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Creative Creatine

Creative Creatine
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[Editor's Note: Here at ProSource, we're always working tirelessly to make sure the ProSource customer experience is productive, beneficial, successful, and enjoyable. Usually that means ensuring each and every product is sourced from the highest-grade raw materials, created according to the strictest manufacturing protocols, sold at the lowest prices conceivable, and shipped to you at lightning speed. In the next few weeks, however, we're going to be addressing a new and exciting area of product improvement.

Bodybuilding's elite line of super-premium sports nutrition products is getting an elite new look worthy of its status in the industry and among serious athletes. And what better place to start the roll-out of our new package design than with ProSource Creatine Monohydrate, the long-established category leader? ProSource's Creatine is 100% sourced from Creapure creatine monohydrate, the world's best, as manufactured by AlxChem of Germany. Its superior micro-crystalline consistency allows for the swiftest absorption into muscle tissue, for greater cell volumization and consequent strength increase. Starting today, its new design reflects that unsurpassed superiority!

Creatine has been validated in more clinical studies than any other supplement, and now, to examine the science in greater depth, we're passing the baton to Anna Lepeley, PhD. Take it away, Anna!]

In the world of bodybuilding and athletics, where there are as many differing opinions as there are athletes, there's one subject upon which every athlete can agree. When it comes to creatine, one product towers over all others in bioavailability, potency, and efficacy. That creatine is CreaPureTM creatine monohydrate, and it's the creatine you'll find in a superior-quality product like ProSource brand Creatine Monohydrate, which is sourced from 100% CreaPureTM.

CreaPureTM is 100% creatine monohydrate, the most effective and soluble form of creatine, and is the ultimate complement to your hard work at the gym and/or on the field. Free of additives and impurities, CreaPureTM stands behind its name, delivering a pure, untainted form of creatine monohydrate.

Creatine supplementation has grown increasingly popular since its introduction into the supplement industry in the early 1990s.  The growing popularity of creatine monohydrate was accompanied by a growing number of supporting clinical research studies, making it the most scientifically-examined form of creatine to this day.  Unfortunately, the quality of many creatine products began to suffer as other forms of creatine started being introduced into the market.  

Many supplement companies will cut corners in their budget by outsourcing cheaper [potentially cross-contaminated] ingredients from other countries, sacrificing the purity and quality of the creatine with less effective forms of creatine and fillers.  Other companies introduce unproven, buffered forms of creatine, and hype them to the skies, despite the complete lack of clinical data. Then they jack up their prices accordingly.

Unfortunately, you're literally flushing all your money down the toilet with many of these products, peeing them out (in the form of creatinine), with little to none of it going to your muscles.  CreaPureTM provides you with the highest quality of creatine monohydrate, delivering creatine straight to your muscles.  And, in the case of ProSource Creatine Monohydrate, you can get your CreaPureTM at a price you can be excited about.  

The Science Behind Creatine
Creatine is a naturally occurring nitrogenous compound stored primarily in skeletal muscle in the form of phosphocreatine [phosphorylated creatine] and free creatine.(1,2)  Phosphocreatine (PCr) aids in the production of energy for the body, particularly high-intensity, short-duration exercise of anaerobic nature such as weightlifting or sprinting.  Exercise of this nature relies largely on the phosphagen energy system (also known as the ATP-PC system).  The ATP-PC system produces energy at the fastest out of the all other energy systems (anaerobic glycolysis, aerobic glycolysis, beta-oxidation); however, its duration is the shortest.  

During high-intensity exercise, muscle contraction is fueled via splitting of the bond holding adenosine triphosphate (ATP) together, releasing energy and creating an accumulation of adenosine diphosphate (ADP) as a byproduct.  Intramuscular PCr stores quickly regenerate ATP by donating its phosphate to ADP, catalyzed by the enzyme, creatine phosphokinase (CPK).  Prolonged, repeated muscle contractions of high-intensity inevitably lead to fatigue once ATP and PCr levels become low.  Resynthesis of ATP at a rate fast enough to supply the energy demands of high-intensity exercise depends on PCr stores. Thus, once PCr stores become depleted, the ability to maintain maximum-effort ceases and ATP is produced at a slower rate via other metabolic pathways (i.e. anaerobic glycolysis) depending on the nature of exercise.  Therefore, increasing intramuscular PCr stores is conducive to maintaining ATP turnover rates during exercise that require maximal muscular strength or power.(3)

Endogenous production of creatine occurs in the liver via conversion of arginine, glycine and methionine.(4) Dietary creatine has a high bioavailability and passes through the digestive system intact into the blood stream to muscle as PCr. Exogenous creatine may be obtained through dietary sources like fish (i.e. herring, salmon, tuna) and red meat (i.e. farmed meat, wild game). The amount of meat and fish consumption, however, required to elicit an ergogenic benefit may not be convenient, practical or cost-efficient.  For example, a 1.1 kg of raw steak contains 5 grams of creatine.(3)  Creatine monohydrate (CM) powder, however, provides a practical, convenient and cost-efficient method of increasing intramuscular PCr, while also facilitating manipulation of dosage.  

Creatine monohydrate is the most extensively studied form of creatine.  One of the most consumed dietary supplements, creatine monohydrate has consistently demonstrated successful increases in PCr stores following acute and chronic consumption.(1,3,5,6) Research has also demonstrated significant increases in strength performance resultant of increased PCr stores.(7,8) Additional supporting research has observed significant increases in strength performance as a result of both, short- and long-term creatine monohydrate intake.(9,10) Izquierdo (et al.11) found significant improvements in lower body strength and power output, as well as repeated-sprint performance and jumping ability in a fatigued state, when male subjects underwent a five-day CM loading phase.  Additional literature further supports the advantageous effects of CM intake, observing enhancements in various indices of exercise performance (i.e. cycling power, bench press repetition volume, swimming performance, soccer-specific skills).(12-15)

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How to Use Creatine -- What Research Suggests
Both acute (five-day load) and chronic (lower/maintenance dose) methods of creatine consumption have shown significant, favorable effects on body composition, increasing lean muscle mass.(8-10) Research examining the chronic consumption of creatine has demonstrated significant increases in lean muscle mass accompanied by significant decreases in body fat.  Creatine loading (e.g. five grams, four times a day for five days) elicits the most dramatic increase in PCr stores.  Lower creatine doses (i.e. 5-10 grams per day), however, have also demonstrated significant increases in parameters associated with enhancement of high-intensity, short-duration physical activity/exercise. (16-19) A long-term, lower dose of creatine intake increases PCr stores to the same extent as with loading, however, at a gradual rate.(6)

It is common practice to initiate a creatine regimen with a loading phase followed by a maintenance phase (10,20) or start with a [lower] maintenance dose alone.  It has been reported that creatine loading is associated with an increase in body weight of approximately 2-4 pounds.(21) Therefore, creatine loading may not be ideal for athletes whose performance may be negatively affected by weight gain (i.e. running, swimming).(22) Initiating creatine intake with a long-term, lower dose provides the ergogenic benefits while avoiding the potential for the [minor] adverse effects (i.e. gastrointestinal distress) and weight gain that have been reported with loading/high dose.(23-25) Candow et al.(17) reported greater muscle gains from resistance training when creatine was combined with a superior-quality protein such as NytroWhey Ultra Elite, versus creatine alone.  Thus, incorporating protein and creatine in your nutrient-timing regimen may provide optimal anabolic effects.

Creatine and Resistance Training
Creatine monohydrate optimizes resistance-training adaptations via augmentation of satellite cell proliferation and increased myonuclei within skeletal muscle fibers, both translating to enhanced muscle hypertrophy. In response to physiological stimuli (i.e. high-intensity resistance exercise/strength training) skeletal muscle regenerates and repairs itself with the help of satellite cells.  Satellite cells are the resident stem cells located along the peripheral of muscle fibers (between the basal lamina and sarcolemma of the muscle fiber). (26) Upon disruption of the basal lamina (i.e. resistance exercise-induced muscle damage), satellite cells proliferate, generating myoblasts for the purpose of muscle growth, repair and regeneration.(27) Thus, myonuclei count increases occur concomitantly with satellite cell proliferation, promoting additional satellite cell concentration to accommodate to the increased number of muscle cells.(28) The more satellite cells you have, the more muscle cells you will acquire, translating to an increase in cross-sectional areas of muscle fiber size.

Olsen et al.29 found that creatine monohydrate (7-day loading phase followed by a 15-week maintenance phase [of 6 grams per day]) intake significantly increased myonuclei concentration per muscle fiber and amplified the satellite cell count greater than resistance training alone.  Hence, creatine monohydrate consumption is complementary to the hypertrophic effects of resistance training, increasing muscle fiber size to a greater extent than expected.  In addition, creatine monohydrate supplementation, in combination with heavy resistance training, has also demonstrated significant enhancements in myosin heavy chain protein synthesis.(30)

Creatine monohydrate intake, in combination with resistance training, has also been associated with increases in insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-1), an anabolic hormone known to induce skeletal muscle hypertrophy.  Burke (et al.31) found significant increases in IGF-1 following 8 weeks of creatine monohydrate consumption, combined with resistance training, among male and females subjects.  Not surprisingly, vegetarians, who typically have low initial creatine stores, showed the greatest response to creatine in this study, experiencing the greatest increase in lean mass compared to non-vegetarians.  Vegetarians are often classified as "responders" to creatine supplementation due to their lack of creatine in diet, thereby, increasing sensitivity and dramatic responses to supplementation.(32)

Creatine and Women
Previous research has found negligible effects of creatine on females supported by the theory that they may be classified as "nonresponders".(33)  Nonresponders may be characterized by having substantial total creatine levels (free creatine and PCr), a higher type I to type II muscle fiber ratio, smaller muscle cross-sectional area and/or lower fat-free mass.(2,7)  Female muscle composition, typically, encompasses a greater size distribution of Type I to Type II (IIa and IIx) muscle fibers.(34) This may pose as a deterrent for women, and men with nonresponder characteristics, seeking to benefit from creatine supplementation.  However, the aforementioned traits simply suggest that the nonresponders may not respond to creatine loading, but may benefit from long-term, lower-dose creatine supplementation.  

Research findings classifying females as nonresponders is inconsistent.  A number of studies have observed increases in PCr stores, increases in lean mass, decreases in body fat and improvements in strength and high-intensity exercise capacity in female subjects (including non-vegetarians) assigned to loading and maintenance doses of creatine monohydrate. (20,35-38) Research has also observed creatine loading without increases in body weight in female subjects.(36)  Creatine monohydrate provides an abundance of benefits that are not gender-exclusive.   

Benefits of Creatine: In-and-Out of the Weight Room
In addition to the consistent research supporting creatine monohydrate's efficacy for enhancing body composition and weightlifting/athletic performance, creatine also provides benefit to brain function.  Rae (et al.39) observed significant improvements in working memory and performance among young, adult vegetarians assigned to 5 grams of creatine monohydrate a day for six weeks.  Recent research has also observed significant improvements when creatine monohydrate was administered to patients with major depression.(40,41)

Creatine is also of great benefit for the elderly whose total creatine stores in skeletal muscle decline with age.  Creatine monohydrate consumption has shown to improve physical functional capacity (i.e. promote skeletal muscle hypertrophy, increase strength, increase muscular endurance, promote movement speed, delay neuromuscular fatigue)(42-44), supporting optimal health and independence among the elderly.

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An often-overlooked benefit of creatine monohydrate in the realm of sports nutrition is its contributory role in protecting the integrity of cells.  Creatine monohydrate is an antioxidant that has exhibited direct scavenging of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species.(45)  This has lead to increased attention in medical research; examining creatine monohydrate intake and its positive effects on diseases associated with oxidative stress (i.e. Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Parkinson's disease).(46,47)

With so many creatine products to choose from it becomes difficult for consumers to know which creatine is best.  Some products will contain various forms of creatine (i.e. creatine ethyl ester, creatine pyruvate, creatine citrate).  The efficacy and safety of these other forms of creatine, however, remains in question.  Other forms of creatine lack the abundance of data to support the efficacy, bioavailability and safety demonstrated by research analyzing creatine monohydrate.(48) Spillane et al.(49) revealed superior bioavailability and increases in intramuscular creatine stores with creatine monohydrate when compared to creatine ethyl ester.  Creatine ethyl ester significantly increased creatinine levels, indicating increased degradation/low bioavailability.

Nothing Compares to CreaPureTM!
Avoid the costs, questionable ingredients and overall dubious quality of other forms of creatine and buy a pure and reliable creatine monohydrate, like CreaPureTM, as found in ProSource Creatine Monohydrate.  CreaPureTM provides a superior form of 100% creatine monohydrate that surpasses its competitors; free of the impurities found in other brands (i.e. dihydrotriazine, creatinine, sodium, and dicyandiamide).  Unlike multi-ingredient products that typically contain an undisclosed amount of creatine, CreaPureTM allows you to successfully manipulate your dose of creatine intake at your discretion, without interfering with other components of your overall supplement regimen.  When you buy ProSource brand creatine, you get CreaPureTM an ultra-low cost without sacrificing the integrity and efficacy of the product.  Achieve gains in exercise/sport performance while reaping the aforementioned benefits of creatine monohydrate intake with CreaPureTM.


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40.Lyoo IK, Yoon S, Hwang J, Kim JE, Won W, Bae S, Renshaw PF. (2012). A randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial of oral creatine monohydrate augmentation for enhanced response to a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor in women with major depressive disorder. Am J Psychiatry.169(9):937-45.

41. Roitman S, Green T, Osher Y, Karni N, Levine J. (2007). Creatine monohydrate in resistant depression: a preliminary study. Bipolar disorders. 9(7):754-758.

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45. Sestili P, Martinelli C, Bravi C, Piccoli G, Curci R, Battistelli M, Falcieri E, Agostini D, Gioacchini AM, Stocchi V. (2006). Creatine supplementation affords cytoprotection in oxidatively injured cultured mammalian cells via direct antioxidant activity. Free Radic Biol Med. 40(5):837-49.

46. Tarnopolsky MA, Mahoney DJ, Vajsar J, Rodríguez C, Doherty TJ, Roy BD, Biggar D. (2004). Creatine monohydrate enhances strength and body composition in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Neurology. 62(10):1771-7.

47. The NINDS NET-PD Investigators. (2006). A randomized, double-blind, futility clinical trial of creatine and minocycline in early Parkinson disease. Neurology. 66(5):664-671.

48. Jäger R, Purpura M, Shao A, Inoue T, Kreider RB. (2011). Analysis of the efficacy, safety, regulatory status of novel forms of creatine. Amino Acids. 40(5):1369-1383.

49. Spillane M, Cooke M, Harvey T, Greenwood M, Kreider R, Willoughby DS. (2009). The effects of creatine ethyl ester supplementation combined with heavy resistance training on body composition, muscle performance, and serum and muscle creatine levels. JISSN. 6:6.

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