This article will explain the importance of creatine and muscle growth.
Creatine is one of the most successful and widely used supplements in the world today. Well known in the Bodybuilding and Strength Training communities for improving strength and growth of muscles. It is the most widely studied supplement on the market today, with over 200 plus studies over the last decade. The following is a breakdown of why creatine and lean muscle development are so important.
Where Creatine, Carbohydrates, And ATP.
Creatine is a molecule (creatine phosphate) in the human body that can rapidly produce energy ATP (adenosine triphosphate) to support cellular function. Carbohydrates will provide energy during anaerobic activity and fats will provide sustained energy during high oxygen availability (low-intensity exercise or rest). The breakdown of the carbohydrates, fats and certain ketones produces ATP. During high-intensity workouts or athletic movements, ATP is used for energy and the molecule is broken down into ADP (adenosine di-phosphate) and AMP (adenosine monophosphate).
Creatine exists in the cells to donate a phosphate group (energy) to ADP to turn it back into ATP to be reused for energy. By increasing the overall amount of cellular phosphocreatine with a creatine supplement you can accelerate the recycling of the ADP to ATP. The main benefit of a creatine supplement is its ability to regenerate the ATP faster which will promote increases in strength and power, leading to the final outcome most bodybuilding and strength athletes are looking for, lean muscle development. Without creatine, energy production during high-intensity bouts of exercise would not be possible.
How Creatine Works.
Creatine storage is limited so taking more will not allow more growth. A 150lb man will store on average 120 grams of creatine. Over 95% of creatine is stored in the muscle, but the body can store more energy as glycogen or fat so creatine is the energy source in the short term and glucose and fatty acids replenish ATP in the longer term. However, storage does increase in the muscle as muscle mass increases.
Water retention is a concern for some people who want to take creatine. This is a necessary part of how creatine works in the cells to give you larger and stronger muscles. When creatine is absorbed it pulls water into the cells with it, causing the cells to swell. This is called “cell volumization” which is part of the reason your pump is a little bigger when taking creatine.
This cell volumization is known to promote a cellular anabolic state that is associated with less protein breakdown. So the cellular swelling appears to have a positive influence on muscle cell growth. The swelling is what activates the stress response proteins which then influence muscle protein synthesis. Glycogen synthesis is also known to respond directly and positively to cellular swelling which can induce muscle cell growth.
How To Use Creatine.
How you take Creatine can make a difference in your muscular development. There have been various studies to try and find the optimal amounts to increase the total creatine concentration in the body. The most commonly used protocol is to take 20-30g/day of creatine (creatine monohydrate) in four equal doses throughout the day. A slow loading protocol was also studied that suggested taking 3g/day for 28 days. Both protocols produced similar findings of a 20% increase in total muscle creatine concentration. That concentration was then maintained when the supplement was continually used at a rate of 2g/day.
There are findings that creatine combined with simple carbohydrates substantially increased muscle creatine accumulation compared to creatine taken alone. It is thought that the carbohydrates affect the creatine accumulation due to insulin enhancing muscle uptake. Another study aimed at examining whether ingestion of creatine with 50g of protein and 50g of simple carbohydrates could increase the insulin concentrations like that of just ingesting 100g of simple carbohydrates alone proved there was no difference in insulin uptake. In short, take your creatine with a balance of 50g of protein and 50g of carbs rather than alone in water.
Creatine And Lean Muscle In Conclusion.
Creatine is the supplement that bodybuilders and strength athletes have used over the last two decades to promote lean muscle growth and size. It has been scientifically proven to provide energy and stimulation to muscle tissue in the most efficient way possible. It should be taken with both protein and carbohydrates in order to be utilized to its full potential and it is a safe and effective supplement to use every day to add size and strength.
We here at Monolith want the best for our clients so we will continue to bring you up to date information on fitness, nutrition, and mental health issues. If you found this article informative and educating please leave us a comment below. Now go out and Think Massive!
Mujika I, Padilla S (1997) Creatine supplementation as an ergogenic aid for sports performance in highly trained athletes: a critical review. Int J Sports Med
Terjung RL (2000) American College of Sports Medicine roundtable. The physiological and health effects of oral creatine supplementation. Med Sci Sports Exerc.
Wyss M, Kabburah-Daouk R (2000) Creatine and creatinine metabolism. Phsiol Rev
Schlattner U, Tokarska-Schlattner M, Wallimann T (2006) Mitochondrial creatine kinase in human health and disease. Biochim Biophys
Haussinger D, Lang F (1992) Cell volume and hormone action. Trends Pharmacol Sci.
Haussinger D (1993) Cellular hydration state: an important determinant of protein catabolism in health and disease. Lancet
Hultman E, Soderlund K, Timmons JA (1996) Muscle creatine loading in man. J Appl Physiol 81:232-237
Green AL, Hultman E, Macdonald IA (1996) Carbohydrate ingestion augments skeletal muscle creatine accumulation during creatine supplementation in humans. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 271:E821-E826
Steenge GR, Simpson EJ, Greenhaff PL (200) Protein and carbohydrate-induced augmentation of whole body creatine retention in humans. J Appl Physiol 89:1165-1171