There is nothing new about creatine as of late other than proper dosing and perhaps some lingering confusion about what to mix your creatine supplements with. So all we are going to cover on creatine this morning is what it is exactly, what it does for you and what are the proper dosing and mixing requirements.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid (protein building block) that’s found in meat and fish, and also made by the human body in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas. It is converted into creatine phosphate or phosphocreatine and stored in the muscles, where it is used for energy. During high-intensity, short-duration exercise, such as lifting weights or sprinting, phosphocreatine is converted into ATP, a major source of energy within the human body.
Most human studies have taken place in laboratories, not in people actually playing sports. Although not all clinical studies agree, some conducted in both animals and people have shown that creatine supplements improve strength and lean muscle mass during high-intensity, short-duration exercises, such as weight lifting. In these studies, the positive results were seen mainly in young people, about 20 years old.
Creatine does not seem to improve performance in exercises that requires endurance, like running, or in exercise that isn’t repeated, although study results are mixed.
Proper Dosing for maximal results:
Note: This chart is based on a per day basis.
PHASE LOADING MAINTANANCE RECOVERY
Bodyweight (One week) (Four weeks) (three weeks)
150 lbs 4 servings/5 grams 2 servings/3.5 grams NONE
175 lbs 5 servings/5 grams 2 servings/4 grams NONE
200 lbs 5 servings/5 grams 2 servings/4.5 grams NONE
225 lbs 6 servings/5 grams 2 servings/5 grams NONE
250 lbs 7 servings/5 grams 2 servings/5.5 grams NONE
Sugar based drinks are the best way to consume your creatine (especially post workout) because the sugar helps boos insulin response, and studies support this response can boost creatine absorption up to 60%! Most fruit juices contain fructose, which isn’t a fast sugar and won’t result in a rapid spike in insulin. The acid in citrus juices may also render the creatine inactive by converting it to creatinine. Stick with high-glycemic index (fast) sugar-based drinks that contain maltose, glucose or dextrose.
Here are the best choices of mixers and others that aren’t so hot.
JUICES TO AVOID:
1.) Grapefruit juice
2.) Orange juice
4.) Soda pop (high acidity)
JUICES TO COMBINE YOUR CREATINE WITH:
2.) Gatorade (use the dextrose based powder form)
If you are being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use creatine without first talking to your health care provider.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) — Taking creatine with these pain relievers may increase the risk of kidney damage. NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen (Aleve).
Caffeine — Caffeine may make it hard for your body to use creatine, and taking creatine and caffeine may increase risk of dehydration. Using creatine, caffeine, and ephedra (now banned in the U.S.) may increase the risk of stroke.
Diuretics (water pills) — Taking creatine with diuretics may increase the risk of dehydration and kidney damage.
Cimetidine (Tagamet) — Taking creatine while taking Tagamet may increase the risk of kidney damage.
Drugs that affect the kidneys — Using creatine along with any medication that affects the kidneys may raise the risk of kidney damage.
Probenicid — Taking creatine while taking probenecid, a drug used to treat gout, may increase the risk of kidney damage.
As always, if you have any tips or stories you would like to share please feel free.
Yours in fitness,
- Adhihetty PJ, Beal MF. Creatine and its potential therapeutic value for targeting cellular energy impairment in neurodegenerative diseases. Neuromolecular Med. 2008;10(4):275-90. Epub 2008 Nov 13. Review.
- Beck TW, Housh TJ, Johnson GO, Coburn JW, Malek MH, Cramer JT. Effects of a drink containing creatine, amino acids, and protein combined with ten weeks of resistance training on body composition, strength, and anaerobic performance. J Strength Cond Res. 2007; 21(1):100-4.
- Musclemag International’s A-Z nutrition 2012 fall 2012 issue.