Oral Creatine (Cr) ingestion has been shown to increase athletic performance, and it therefore comes as no surprise that Cr is currently used by many athletes as a performance-boosting supplement. With Cr becoming ever more popular, it is important to understand the real benefits of taking it, and how these benefits happen. In general, the majority of those taking it, do not know the scientific implications that creatine has on the body during various different forms of exercise. It has generally been considered that Cr supplementation, leading to an improved muscle performance during repeated bouts of exercise, is due to a higher phosphorcreatine (PCr) concentration and to a faster rate of PCr resynthesis during the rest periods. There is also more recent evidence to suggest that during Cr feeding, muscle mass might increase, which could lead to improvements in muscle work. (http://jap.physiology.org/content/88/4/1181.full)
Creatine helps to give explosive energy and to restore the universal energy system in the human body, the ATP energy system. For anyone experiencing a plateau in weight training creatine supplementation could be the answer to break through the barrier. Creatine supplementation increases the intracellular pool of phosphocreatine in skeletal muscle. Phosphocreatine provides a reserve of energy to rapidly regenerate ATP, which is consumed as a result of muscle contraction. Creatine has been studied in hundreds of clinical trials and has shown benefits including increased muscle strength, power and size (Sundell et al., 2011).
The use of creatine supplements to increase muscle creatine content above approximately 20 mmol/kg dry muscle mass has been shown to lead to improvements in high-intensity, intermittent high-intensity and even endurance exercise, however this is within mainly non-weight bearing endurance activities. It is generally considered that an effective supplementation scheme requires a dosage of 20 g/day for 4-6 days, and 5 g/day thereafter. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12427051)
Oral creatine monohydrate has been shown to increases skeletal muscle creatine concentration by 16% to 50%. Although there has in the past been some controversy regarding the ergogenic benefits, there has been more recent studies that have shown that oral creatine supplementation improves maximal resistance exercise performance in previously trained young men.
So to put it simply, the ergogenic properties of creatine may be a result of allowing an increased amount of work to be completed during training and decreasing the amount of recovery time.
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