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Scientific Name:  CreatineMonohydrate
Type of Nutrient:  Found in food (especially red meat-one of the best muscle building foods) 
History:    Used successfully by British track and field athletes at 1992 Olympics in Barcelona
How Supplied:  Powder, Tablet, Capsules, Liquid  
Natural Sources:   High in red meat.  Also formed in liver from the amino acids arginine, glycine and methionine.
Benefits: Increased strength, Power, Mass, Delays fatigue (buffers hydrogen ions), Improves recovery.  
Cost Effectiveness:  * * * *   Worth the money  
Safety:  Appears Good - still relatively new - supplement.  
Precautions:  No negative complications in medical literature.  However, some athletes report mild diarrhoea during loading phase.  Will not improve endurance exercise performance nor submaximal exercise.  

            Creatine is taken up by skeletal muscle where it forms phosphocreatine, the high energy phosphate compound.  The immediate source of energy for muscular contraction is ATP with phosphocreatine serving as a back-up source of energy.

            The length of time that maximum muscle work can be maintained is partially determined by the amount of phosphocreatine in skeletal muscle.  ATP must be regenerated through the metabolism of glycogen, glucose, fatty acids, ketones and amino acids - once the phosphocreatine is used up.

            Of  the many causes of fatigue, one of the more important is the decrease in phosphocreatine in muscle.  Some athletes use creatine supplements to try to increase phosphocreatine in muscle and thus increase intensity and the length of muscular contraction during short term, high intensity work.



            The possible mechanisms by which creatine supplementation may be effective during exercise are by:

            1.         Providing a transport mechanism to take the ATP generated inside the mitochondria out to the working muscle fibres.

            2.         Delaying the slowing of effort caused by the depletion of Phosphocreatine stores in the muscle since total stores are augmented.

            3.          Enabling a greater supply of “instant energy” by improving the capacity to regenerate ATP.

            4.         Buffering (Neutralising) Hydrogen Ions produced during anaerobic exercise, thereby delaying fatigue.  Potentially improves buffering capacity by 7%.  (See Sodium Bicarbonate for full explanation of Lactic Acid Buffers).



            Recent research has revealed that oral CreatineMonohydrate supplements not only increase creatine content in muscle (the increase is greatest in exercised muscles) (Harris et al, Clin Sci 1992; 83(3): 367-374) but delays fatigue (Balsom PD et al Scan J Med Sci Spor 1993; 3: 143-9), improves recovery (by increasing the rate of phosphocreatine resynthesis in muscle) (Greenhaft PL et al Am J Phys 1994; 266 (5 Pt 1): E725-30), and increases muscle torque during repeated bouts of maximal exercise.  (Greenhaft et al Clin Sci 1993; 84(5): 565-71).



            Other studies show that CreatineMonohydrate increases both power output and the total amount of short term work (Birch R Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 1994; 69: 268-70).



            Oral Creatine supplementation may also independently result in increased body mass (Balsom PD et al Actu Phys Scand 1993; 149(4): 521-3), although much of this increase may be due to increased water retention.  The water retention is a phenomenon known as “cell volumizing” or “cellular hydration”.

            A “hydrated” muscle cell (holding more water) is bigger, fuller and rounder.  The cell is literally blown up like a balloon.  Great for bodybuilders.  Cell volumizing means more water inside muscle cells, not the type of water retention which occurs outside muscle cells and under the skin - giving the appearance of puffiness (unwanted).



            The usual “loading dose” prescribed in scientific literature is 5-7 days of 0.3g/kg bodyweight (ie 20-30 grams) per day taken in 5 gram doses throughout the day.  Supplementing with CreatineMonohydrate can increase muscle creatine and creatine phosphate content by 20% depending on initial creatine stores, but there is a maximal level of muscle creatine content that can be achieved.  So taking mega doses will be a waste of money.  The excess will be excreted in the urine.

            Once the muscle cells are “saturated” with the first week’s ‘loading’ dose, a maintenance dose of 0.03g/kg bodyweight per day (2-3 grams) is taken in a single dose.  A lot of bodybuilders who use CreatineMonohydrate take a maintenance dose of 5-10 grams per day and find this extremely effective.  Personally I get good results at 2 grams per day, but when I take more (5 grams per day) the volumising effect is increased.



            Always take it with a simple carbohydrate drink if you want maximum results.

            Preliminary information from England has shown that if you ‘spike’ insulin levels at the same time you take creatine monohydrate, more creatine may get transported into muscle cells.  One study showed subjects who took a simple carbohydrate along with their creatine put on three times as much weight in only one week as those subjects taking creatine alone.  So if you want to maximize your creatine size gains, take it in conjunction with a high-glycemic carbohydrate (such as cordial or dextrose). Ironpower's Powerstack formula  has combined creatine with a high glycemic two phase carbohydrate stack, plus potassium phosphate and sodium bicarbonate. To read more on this supercharged performance enhancing formula and how it works synergistically to boost performance and muscle and strength gains to a new level, click here.





FIRST 5-7 DAYS  20-30 Grams (Depending on bodyweight)

                                    In 5g divided doses


eg       100kg Bodybuilder

            Breakfast          5g CreatineMonohydrate in 200ml cordial

            Morning Tea    5g CreatineMonohydrate  in 200ml cordial

            Lunch               5g CreatineMonohydrate  in 200ml cordial

            Afternoon Tea  5g CreatineMonohydrate  in 200ml cordial

            Dinner              5g CreatineMonohydrate  in 200ml cordial

            Supper             5g CreatineMonohydrate  in 200ml cordial


                                    TOTAL  30g (ie 100kg x 0.3g/kg)




            3-10 Grams once per day


            Take dose with 200ml cordial after training.  (Training before supplementation has been shown to enhance muscle-creatine uptake).


TIP:      Consume the creatine-drink immediately upon mixing (it begins breaking down)


            No need to ‘cycle’ creatine(going on and off the product) for bodybuilders.

            Other athletes should ‘cycle’ their creatine use.  ie.  Use it at specific times in the training and competition cycle where demands on anaerobic energy systems are likely to be very high.  CreatineSupplementation especially aids performance when a series of bouts of high intensity exercise are repeated with short recovery intervals (1-4 minutes).  

In conclusion, creatine is one of the most effective muscle building supplements.

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