The supplement industry grows rapidly as new and advanced products repeatedly claim to boost your exercise performance. One product that is widely advertised by supplement shops is creatine monohydrate.
Creatine is a highly researched supplement, however, the science behind creatine is not widely advertised. Creatine itself is a naturally occurring amino acid that can be found in natural foods such as meat (especially beef) and fish (especially salmon and tuna) and is also made by the human body in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas; It is then converted into phosphocreatine which is then converted into ATP, a major source of where our body gets energy other than glucose (Ehrlich, 2014).
The Question: If creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid in our body, why do we need to take it as a supplement?
The Process: The article International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation and exercise states that when we perform high-intensity exercises, our phosphocreatine stores become depleted due to our body converting it into ATP, which is then used by our muscles. When a creatine supplement is taken, the liver, pancreas, and kidney have more creatine to break down into phosphocreatine; this results in an increase in a number of phosphocreatine molecules to convert into energy (Buford et al. 2007).
The Effects: Studies show that creatine monohydrate is the most effective nutritional supplement in terms of providing lean body mass and anaerobic capacity (more ATP/more energy). In one study, Creatine supplementation enhances muscular performance during high-intensity resistance exercise, fourteen active men were divided into two groups: a creatine group and a placebo group. Both groups performed a heavy load to failure bench press; 5 sets to failure based on each subject’s predetermined 10 repetition maximum. Subjects also performed a jump squat exercise, which consisted of 5 sets of 10 repetitions using 30% of each subject’s 1-repetition maximum squat. The creatine group ingested 25g of creatine monohydrate per day & the placebo group ingested an equivalent amount of placebo (Buford et al. 2007).
The Results: The subjects were assessed by diet, body mass, skinfold thickness, pre-exercise and 5-minute post-exercise lactate concentrations, and peak power output for the bench press and jump squat. Creatine supplementation resulted in a significant improvement in peak power output during all 5 sets of jump squats and a significant improvement in repetitions during all bench presses and jump squats. Furthermore, a significant increase in body mass of 1.4kg was observed after creatine ingestion. In this study, one week of creatine supplementation (25g/day) enhanced muscular performance during repeated sets to a heavy load to failure bench press and jump squat exercise (Volek et al. 1997).
While this is just one study’s conclusion, the article International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation states that “nearly 70% of these studies (creatine’s effect on performance) have reported a significant improvement in exercise capacity, while the others have generally reported non-significant gains in performance” (Buford et al. 2007).
Stay tuned for my next post where I will dive into further studies of creatine monohydrate.
Buford, Thomas W et al. “International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: Creatine Supplementation and Exercise.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 4 (2007): 6. PMC. Web. 19 June 2017.
“Creatine.” University of Maryland Medical Center. Ed. Steven D. Ehrlich. A.D.A.M, 26 June 2014. Web
B.S. Candidate (Kinesiology) – Westmont College
Justin was born in Huntington Beach, California and moved to Long Valley, New Jersey when he was eight years old. Justin will graduate with a B.S in Kinesiology in May 2018. Justin currently plays baseball Westmont College under head Coach Robert Ruiz.
Justin became interested in Kinesiology because of his involvement in baseball. He loves the idea of working with athletes and helping them to become faster and stronger and reach their full potential.
Justin plans to get his CSCS and attend graduate school after Westmont.
“Unveiling the Science Behind Creatine – Part 1” —> Volek, Jeff S., William J. Kraemer, Jill A. Bush, Mark Boetes, Thomas Incledon, Kristine L. Clark, and James M. Lynch. “Creatine Supplementation Enhances Muscular Performance During High-Intensity Resistance Exercise.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 97.7 (1997): 765-70. Web.