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Creatine Monohydrate Supplements

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About Creatine Monohydrate Supplements

Creatine monohydrate is one of the oldest and most evidence-based sports nutrition supplements available today. It is used to restore muscle phosphocreatine and free creatine levels that become depleted during exercise, particularly after power-based exercises or high-intensity training. Phosphocreatine is the a natural anaerobic energy creator, meaning that oxygen is not required for the generation of ATP (energy) via this pathway.

 

Phosphocreatine donates a phosphorus molecule to ADP, rebuilding the energy molecule backup to ATP (adenosine triphosphate) in muscle. However, we only have a limited supply of phosphocreatine inside the muscle cell. Our own natural reserves become depleted within around ten seconds of any explosive maximal-effort training. After this, aerobic energy pathways are more heavily relied upon, such as glycolysis and beta-oxidation, which burn glucose and fat. 

 

Creatine is normally synthesized in the body from 3 amino acids, which are arginine, methionine (in the form of s-adenosylmethionine [SAMe]) and glycine. We normally produce around 1 gram per day and typically eat 1-2 grams through food sources, unless following a vegan or vegetarian diet. Dosages are typically 5 grams daily, which can be consumed with a substantial amount of carbohydrate or sugar to create an insulin surge, which facilitates the uptake into muscle tissue. However, larger athletes with minimal dietary intake may take up to 10 grams daily.

 

Creatine monohydrate entered the market in the early 1900s after being extracted from meat by Michel Eugene Chevreul in 1832 (fish is also an excellent source). Countless research has been published supporting the benefits of this tripeptide. A review article published in 2017 by Sports Medicine examined 53 studies, assessing performance with creatine supplementation versus placebo.

 

Creatine Monohydrate Benefits

The researchers concluded that creatine supplementation is effective for upper-limb strength performance, ideally for exercises that last up to 3 minutes. This is interesting, given that the phosphocreatine energy pathway is only put into significant use for intense exercises lasting around 10 seconds. This may be due to the competitive and psychological advantages obtained from enhanced performance towards the start of a short to medium duration event, such as an 800m run or 2km sculling race. 

 

Given that creatine plays such an important role in ATP synthesis, it is no surprise that other areas of the body respond favourably to supplementation. Research has indicated that creatine assists with improving mood, intelligence and working memory. With so many new and interesting creatine products available, a quality micronized pure creatine powder is still the best, which is the same as micronized creatine monohydrate.

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