Creatine

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Table of Contents

Increased Strength

  • In 2003 the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research published a review of 22 studies which found that creatine combined with resistance training lead to an 8 percent greater increase in strength and a 14 percent greater increase in weight lifting performance, when compared to a placebo combined with resistance training. [Source]
  • In 2000 Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise published a double-blind study involving 23 male volunteers which found that creatine supplementation was more effective in increasing 1RM (1 rep max) and fat-free mass when compared to a placebo. [Source]
  • In 2002 The Journal of Family Practice published a meta-analysis of 16 studies which found that, in young men, creatine supplementation increased average weight lifted by 15 lbs for bench press and 21.5 lbs for squats when compared to a placebo. [Source]
  • In 2003 the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism published a study in which 18 non-resistance trained males underwent 4 weeks of training while assigned to creatine (7 day loading period followed by 5 grams per day for 21 days) or a placebo. Results showed that creatine increased strength, but only in subjects whose body mass was significantly increased. Greater increases in body mass were associated with greater strength gains. [Source]
  • In 2006 the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine published a study comparing creatine, creatine combined with astragalus/ginseng and a placebo in 44 older adults (aged 55-84) during a 12-week strength training program. Both creatine and the creatine/astragalus/ginseng supplement increased strength and lean mass more than the placebo, however individuals in the creatine/astragalus/ginseng supplement group lost significantly more body fat, gained more bench press strength and had greater self-reported vigor compared to creatine alone. [Source]
  • In 2006 Rossiiskii Fiziologicheskii Zhurnal Imeni I.M. Sechenova published a study in which two groups of 9 subjects each were assigned to a daily intake of either 5 grams of creatine or a placebo combined with a 10-week strength training program. Results showed a 29 percent increase in strength in the placebo group and a 40 percent increase in the creatine group. [Source]
  • In 2004 the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research published a double-blind study comparing 2.5 grams/day creatine monohydrate, 2.5 grams/day magnesium creatine chelate and a placebo in 31 weight-trained men. After 10 days of supplementation bench press workload increased significantly more for both creatine groups when compared to the placebo, though there was difference in performance between creatine groups. [Source]

Increased muscle cell count

  • In 2006 The Journal of Physiology published a double-blind study comparing the effects of a 16-week strength training program combined with either creatine, a placebo or a protein supplementation in 32 male subjects. At weeks 4, 8 and 16 the creatine group showed greater increases in muscle cells per muscle fiber compared to the protein and placebo groups. [Source]

Post-exercise supplementation – Creatine Compared to Protein

  • In 2001 Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise published a study in which 19 males supplemented either 10 grams of creatine monohydrate or 10 grams of protein after workouts during an 8-week strength training program. Gains in fat-free mass and strength were not significantly different between groups, though creatine lead to greater increases in total body mass. [Source]

Increased Upper body Strength

  • In 2017 Sports Medicine published a meta-analysis of 53 studies including 1138 individuals which concluded that creatine supplementation is effective in increasing upper body strength performance in exercises with a duration of less than 3 minutes. [Source]
  • In 2003 the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism published a review of 100 studies which confirmed that short-term creatine supplementation had positive effects on lean body mass when used in conjunction with various types of resistance training and upper body exercises. Creatine was not effective in improving running or swimming performance. [Source]

Increased Lower Body Strength

  • In 2015 Sports Medicine published a meta-analysis of 60 studies including 1,297 individuals which found that creatine is effective in improving lower limb strength performance in exercises lasting less than 3 minutes – regardless of user characteristics (age, gender), training protocols, supplementary dose or duration. [Source]

Creatine in highly trained athletes

  • In 2001 the Journal of Athletic Training published a study in which 25 highly trained NCAA Division IA collegiate football players were assigned to either a placebo or creatine supplementation at either 3 grams/day or 20 grams/day (for a 7 day loading period) followed by 5 grams/day for the remainder of a 10-week training program. Results showed that creatine, at either low or high dose, did not increase squat 1RM or body composition more than a placebo in highly trained athletes. [Source]

Creatine Loading for 5 Days

  • In 2009 the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research published a study in which 17 trained men were assigned to either a placebo or 20 grams of creatine (4 doses of 5 g per day) for 5 days. Results showed that a 5-day creatine loading phase coupled with resistance exercise lead to significant improvements in anaerobic power compared to a placebo (training alone). [Source]

Increased working capacity in elderly individuals

  • In 2007 The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging published a double-blind study in which 15 men and women, with an average age of 75 years, were assigned to either creatine or a placebo for 14 days. Results showed significant increases in grip strength and fatigue threshold. [Source]

Creatine with Beta-alanine

  • In 2006 the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism published a 10-week study involving 33 male collegiate football players which found that both creatine and creatine plus beta alanine increased strength significantly more than a placebo. Changes in lean body mass and body fat percentage, however, were improved greater with creatine/beta alanine compared to creatine alone. [Source]

Creatine with Betaine – no benefit to adding betaine

  • In 2012 Amino Acids published a double-blind study comparing creatine, creatine/betaine, betaine and a placebo. Results showed creatine increased muscle output while betaine did not provide any additional benefit when combined with creatine. Betaine alone did not outperform a placebo for increasing strength or power. [Source]

PEG-creatine

  • In 2010 the Journal of Strength and Conditioning published a double-blind study in which 22 untrained men were assigned to either a placebo or 5 grams/day polyethylene glycosylated creatine (PEG creatine) for a 28-day period in which no training took place. The creatine group saw a significant increase in 1RM for bench press, but not for peak power, mean power, body weight or 1RM leg press. The authors concluded that PEG-creatine can increase upper body strength in untrained individuals. [Source]

Muscular dystrophy

  • In 2011 The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews published a meta-analysis of 6 studies including 192 muscular dystrophy patients which found that short and medium-term creatine supplementation significantly increased strength compared to a placebo and was well tolerated in patients. [Source]

Duchenne Muscular dystrophy

  • In 2010 Magnetic Resonance Imaging published a study in which 33 boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy received either a placebo or 5 grams/day creatine for 8 weeks. Results showed that creatine was well tolerated and preserved muscle strength in the short-term, when compared to a placebo. [Source]

DM1 Muscular dystrophy –  No Benefit

  • In 2004 Muscle & Nerve published a double-blind, cross-over trial in which 34 adult myotonic muscular dystrophy type 1 (DM1) patients received either 5 grams/day creatine or a placebo for 4 months. Creatine did not improve muscle strength, body composition or activities of daily living. [Source]

Attenuate muscle loss and Improved muscular performance in older men

  • In 2002 Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise published a double-blind trial in which 18 men between the ages of 59 and 72 years were assigned to either creatine or placebo supplementation for 7 days. Compared to the placebo group, men in the creatine group saw increases in strength, power and lean body mass without any adverse effects. [Source]

ALS – No Effect

  • In 2008 Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis published a double-blind study in which ALS patients assigned to either 5 grams/day creatine or a placebo were followed for nine months. No improvements were seen in motor, respiratory or functional capacity. [Source]

Creatine with CLA – Increased muscle mass and decreased fat mass

  • In 2007 the Public Library of Science published a double-blind study in which 29 men and women over the age of 65 completed 6 months of resistance training while supplementing either 5 grams/day creatine and 6 grams/day CLA or a placebo. The creatine/CLA group saw greater improvements in most measurements of muscular endurance, strength, body fat and fat-free mass. [Source]

Muscle preservation

  • In 2009 the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research published a single-blind, crossover study which found that creatine helped preserve muscle better than a placebo in men who had one arm immobilized in a long arm plaster cast. [Source]

sarcopenia

  • In 2014 Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise published a meta-analysis of select studies including 357 adults which found that resistance training combined with creatine increased chest press and leg press 1 RM more than resistance training alone – though no difference was seen in total body mass or fat-free mass. [Source]

No enhanced muscle recovery

  • In 2007 the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research published a study in which 22 healthy weight-trained men ingested either a placebo or creatine for 10 days. On day 5 of supplementation subjects performed a squat protocol – results showed that creatine did not enhance recovery or reduce soreness or muscle damage. [Source]

Prevents Strength Loss after aerobic exercise

  • In 2014 the European Journal of Applied Physiology published a study in which 32 strength-trained men assigned to either a creatine or a placebo were tested for muscle strength and muscle endurance after completing aerobic exercise. Results showed that post endurance exercise the creatine group maintained better muscle endurance in both leg-press and bench-press compared to the placebo group. [Source]

Creatine with caffeine – no change in performance

  • In 2016 the Journal of Strength and Conditioning published a study in which 54 males were assigned to a 5-day supplemental period of either 5 grams creatine 4 times per day (20 g/day) alone, or in combination with 300 mg/day caffeine, 303 mg/day caffeine from coffee or a placebo. Results showed that neither creatine alone nor in combination with caffeine or coffee significantly affected upper or lower-body strength or sprint performance. [Source]

polyethylene glycosylated creatine

  • In 2009 the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research published a study involving 58 men who were assigned to a daily dose of either 5 g creatine monohydrate, 1.25 g polyethylene glycosylated (PEG) creatine, 2.5 g PEG creatine or a placebo. After a 30-day supplementation period, both PEG creatine and creatine monohydrate increased muscle strength to the same extent. [Source] 

HMB and Creatine – No effect on Trained athletes

  • In 2007 the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research published a study in which 30 elite rugby players were assigned to either HMB, creatine with HMB or a control group for 6 weeks. Tests before and after supplementation showed no effect of either creatine or creatine combined with HMB on muscle strength or endurance when compared to a control group. [Source]

Creatine and HMB – increased lean body mass strength

  • In 2001 Nutrition published a double-blind study in which 40 subjects were assigned to creatine, HMB, creatine with HMB or a placebo for 3 weeks of resistance training. At the end of the training period the creatine/HMB group gained 3.4 lbs of lean body mass compared to 2 lbs in the creatine group and .85 lbs in the HMB group. The creatine/HMB group also gained significantly more strength than either supplement alone, suggesting that the effects of creatine and HMB are additive. [Source]

Cycling off creatine – effects of a 30 day wash out period

  • In 2004 the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research published a study based on one individual which showed that a 30 day washout period may be insufficient for muscle creatine levels to return to normal for some individuals. [Source]

Reduced oxidative DNA damage

  • In 2011 the Journal of Strength and Conditioning published a double-blind study in which 27 resistance-trained men took either 20 grams of creatine per day or a placebo for 7 days and completed a resistance training protocol before and after supplementation. Blood tests revealed that creatine increased performance and prevented exercise-induced oxidative DNA damage and lipid peroxidation. [Source] 

Creatine Powder Vs Creatine Serum

  • In 2004 the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research published a double-blind, cross-over study in which 11 male athletes supplemented with creatine monohydrate powder and creatine serum on 2 separate occasions for 6 days each. Creatine monohydrate powder increased total work and peak power in a cycling sprint, but little change was seen after creatine serum. [Source]

Improved muscle strength but no effect on explosive power

  • In 2016 Nutrients published a double-blind study in which 30 explosive athletes consumed 20 grams of either a creatine or a placebo daily for 6 days. Results showed that creatine significantly improved maximal muscle strength but had no effect on explosive performance. [Source]

Creatine supplementation in untrained older adults

  • In 2016 Experimental Gerontology published a study in which 31 older untrained adults were assigned to either creatine or a placebo during 12 weeks of resistance training. The creatine group saw greater gains in muscle mass and males in the creatine group were able to train at a greater output over time compared to the placebo group. [Source]

Creatine in healthy older adults before or after exercise

  • In 2015 Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism published a double-blind, placebo-controlled study in which 39 adults between the ages of 50-71 were assigned to creatine either before or after resistance training. Creatine supplementation, regardless of timing, increased muscle strength and lean body mass more than a placebo. [Source]

Increased DHT

  • In 2009 the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine published a study in which 20 college-aged rugby players supplemented creatine or a placebo with a one week loading phase followed by 2 weeks of maintenance. Results showed that creatine increased DHT (dihydrotestosterone) – which, according to the authors of the study, may be partially responsible for its effects. [Source]

Increased Myostatin

  • In 2010 Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology published an 8-week, double-blind study involving 27 men which found that, compared to a placebo, creatine supplementation lead to greater decreases in serum myostatin (myostatin limits muscle growth) when combined with resistance training. [Source]

polymyositis or dermatomyositis

  • In 2007 Arthritis and Rheumatism published a 6-month, double-blind study involving 29 patients with dermatomyositis or polymyositis which found that, compared to a placebo, creatine combined with exercise lead to greater improvements in functional performance. [Source]

Improved Brain Performance in Vegetarians

  • In 2003 Proceedings, Biological Sciences published a 45-subject, double-blind, cross-over study which found that, compared to a placebo, 6 weeks of creatine supplementation in young, adult vegetarians had a significant positive effect in working memory and intelligence. [Source]

Huntington’s disease

  • In 2006 Neurology published a double-blind study in which 64 patients with Huntington’s disease were assigned to 8 grams per day creatine or a placebo for 16 weeks. Results showed creatine reduced an indicator of DNA damage that is elevated in Huntington disease patients. [Source]

Type 2 Diabetes

  • In 2011 Medicine and Science in Sports and Medicine published a 12-week, double-blind study in which 25 type 2 diabetic patients were assigned to either 5 grams of creatine per day or a placebo for 12-weeks while undergoing a training program. Results showed that creatine combined with exercise helped improve glycemic control. [Source]

Depression

  • In 2012 The American Journal of Psychiatry published an 8-week, double-blind study in which 52 women with major depressive order received either escitalopram (lexapro) with 5 grams/day creatine or escitalopram with a placebo. The creatine group saw significantly greater improvements in depression scores as early as week 2 of treatment, with improvements favoring creatine maintained at 4 and 8 weeks. [Source]

Creatine combined with Beta-alanine – Endurance performance increased

  • In 2007 Amino Acids published a 4-week, double-blind study comparing the effects of creatine, beta-alanine, creatine and beta-alanine together and a placebo on endurance in 55 men. The results showed that creatine and beta-alanine combined may potentially improve performance. [Source]
  • In 2008 the Journal of Dietary Supplements published an animal study testing the effects of creatine on endurance performance during high-intensity exercise in trained rats over a 28 day period. Creatine treated rats exhibited an 81 percent increase in endurance performance compared to baseline. [Source]

Anti-cancer

  • In 2016 Amino Acids published an animal study which showed that creatine supplementation reduced tumor growth in tumor-bearing rats by 30 percent compared to a placebo – though it did not affect overall survival rates. The authors note that the affect may be due to creatine’s role in attenuating acidosis, inflammation and oxidative stress. [Source]
  • In 2016 Amino Acids published a two-part study which found that creatine increased the anti-cancer effects of methylglyoxal (a known anti-cancer agent) both in vitro and in mice. [Source]

Improved memory in vegetarians

  • In 2011 The British Journal of Nutrition published a double-blind study in which 128 females consumed either 20 grams of creatine or a placebo for 5 days. Results showed that vegetarians saw improvements in memory, while no change was seen in meat eaters. [Source]

Exercise in the heat

  • In 2007 the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism published a 7-day (repeated) placebo-controlled study involving 24 subjects which found that 11.4 grams of creatine/day combined with glycerol lead to hyperhydration which reduced body temperature, heart rate and perceived effort during exercise in high temperatures and humidity. [Source]

Cystic Fibrosis

  • In 2003 the Journal of Cystic Fibrosis published a pilot study in which 18 cystic fibrosis patients (8-18 years of age) with pancreatic insufficiency received daily creatine for 12 weeks. Results showed consistent increases in muscle strength as well as improvements in general well-being. [Source]

Buffered Creatine (Kre-alkalyn) does not perform better than Creatine Monohydrate

  • In 2012 the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition published a double-blind study in which 36 resistance trained individuals were assigned to either creatine monohydrate or a buffered form of creatine (Kre-Alkalyn) for one month with equivalent doses while maintaining current training programs. Results showed no increase in strength or muscle mass of Kre-Alkalyn over creatine monohydrate and there was no evidence that Kre-Alkalyn resulted in fewer side effects than creatine monohydrate. [Source]

No liver or kidney toxicity

  • In 2015 Acta Cirurgica Brasileira published an animal study which found that high doses of creatine in rats did not cause liver or kidney toxicity in rats. [Source]
  • In 2002 the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism published a study in which 23 NCAA Division II football players were divided into a control group or creatine users, who averaged daily creatine consumption of 5 to 20 grams for .25 to 5.6 years. Blood analysis showed that long-term creatine supplementation had no detrimental effects on kidney or liver function in trained athletes. [Source]
  • In 2011 the European Journal of Applied Physiology published a double-blind study in which type 2 diabetic patients were assigned to either creatine or a placebo for 12 weeks. Creatine supplementation did not affect kidney function in type 2 diabetic patients. [Source]

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