WHAT IS CREATINE?
Creatine monohydrate is undoubtedly the most researched, time-tested sports supplement to date; hundreds of studies have demonstrated that increased muscle creatine stores via supplementation can significantly improve exercise and training adaptations. Chemically speaking, creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid-like compound found primarily in muscle tissue.
A typical 165lb individual contains approximately 120g (roughly 1/4th pound) of creatine stored as creatine and phosphocreatine. In sedentary individuals, the body breaks down about 1%-2% of its creatine pool per day; active individuals and athletes alike may break down significantly more.
The body can replenish creatine via diet by eating foods that contain creatine(red meat is typically high in creatine), or via synthesis from the amino acids glycine, arginine and methionine. However, obtaining nominal amounts of creatine via diet and endogenous amino acid synthesis is rather impractical, especially for gym goers. Thus, supplementation is highly advised.
HOW DOES CREATINE WORK TO ENHANCE PERFORMANCE?
During exercise, stored adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the dominant energy source. ATP is depleted rapidly and can be recharged by creatine via the phosphocreatine energy system in muscle cells. An increased pool of creatine means faster recharging of ATP and therefore more work can be performed for a short duration, such as when sprinting and weightlifting.
Increasing the amount of creatine can affect exercise and training in several ways. Increasing the availability of creatine in muscle may help maintain the availability of energy during high intensity exercise and may help speed up recovery after intense exercise. This allows you to do more work over a series of sets or exercises, leading to greater gains in strength, muscle mass and performance over extended periods of time.
BENEFITS OF CREATINE SUPPLEMENTATION
- Increases intracellular water levels in muscle cells, which in turn increases protein synthesis
- Bolsters ATP production, resulting in increased power/strength output
- Acts as a neuroprotective agent since brain cells rely heavily on ATP for membrane integrity
- Studies show that taking creatine with carbohydrate during carbohydrate loading promotes greater creatine and glycogen retention which may improve glycogen availability for endurance athletes (glycogen is the storage form of glucose and carbohydrates in humans and animals).
- Creatine supplementation can help maintain muscle mass during prolonged aerobic training.
- Creatine may also increase the time to exhaustion in extended cardiovascular exercise.
Secondary benefits of creatine supplementation include:
- May enhance the effects of SSRI (antidepressants) in females.
- Appears to have antidiabetic properties in active individuals.
- Protects the heart from tissue damage.
- Enhanced cognition and mental acuity.
CREATINE DOSING AND STACKING RECOMMENDATIONS
We recommend creatine monohydrate be front-loaded for one week by taking 5g four times per day, with or without food. Once muscle creatine stores are saturated, you only need to take a maintenance dose 5g of creatine per day, preferably after workouts.
Studies have shown that creatine blended/stacked with certain supplements can have better results than creatine monohydrate alone. For example, one study found that athletes taking beta-alanine and creatine together built more muscle and lost more fat than athletes that took creatine monohydrate alone. Moreover, caffeine also appears to enhance the efficacy of creatine monohydrate.
Consider stacking creatine monohydrate with STIM-RUSH for amplified results. Creatine monohydrate also serves as a superb adjunct to Dermacrine, Androcrine, and EpiDrone.
Q: Is creatine is bad for the kidneys?
A: In short, no. The idea that creatine damages the kidneys extends from the idea that the kidneys “are damaged” when blood creatinine (a byproduct of the phosphocreatine system) levels rise. However, there is little, if any, clinical validity to this supposition. Doses of upwards of 20g of creatine per day have been shown to have little impact on renal activity. Thus, barring pre-existing renal impairment, there is little reason to believe that creatine supplementation will damage your kidneys.
Q: Do I have to front-loaded/mega-dose creatine monohydrate when starting use?
A: Not a necessity, we just recommend it as way to expedite the process of saturating your creatine stores. Most companies purport that the front-loading protocol is necessary to reach peak creatine levels but even a nominal dose of creatine taken over a few weeks will suffice just fine if you want to take the slow route.
Q: Does creatine monohydrate need to be cycled?
A: No. In fact, we advise you take creatine monohydrate consistently for maximum results since letting creatine stores drop below saturation will negate many of the benefits from supplementation.
Q: Does caffeine, being a diuretic, interfere with the absorption of creatine monohydrate?
A: Actually, caffeine appears to enhance the rate of uptake of creatine monohydrate, you just need to be more prudent about staying hydrated. Remember, creatine is anabolic in that it draws water into the muscles so keeping fluid intake adequate is crucial when supplementing with it.
 Juhn, M. S., & Tarnopolsky, M. (1998). Oral creatine supplementation and athletic performance: a critical review. Clinical journal of sport medicine: official journal of the Canadian Academy of Sport Medicine, 8(4), 286-297.
 Maganaris, C. N., & Maughan, R. J. (1998). Creatine supplementation enhances maximum voluntary isometric force and endurance capacity in resistance trained men. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica, 163(3), 279-287.
 Engelhardt, M., Neumann, G., Berbalk, A., & Reuter, I. (1998). Creatine supplementation in endurance sports. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 30(7), 1123-1129.
 Lyoo, I. K., Yoon, S., Kim, T. S., Hwang, J., Kim, J. E., Won, W., ... & Renshaw, P. F. (2012). A randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial of oral creatine monohydrate augmentation for enhanced response to a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor in women with major depressive disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry, 169(9), 937-945.
 Alves, C. R. R., Ferreira, J. C., de Siqueira-Filho, M. A., Carvalho, C. R., Lancha Jr, A. H., & Gualano, B. (2012). Creatine-induced glucose uptake in type 2 diabetes: a role for AMPK-α?. Amino acids, 43(4), 1803-1807.
 Gordon, A., Hultman, E., Kaijser, L., Kristjansson, S., Rolf, C. J., Nyquist, O., & Sylvén, C. (1995). Creatine supplementation in chronic heart failure increases skeletal muscle creatine phosphate and muscle performance. Cardiovascular Research, 30(3), 413-418.
 Rae, C., Digney, A.L., McEwan, S.R. and Bates, T.C. (2003) ‘Oral Creatine Monohydrate Supplementation Improves Brain Performance: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Cross-Over Trial’, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 270(1529), 2147–2150.
 Hoffman, J., Ratamess, N., Kang, J., Mangine, G., Faigenbaum, A. and Stout, J. (2006) ‘Effect of Creatine and Beta-Alanine Supplementation on Performance and Endocrine Responses in Strength/Power Athletes’, International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabloism, 16(4), 430-446.
 Vanakoski, J., Kosunen, V., Meririnne, E., & Seppälä, T. (1998). Creatine and caffeine in anaerobic and aerobic exercise: effects on physical performance and pharmacokinetic considerations. International journal of clinical pharmacology and therapeutics, 36(5), 258-262.