Creatine is one of the most widely used and effective supplements on the market today proven in many clinical studies to enhance lean body mass, increase strength, enhance energy levels, and increase muscle size. Some newer research on creatine indicates that combining creatine with protein and carbohydrates is as effective for stimulating creatine uptake and retention in the muscle tissue as taking creatine with carbohydrates alone. Stimulating insulin release has been shown to enhance the transport and uptake of creatine into the muscle tissue where it is used to support the reproduction of ATP (energy) and enhance cell volume as well as possibly buffer lactic acid. The study entitled “Protein and carbohydrate-induced augmentation of whole body creatine retention in humans” was published in the September 2000 issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology (1) and showed that consuming 50 grams of protein and 47 grams of carbohydrates with creatine was equally as effective in terms of creatine absorption and retention as consuming 96 grams of carbohydrates alone with creatine. So the creatine, protein, and carbohydrate combination actually makes for a great post workout drink mix to enhance recovery and help prevent muscle breakdown secondary to weight training.
Some other less recent studies on creatine have shown that it can enhance aerobic endurance (2) as well as anaerobic endurance. Up until this point, it was concluded that creatine only enhanced short term explosive anaerobic activity but now this study should prompt future research on the effects of creatine on aerobic performance. Another study showed that creatine may directly enhance the size of the muscle fibers themselves by causing direct hypertrophy (3). Although this was an animal study, it does bring about some interesting findings that will hopefully lead to future human research in this area.
Creatine Magnesium Chelate
This is a new form of creatine on the market and can be considered an advanced version. Magnesium is a macromineral that has many synergistic effects with creatine. In fact, ATP is actually found in the muscle cells bound to magnesium for stability. Magnesium has been shown to enhance strength and energy levels taken on it’s own. It is intimately involved in the energy cycle and has cardio-protective effects as well. Creatine monohydrate has been shown to be very effective in many studies, however many users experience stomach discomfort due to lower absorption rate and breakdown into it’s by-product creatinine in the stomach. By creating a creatine magnesium chelate, creatine can be protected from the harsh environment of the stomach acid and this chelate can help prevent breakdown. It can also help enhance absorption of creatine and decrease stomach discomfort which many creatine users (and their friends) can appreciate. This chelation provides a highly bioavailable form of creatine and magnesium. Some initial research shows it is better absorbed and tolerated than traditional creatine monohydrate. It also mixes well in water. There have been no side effects shown with this compound at the recommended doses and it shows excellent promise for the future of creatine.
The science of sports supplementation has come a long way. There are a lot of new compounds and current compounds being reviewed evaluated by researchers and there’s a lot of new information on this subject to come. Stay tuned!
- Steenge GR, et al., “Protein and carbohydrate-induced augmentation of whole body creatine retention in humans,” J Appl Physiol 2000 Sept., 89 (3): 1165-1171.
- Rico-Sanz J, et al., “Creatine enhances oxygen uptake and performance during alternating intensity exercise,” Med Sci Sports Exerc 2000 Feb., 32 (2): 379-385.
- Dangott B., et al., “Dietary creatine monohydrate supplementation increases satellite mitotic activity during compensatory hypertrophy,” Int J Sports Med 2000 Jan., 21 (1): 13-16.