Maximize Increases in Creatine with Carbohydrate

By Chad Kerksick, PhD
Oct 16, 2013

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Heavy strength training places great demands on the short-term energy systems found within our body.  To maximize performance, athletes need to make dietary choices that maximize the levels of both phosphocreatine and glycogen within their muscles.  Supplementation with creatine monohydrate is extremely popular and has been supported by hundreds of published studies to increase maximal strength and anaerobic power.  Maximizing muscle glycogen is equally important as it provides fuel for many different types of intense, short-term bouts of exercise.  A classic study performed by European researchers highlighted that taking creatine with carbohydrate may increase the amount of creatine stored inside our muscles ( Green, Hultman et al. 1996 )Over a one-week loading period, one study ingested 20 grams of creatine per day while another group ingested the same amount of creatine but combined it with a large dose of carbohydrates.  Blood, urine and muscle samples were collected and significantly greater amounts of total creatine was found in the muscle when creatine ingestion was conbined with carbohydrate.  In addition, blood levels of insulin, a key hormone that helps to rebuild muscle glycogen, was significantly greater when carbohydrate was provided.  In conclusion, combining creatine with carbohydrate is an effective way to increase muscle creatine levels and support recovery of muscle glycogen.



Green, A. L., E. Hultman, et al. (1996). "Carbohydrate ingestion augments skeletal muscle creatine accumulation during creatine supplementation in humans." Am J Physiol 271(5 Pt 1): E821-826.

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