CREATINE: HOW, WHEN AND WHY
In a market full of fraudulent advertisements and half-truths, creatine monohydrate is by far one of the few best-studied sports supplements (there are currently over 100 publications), with 70% of studies showing potency and anaerobic effectiveness (while others have not confirmed the relevant results) and that it is gaining more relevance, especially for people who eat little red meat, little meat and fish in general, or do NOT consume animal products (such as vegetarians / vegans).
HOW IT WORKS
The increase in muscle creatine is important because studies have shown that performance differences are proportional to this increase. However, the ability to increase muscle deposits depends on the levels present in muscle BEFORE supplementation, with subjects with lower starting amounts achieving better storage (20-40%) compared to subjects with higher starting levels because they can store less (total 10-20%) .
In 2004, Syrotuik and Bell (2004) gave a classification of Greenheff characteristics, which spoke of subjects “responding” and “not responding”, citing individual responses (good or zero) to creatine supplementation .
The results concluded that subjects who generally respond well:
- They have a lower initial amount of intramuscular creatine and can therefore absorb and assimilate large amounts through supplementation.
- They have a higher percentage of type II muscle fibers (fast);
- They have a larger muscle cross-section (more hypertrophied muscles)
- They have a lot of muscle mass
Since the liver breaks down this molecule and the kidneys remove it, one of the most common myths concerns its potential dangers. However, numerous studies have unequivocally shown that creatine has no harmful effects on men in the short or long term, while being a safe liver and kidney supplement.
CREATINE & WOMEN
With regard to the women’s sector, there is widespread debate as a 2002 Dempsey meta-analysis concluded that there was no sign of improvement in the provision of strength or strength to women. Results, confirmed by Ferguson and Syrotuik (2006), showing that creatine supplementation does NOT provide any improvement in women who trained with resistance for 10 weeks compared to the group who trained WITHOUT supplementation. Researchers have hypothesized that inefficiency may be related to female gender, which have shown POSITIVE EFFECTS on anaerobic capacity during race in men, but not women. However, other subsequent and previous studies (Brenner et al., 2000; Kambis and Pizzedaz, 2003; Eckerson et al., 2004; Gotshalk et al., 2008) have documented an IMPROVEMENT of anaerobic parameters in young, athletic, physically active or older women (58-71 years), although an increase in muscle volume or weight has not been shown.
MODALITIES OF EMPLOYMENT:
The literature mainly describes three labor protocols:
- LOADING AND MAINTENANCE: loading phase from 0.3 g / kg / day (or 20 g / day) for 5-7 days followed by 3-5 g / day;
- COUNT THE COUNT: 3 g / day without loading phase;
- TAKE CYCLE: as a 1st but repeating new download phase every 3 or 4 weeks
Increases in muscle creatine deposition between 10% and 40% have been demonstrated with similar efficacy between protocols. The only difference concerns the ergogenic effect on performance, which in the unloaded protocol is more gradual as the creatine reservoir fills. In addition, cyclical intake was performed to avoid suppression ( suppression ) of creatine transporters, although another study found this was not tested until after 16 weeks of chronic supplementation.
The loading phase may require a maximum duration of up to 2-3 days, especially when the intake is tested in conjunction with proteins and / or carbohydrates. In fact, the TIME recommended for creatine supplementation is compatible with most insulin-stimulating meals (carbohydrates and / or proteins are abundant), as the insulin produced in response has been shown to improve the transport of creatine at the intramuscular level In fact, consumption of 100 g of carbohydrates leads to an increase in insulin by 300-500%, and 64 g of protein leads to an increase of 100-200%, while a combination of both increases it by 600-800%
But even more interestingly, it has been suggested in recent years that the administration of a loading dose of CREATIN (20 g divided into 4 doses of 5 g) during protocols may be beneficial, as creatine has been shown to improve sensitivity to insulin at the muscle level and is able to promote greater supercompensation of muscle glycogen stores
Creatine Monohydrate has been shown to be a safe and inexpensive supplement that has a positive effect on performance in most male athletes.
To get the ergogenic benefits by increasing muscle mass, there is no need to carry out a load-maintenance phase, as in the long term (after about a month) the levels of muscle saturation and performance improvement are similar, maintain a constant intake (when using less total creatine) and It is enough to take 3 to 5 grams of creatine daily.
However, when the goal is to maximize muscle glycogen synthesis, especially in the strategic refed phases, when large amounts of carbohydrates are consumed for one or two days, do a creatine load with 20g (distributed in 4 shots of 5g ) might be helpful.