiatry in the United States, published in the renowned Journal Biological Psychiatry in September 2016 3 , demonstrated a beneficial antidepressant effect Of creatine.
A second study by the University of São Paulo Medical School published in the Journal of Affective Disorders 4 in November 2016 confirms these beneficial effects with creatine monohydrate (6 g per day) to treat depressive episodes and cognitive People with bipolar disorder.
More information about creatine
Contrary to what can be read on the web, creatine improves muscle performance for anaerobic exertion, so it is less useful in endurance sports. Caffeine is not recommended when taking creatine: creatine causes water retention and caffeine causes the opposite: Creatine absorption is therefore reduced. It is recommended not to consume your creatine with a citrus juice (orange, grapefruit …). Indeed, it has recently been proven that these juices neutralized the activity of creatine. Creatine does not have to dissolve to be effective. All the benefits of creatine are obtained with its dry form. Prefer creatine in capsule form.
Creatine : 2 to 5 g before or after training.
About creatine creapure ®
Creapure is a recognized brand that guarantees the purest creatine in the world. This high-end creatine is manufactured in Germany by AlzChem under GMP conditions and with a patented production process. A rigorous selection of raw materials, a highly developed engineering process and sophisticated analysis guarantee a product of the highest quality.
The different creatines
It is no longer a simple creatine monohydrate, this white powder that diluted more or less well in the water before being swallowed. Nowadays, the consumer has a multitude of choices, due to the modification of the chemical structure of the supplement, its mode of use and even the type of results expected. We present here the many varieties of creatine currently available (non exhaustive list) with their properties.
As much of the research has been done on this form of creatine, we know that it is effective is safe. It has been successful in laboratory and training, despite intestinal cramps, bloating and diarrhea, which are often reported early in its use. It is the most popular on the market: it is available in powder, tablet, capsule, liquid, and other form. This form contains 88% creatine and 12% water: in other words, one gram of creatine monohydrate brings 0.88 g of creatine. If a product displays the amount in grams next to the terms “creatine monohydrate” (not creatine), please note that its creatine content is 88%. Thus, if the label specifies 5 grams of creatine monohydrate per pod, you will consume 4.4 g of creatine per se.
This is one of the first basic options for creatine to compete with creatine monohydrate. This citrate form combines a creatine molecule with an intermediate citric acid molecule which intervenes naturally in the Krebs Cycle (the end cycle of degradation of food substrates in the aerobic process of energy production) and which therefore plays a role Fundamental in energy metabolism. The citrate-creatine combination could boost energy production in the active muscles. No research has confirmed this theory. Creatine Citrate contains about 40% creatine, but it is mostly popular because of its solubility: it dissolves better in water, although having a rather acid taste.
Creatine phosphate (essentially a creatine molecule linked to a phosphate molecule and bringing about 60% creatine) was also available very early. At first, this product made a lot of noise because, in muscle, creatine must bind to a phosphate group and turn into phosphocreatine to be effective. Many people thought that creatine phosphate in direct contact would be even more effective than creatine monohydrate. The phosphate group could also effectively buffer lactic acid accumulated in the muscles. Research has never validated this statement, probably because phosphates pass through membranes, such as those of muscle cells. Nowadays creatine phosphates have rather been abandoned.
Creatine malate is creatine linked to malic acid. Like citrate, malic acid is an intermediate of the Krebs cycle; As such, creatine malate might offer the possibility of a higher production of ATP than other form of creatine. The corpus of investigation on creatine malate in humans is very limited, but the results should be similar to those obtained with creatine monohydrate. On the other hand, like citrate, creatine malate tends to better dissolve in water and does not seem to cause gastric embarrassment.
Creatine tartrate contains a creatine molecule (about 70%) linked to a molecule of tartaric acid. This form is sometimes used in creatine-based solid products: capsules, tablets to swallow, effervescent tablets, bars … Few products currently use this form.
This patented form consists of a creatine molecule linked to magnesium. This combination of a chelated mineral with creatine protects the latter in the stomach and could facilitate its absorption. The other advantage of this formula is the level of the muscle fiber itself because magnesium is necessary to convert phosphocreatine into ATP. In a recent study comparing the effect of chelated magnesium to creatine with that of creatine supplemented with magnesium, it was found that the fluid in the muscle fibers was amplified by the chelated form. Moreover, the subjects had more strength in the execution of the extension extension than those who had taken the mixture creatine and magnesium.
It is an extremely fine powder of creatine monohydrate. Due to its micro-size (about 20 times smaller than other particles of creatine monohydrate), a larger surface area is available, that is, this form of creatine is more easily diluted. The better the creatine dissolves in the liquid used, the less it remains at the bottom of the glass and the better it is absorbed by the intestine. Indeed, if creatine stays in the intestine, it attracts water, which causes gastrointestinal problems and diarrhea.
When a molecule of water is removed from creatine, anhydrous or pure creatine is obtained. It brings a little more creatine than the monohydrate form (about 6% more), but it is the same product.
A combination of two products: it is simply creatine related to the HMB, a metabolite of leucine that helps in muscle recovery and the development of lean mass. It is the link between the two components that prevents them from degrading in the stomach and that potentiates their solubility and absorption in the body. Once in the blood, creatine separates from the HMB and these two substances are transported separately to the muscles. While it is true that there is no research to confirm the effectiveness of this formula, anecdotal reports are very positive.
It was only a matter of time: first of all, we were used to new nitric oxide (NO) stimulators where alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG for alpha-ketoglutaric acid) was bound to l Amino acid arginine to improve its absorption. Other amino acids followed, and the manufacturers began to add AKG to creatine in order to facilitate its assimilation by the body. Creatine-AKG is nothing but creatine bound to an alpha-ketoglutarate molecule (which is a precursor to glutamine). Not only is it better absorbed, it is also a source of glutamine (an essential amino acid for muscle development and health). AKG is readily absorbed by the intestine and muscle cells: this means that creatine-AKG does not need the aid of the creatine transporter (ie insulin) to To the heart of the muscle cells. In addition, the body uses the AKG for energetic purposes between series to rebuild its creatine phosphate reserves.
This product offers creatine related to glucose. This combination improves the absorption of creatine, which is then assimilated as normal glucose. Glucose is a rapid sugar, it helps to promote the penetration of creatine into the muscle cells by amplifying the insulin secretion.
The name may seem confusing, but it simply indicates that creatine is related to orotic acid. Okay, you’re not well informed. Remember that orotic acid (precursor of nucleic acids or building element of the DNA) acts by raising the carnosine level in the muscles. Carnosine is composed of two amino acids (it is a dipeptide): it helps the muscle cells to buffer the acidity that accumulates during an intense effort. Thus, the muscles may continue to contract more powerfully and for longer. Orotic acid stimulates the formation of creatine phosphate in muscle cells and improves hypertrophy by supporting the production of key players in protein synthesis. By taking triceatin orotate, you get all the benefits of creatine with bonuses, the benefits of orotic acid.
Another novelty: to be precise, it is about hydrochloride ethyl ester of creatine. Scientists at the Nebraska Medical Center have developed this formula to increase the bioavailability of creatine and thus amplify its positive effects on health. The addition of an ester group reinforces the ability of the molecule to cross the cell membranes of the intestine and muscles. In theory, the absorption of creatine is improved, which is assimilated faster than other forms of creatine. This technology has also been implemented for supplements such as vitamin C. Although this new form of creatine offers great potential, there is currently no research to support its effectiveness.
Effervescent tablet technology has been around for a long time, effervescent creatine has been developed from the beginning. The product generally consists of creatine citrate or monohydrate combined with bicarbonate and citric acid. When water is added, the reaction between bicarbonate and citric acid produces the effervescent effect and separates the creatine from its carrier: then the free creatine remains at neutral charge, which dissolves more completely in the ” water. This prevents it from being dissolved by gastric acid and its absorption through the intestine could be improved.
(Not to be confused with tartrate). Creatine titrat acts roughly like effervescent creatine, less bubbles. It promotes solubility by altering the pH of water when creatine is added. Few brands currently available.
Theoretically, stable products based on liquid creatine are better absorbed since creatine is completely available and there is no deposit in the glass. The whole question is whether creatine in liquid form is stable enough to have a good shelf life. The first products were unsatisfactory, but the advances in technology have kept this category of creatine. Today, ingredients such as soybean oil and mineral colloids are used to ensure creatine stability of up to 12 months. Other manufacturers use stabilized aloe vera gel to extend its shelf life.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does creatine work?
When you do multiple sets of intense anaerobic exercises, the phosphocreatine reserve (PC) is exhausted in 10 seconds! This can contribute to fatigue or the inability to lift maximum loads. Taking creatine as a supplement increases intramuscular creatine levels by up to a third, which can increase PC training and in turn help you maintain maximum or near maximum power or strength for longer. As a result, your workouts may be more intense and you become less fatigued.
Which doses make it possible to obtain an energy effect?
For beginners in bodybuilding, a dose of 2 to 3 grams per day is sufficient 5 6 . For seasoned athletes and top athletes, a minimum of 5 g of creatine is recommended. Researchers at the Center for Sports Science and Human Performance in England actually suggest relying instead on body weight. Thus, a dose of 0.1 g of creatine per kilogram of body weight is recommended for athletes who train regularly and intensely 7.
Is the charging phase really necessary?
The classic creatine supplementation regimen recommended an initial charge phase followed by a maintenance phase. In general, 20 to 30 grams of creatine monohydrate are ingested each day for one week, a dose of about 0.3 g per kilogram body weight. This loading dose allows an improvement of about 30% of the muscle creatine phosphate stores; Those with the lowest rates at the start recorded the largest increases. However, because the amount of creatine that can not be stored in the muscle is limited, a maintenance dose is recommended. Doses of 2 g per day can maintain the level obtained during the initial charge phase. What you just read is the reasoning of the sellers of food supplements. In fact, you can save money by not performing the recommended initial charge phase: it is in fact unnecessary. A study by the Queen’s Medical Center compared the effects of taking 20 grams of creatine 8 for 6 days, followed by a maintenance phase with 2 grams per day for one month compared with taking 3 grams of creatine per day during 1 month. Although the latter group had an absolute intake of less creatine, the results were the same in both groups, ie a 20% increase in creatine in muscle. Thus, taking only 3 grams of creatine per day, without the initial charge phase, is also effective and less expensive.
Is caffeine disrupting creatine?
In a Belgian study published in 1985, scientists compared the effects of ingestion of creatine 9 (0.5 g per kg of body weight per day) with creatine intake Caffeine (5mg per kilogram of body weight per day) for six days. The amount of caffeine was about 454 mg for an individual weighing 90 kilos. A cup of coffee contains an average of 200 mg of caffeine, so this dosage is slightly less than two cups. Creatine levels increased in both groups. However, the force start torque (force applied, for example, in isokinetic knee extension exercises) was improved by more than 23% in the creatine group, whereas no change was observed in the creatine group -caffeine. In this study, caffeine appears to counterbalance the energy effects of creatine. However, many athletes regularly drink coffee or drinks containing caffeine and yet enjoy the benefits of creatine. It may not be necessary to eliminate the cup of coffee in the morning, at least not yet …
Update: A study published on September 25, 2015 in The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 10 shows that performance is not altered except with anhydrous caffeine or coffee. As always, do not take everything for cash, studies follow each other and do not resemble each other, agree or contradict each other.
Does ingestion of carbohydrates affect creatine?
In 1996, a study by the Queen’s Medical Center in Nottingham, England, investigated the effects of carbohydrate intake on creatine 11. Four times a day for five days, scientists gave 24 healthy men (mean age 24) 5 grams of creatine or 5 grams of creatine plus, 30 minutes later, 93 grams of carbohydrate Having a high glycemic index. Both forms of supplementation increased muscle creatine significantly; However, the group using carbohydrates had an increase in creatine 60% higher! The release of insulin stimulated by the consumption of these fast sugars probably plays a role in the transport of creatine into the muscle cells. Some supplements include sugars in their creatine formulas to use this effect, but you often spend too much money for something that really costs little. To get the same type of insulin response without paying more, try mixing creatine in 200 to 300 cl of a high glycemic index drink, such as grape or apple juice.
Update: A study carried out in 2015 12 and published in the European Journal of Sport Science highlighted the lack of benefit in terms of anaerobic power, strength and endurance whatever the mode of consumption of creatine (With or without carbohydrate or with an insulin analog). This indicates that an ingestion of creatine alone would be sufficient to increase performance and that wanting to overload the creatine muscles would not be more effective.
What is creatinine?
Creatinine is simply what remains of creatine when it has been used. When creatine has been consumed to produce energy, the so-called creatinine waste is found in the blood until it is filtered through the kidneys before being eliminated in the urine.
If the kidneys filter well, the amount of creatinine in the blood is low. If a large amount of creatinine is found in a medical blood test, it may indicate that kidney filtration is no longer effective and your kidneys have a problem.
Do not worry if your serum creatinine level (creatinine level) is high.
On the one hand, it must be known that it differs between each individual. Since it depends on the initial amount of creatine, it will be higher in men who have more muscle mass than women. On the other hand, diet can also vary this rate: the higher it is in protein and the higher the creatinine.
Serum creatinine and creatinine clearance
As we have just seen, creatinine is a metabolic waste resulting from the degradation of creatine. This molecule is filtered and then eliminated in the urine by the kidneys.
The dosage of serum creatinine ( creatinine level in the blood) can be used to assess kidney function (test whether the kidneys are functioning well).
Most men with normal renal function have about 0.6 to 1.2 milligrams per deciliter (mg / dL) of creatinine in the blood.
For women with less muscle mass, normal values range from 0.5 to 1.1 mg / dL.
Since the creatinine level in the blood varies by sex, age, physical activity level or drug intake, this is not the most reliable parameter for assessing the proper functioning of the kidneys.
For reliable measurement of renal function, creatinine clearance (creatinine measurement in urine) will be more effective. Unfortunately, this takes about 24 hours.
In an emergency, however, an estimate of clearance can be made with a blood test and using the Cockroft and Gault formula.
- ↑The creatine kinase system and pleiotropic effects of creatine
- ↑Effects of creatine monohydrate supplementation on exercise-induced apoptosis in athletes: A randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled study
- ↑Effects of Creatine Monohydrate Augmentation on Brain Metabolic and Network Outcome Measures in Women With Major Depressive Disorder
- ↑Cognitive effects of creatine monohydrate adjunctive therapy in patients with bipolar depression: Results from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial
- ↑Low-dose creatine supplementation enhances fatigue resistance in the absence of weight gain
- ↑American College of Sports Medicine roundtable. The physiological and health effects of oral creatine supplementation
- ↑Creatine supplementation with specific view to exercise/sports performance: an update
- ↑Muscle creatine loading in men
- ↑Caffeine counteracts the ergogenic action of muscle creatine loading
- ↑EFFECTS OF COFFEE AND CAFFEINE ANHYDROUS INTAKE DURING CREATINE LOADING
- ↑Carbohydrate ingestion augments skeletal muscle creatine accumulation during creatine supplementation in humans
- ↑Créatine co-ingestion des glucides ou extrait de cannelle ne fournit aucune ajouté avantage pour la performance anaérobie