Creatine FAQ
From: "Deano" <Deano@jd.co.uk>
Subject: Creatine FAQ Version 3 (which should be the last )
Date: 1999/06/02
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Hello all,

As far as I am concerned, I now consider this FAQ to be completed, unless
anyone can point out any vital additions or glaring errors?

Let me know etc.

Cheers,

Deano

Creatine FAQ
*****************

What is creatine?
********************
* Creatine is a nutrient naturally found in all our bodies. It is a
combination of 3 amino acids; arginine, glycine and methionine. Creatine
helps provide the energy our muscles need to move, particularly quick and
explosive movements. Muscle contraction is initially fuelled by ATP
adenosine diphosphate ). There is only enough ATP to provide energy for
approximately 10 seconds. For this energy system to continue, more ATP is
required. Creatine phosphate gives up its phosphate molecule to ADP, thus
recreating ATP.

Increasing the muscle's supply of creatine phosphate helps increase the rate
in which the body can supply ATP. This increases the muscles capacity to do
work and improves the energy efficiency of the muscle.

Research shows Creatine to be effective in improving training intensity and
recovery. It is able to pass through the gut wall (stomach) and into the
bloodstream intact and upon entering the muscle cells, is converted into
Creatine Phosphate (CP).

What is Creatine Phosphate?
**********************************
Creatine Phosphate is an organic compound in muscle fibres that is fractured
enzymatically for the production of ATP.

What is Adenosine Tri Phosphate (ATP)?
*************************************************
ATP is the organic compound found in muscle which, upon being broken down
enzymatically, yields energy for muscle contraction.

Creatine enhances your body's ability to make protein within the muscle
fibres, which also increases your muscle mass (Creatine increases cellular
hydration. The hydrated muscle has increased permeability, which allows more
amino acids into the muscle cell). Building up a supply of these contractile
proteins ( actin and myosin ) increases your muscles ability to perform
physical work.

The bottom line here, is that creatine will allow you to to perform more
repetitions with a given weight. This will increase the time under tension,
thus increasing the recruitment of muscle fibres, which will in turn
increase the number of fibres stimulated. It also prevents your body from
relying on another energy system called glycolysis, which has lactic acid as
a by-product. Lactic acid creates the burning sensation you feel during
intense exercise.

Does this mean I will be able to lift more or run faster?
***************************************************************

Indirectly, YES! Directly, POSSIBLY! Creatine does not make YOU stronger or
faster, YOU make YOU faster or stronger. Creatine allows you to train at a
higher intensity level and to recover faster. If your recovery is better
then you are in a fresher more rested state before you commence your next
session and as a result you will derive more benefit from this session than
would otherwise have been possible.

Let's use the Bench Press as an example: Prior to Creatine our subject,
let's call him "Maximus" (mac-zim-us) was doing 4 sets on the Bench Press.
His goal was to do 4 sets of 8 repetitions with 225lbs, he usually got 8,8,6
and 4. By sets 3 and 4 he was fatigued and as a result he could not reach
his goal.

When Maximus takes Creatine he is likely to see an improvement in recovery
significant enough to enable him to achieve his goal of 4 sets of 8
repetitions. Now if Maximus continues to use Creatine, eat sensibly, train
with intensity and passion over a 12-16 week period it would be possible for
him to increase his Bench Press to @ 250lbs for 4 sets of 8 repetitions.

Finally - remember you have to do the work! Use Creatine to progress not to
standstill.

Where is Creatine Found Naturally?
******************************************
You may be asking, "Why do I need it if it is found naturally in my body".
Well, the reason is that most people only ingest about one gram of creatine
from food sources per day. That, coupled with avg endogenous production of
another gram, totals a relatively paltry 2 grams of creatine per day. If you
are a heavy consumer of red meat, don't expect dramatic results from
creatine supplementation ( 1 pound of beef equals approximately 2 grams of
creatine, and 4.6 grams in every pound of herring. Over 2 grams per pound in
most fish).

Those likely to experience the best results are vegetarians. Vegetarians
synthesise the supplement just as their carnivorous brethren do; they seldom
top off their muscle stores of creatine since they avoid the rich food
sources such as beef. As a consequence, they react well to creatine.
Creatine supplements are suitable for even hardcore vegans, since the
product is synthetic and not derived from animal sources.

Can Creatine become toxic with long term use?
*******************************************************
In truth, nobody knows. Although the body makes only 1-2 grams per day, the
odds are good that your body can handle an intake of 5 or more grams per
day. Anybody over 200 pounds can take 10 grams quite safely provided that
they drink sufficient fluids ( to avoid cramping ).

Some people have been taking as much as 20-30 grams a day since it was 1st
available in 1990.

Is Creatine Safe?
*********************
Yes, Creatine is a natural amino acid present in the body of humans and
animals. The human body has 100-115 grams of creatine in the form of
creatine phosphate. No negative side effects have been noted in the research
with the recommended levels of supplementation.

Are there any noted side effects?
**************************************
Creatine is so efficient at shuttling water into the intramuscular
compartment, that an emergent side effect associated with it is that of
muscle cramping. This most often occurs when too little fluid is consumed
whilst supplementing with creatine.

Muscle Cramping, strains and tears are all anecdotal evidence that are not
supported by scientific fact. Creatine draws water away from the internal
working organs and therefore if you take a lot with no water then a mild
stomach cramp will occur. How to avoid this? Simple: drink 1 pint of water
with every dose!

Water makes sense for an athlete and most of us are guilty of consuming way
too little. In an ideal world we should drink 4-5pints of water a day. It
will benefit us and also benefit the CM we are taking. The extra water will
help maximise the effects of the CM.

When Is The Best Time to Take Creatine?
*************************************************
For best results, on training days, take creatine after your workout. It
will
not make you nauseous and is best taken at this time in order to replenish
lost stores. If you wish to take more on a training day ( i.e 10 grams ),
then take half pre-workout and remaining half post-workout.

How much should I take?
*****************************
Recommended dosages are as follows: -

Less than or equal to 140lbs = 5-6grams per day is maintenance
141lbs to 168lbs = 6-7.5 grams per day is maintenance
169lbs to 199lbs = 8 grams per day is maintenance
200lbs to 242lbs = 8-10 grams per day is maintenace
242lb+ = 10-12 grams per day

NB - please note a level teaspoon is roughly 3 grams. Always divide the dose

Ways to Take Creatine.
****************************
You will find many different recommendations on how to take creatine.
Studies have shown that you get a 60% greater cell uptake of creatine if you
combine it with a simple sugar base, such as grape juice ( naturally rich in
glucose ). A big insulin spike will push the cretaine into the muscle.

Do not ever take creatine with orange juice! Very simply it negates the
positive effects due to it's acidity. This is presently a matter for open
debate, but possibly the best way to take CM is with warm water; you can add
simple carbohydrate if required. Cranberry juice is recommended if you are
prone to upset stomachs, it can help alleviate the upset.

Creatine Shuttle's -  Theory is that in order to maximise the effects of
Creatine consumption it is necessary to take it with a simple carbohydrate .
The idea is that this will promote an insulin spike which will "shuttle" CM
into your muscles.

The basic ingredient in all shuttles is Creatine and Dextrose. In a 1000
gram container most will have 200 grams of creatine and 800 grams of
dextrose. Some will throw in extras like glutamine etc. but in all honesty
not enough to make a difference.

Why use a shuttle? In today's fast paced world it is really only for
convenience. They are more expensive but every convenience food/drink always
is!

How much are they? 1kg containers are on sale in stores for between £28 -
£40. £40-00 is really taking the piss. You will get at best 1 month from a
1kg container.

Advisory note: Buy it if you want but only use it on your training days. On
non-training days only take regular CM ( Creatine Monohydrate ).

If the idea is to shuttle CM into your system then possibly the only time
this should be taken is either before or during a workout.

Do I need to initially go through the loading phase?
***********************************************************
No, this is not necessary. A mere 3 grams of creatine per day for 28 days
results in the same muscle content of creatine as that of a six day load
program. Thus, if you wanted to get off creatine, it would take about a
month to reach normal muscle stores. Taking even large amounts of creatine
as in the load phase ) doesn't appear to inhibit the body's creatine
synthesis after you cease using it.

Will I lose weight or muscle mass if I stop using it?
********************************************************
There is no reason to expect muscle loss. You will, however, drop a few
pounds, since creatine causes water retention in the intracellular tissues
as opposed to bloating caused by sodium ingestion).

Does Creatine make you retain water?
*********************************************
No. Creatine draws water from the body to do its work. There is a difference
between cell volumization and water retention. Cell volumization leads to
more water inside the cells, making the muscle bigger and firmer. Water
retention, the process that makes the muscles look smooth, happens outside
the muscle cells.

How does Creatine help muscle grow?
*********************************************
Intensity is necessary to achieve natural strength gains and muscle growth
or increased athletic performance. Muscle growth takes place when the muscle
has been overloaded. Without heavy sets, your muscle will remain small.
Creatine promotes intense lifting by recycling the necessary energy molecule
ATP. Creatine also buffers the development of lactic acid allowing for a
more enduring workout. As you know, lactic acid build-up is one of the main
causes of exercise-related muscle fatigue.

What about Quality, is it all the same?
********************************************
Avoid creatine that originates from China, this is because their quality
does not match European versions. Chinese creatine has higher levels of
impurities and does not mix easily. Look for certification on the bottle. It
is also recommended that you purchase a recognised brand name (i.e
Tropicana, Prolab ).

What you really want is CM that was good when it left the factory and that
has not been cut. When they test a brand and say it comes back as 50% pure
this usually means that out of 1000grams only 500 are CM and the rest could
be soda ash, dextrose etc. What it does not say is that the 500grams of CM
in there is probably 99%+ pure.

It should not be 100% pure. If you see this the company is focusing on hype.
99.9% is accepted as the highest we can get. Stick anything through a mass
spec and you'll never get 100%. In fact stick the same sample through twice
in a row and you could get a slightly different reading i.e. 99.7% and 99.6%

If you see brands saying 100.5% This is based on standard Pharmacopeia
guidelines saying that good stuff is say 99.5% then their's is 100.5% of
99.7% which is 99.9%.

Most CM out on the marketplace is reputable - there are one or two bogus
brands as with everything in life but by and large most are as they purport
to be.

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----
DISCLAIMER
****************
THE INFORMATION CONTAINED WITHIN THIS ARTICLE IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES
ONLY. MEMBERS OF URB PUT THIS FAQ TOGETHER TO HIGHLIGHT THE MAIN POINTS OF
INTEREST REGARDING CREATINE I.E. WHAT IS AND HOW IT CAN HELP YOU.

ALL THE SHORT TO MEDIUM TERM STUDIES CONDUCTED TO DATE SUPPORT THE STATEMENT
AND THE POINTS PUT FORWARD IN THE FAQ THAT CREATINE MONOHYDRATE IS A SAFE
AND WORTHWHILE ERGOGENIC AID TO A CAREFULY STRUCTURED AND IMPLEMENTED
TRAINING ROUTINE. IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT AT PRESENT NO LONG TERM STUDIES
EXIST TO EITHER SUPPORT OR DISPROVE THE CURRENT FINDINGS.

THIS FAQ IS NOT PUT FORWARD AS SCIENTIFIC FACT IT IS BASED ON KNOWLEDGE IN
THE PUBLIC DOMAIN MOST OF WHICH EMANATED FROM SCIENTIFIC FINDINGS. MEMBERS
OF URB OR THE SITE WHERE THIS IS HOSTED ARE MERELY PROVIDING INFORMATION,
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