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       Fitness Tips For 10/12/2004          

“Research Grade” Creatine is still a key to great results!

By Daniel Gastelu, M.S., MFS, Director of Nutritional Sciences of the 
International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA), author, trainer of 
fitness trainers, and sports nutrition and dietary supplement 
industry expert.  

One of the best kept secrets in the sports nutrition industry is 
research grade creatine; the highest quality of creatine used in 
research studies. The results of the most recent research studies 
continue to substantiate that research grade creatine works to help 
increase strength and muscle size at a faster rate. 

But what about the magazine ads? Each month after I read through the 
fitness and bodybuilding magazines, I find many of the ads for sports 
nutrition products perplexing, some of them outright fantasy. These 
days more then ever the market place has become a new-ingredient 
horse-race; you know, products with new and different combinations of 
ingredients making “I’m better then” claims. Tragically, I see too 
many people, too often, getting diverted away from what scientific 
studies prove work best, to get you to try some new hype-of-the-month 
product instead. The number one question people ask me at seminars 
is how do you know what works and what does not? Second question is, 
what should I take?

Well, taking products with research proven ingredients, the ones with 
scientific studies backing their claims, is a good starting point. Now, 
I don’t mean that ingredients without good scientific studies do not 
work. I have worked on the cutting edge of science my entire career, 
formulating and inventing products based on biochemical and 
physiological premises, as well as through testing and evaluation 
with all sorts of research. Including gathering information from people 
like you, pumping iron day in and day out to get big and strong, and 
keep good notes on how your bodies respond to new nutrition products. 
But, when I have to make a final decision about an ingredient, the ones 
that have the most human clinical studies usually win the selection 
race, with an occasional exception. Which leads me to the creatine 
story, keeping in mind that no one ingredient will do it all for you. 
In fact my list of efficacious sports nutrition ingredients keeps 
getting longer, and has filled entire books writing about them. 

What about creatine? 

From reading through the magazine ads I get the impression that the 
marketers of some of the newer, unproven products, like to take a 
stab at creatine’s time and research tested reputation, to make their 
products appear better. As part of my work, when I read through 
these ads and product related books, I look-up the scientific 
references and read through the studies. However, I’m continually 
disgusted from doing this, because most of the time all of the 
references used by these marketers offer no proof that their product 
works; I guess they think people won’t take the time to check on 
this. The references usually are just phantom references, included 
in the advertisements to impress, (or deceive), the non-scientist 
reader. When comparing this non-science to the dozens of good 
clinical studies conducted on creatine, it turns out that creatine 
remains one of the best strength and muscle building supplements 
you can purchase, assuming you are getting a quality product; note 
that a poor quality creatine products is why people don’t always 
experience the results that they should. As discussed below, 
research grade creatine is best.  

To underscore this point about the proven effectiveness of creatine, 
recently a team of independent scientists, headed by Ira Wolinsky, 
Ph.D., of the University of Houston, and Judy Driskell, Ph.D., R.D., 
of the University of Nebraska, put creatine on the top of their 
“What Works for Strength and Muscle Mass” sports supplement list 
(creatine has been on the top of my list for 2 decades).  Creatine 
made Class A, along with some of the other bodybuilding essentials 
I will be reviewing with you in subsequent articles. This 
distinguished group of scientists who conducted the massive 
research review on creatine included R ichard B. Kreider, Ph.D., 
who is a leading creatine researcher and supporter of using 
creatine as an ergogenic aid for sports performance and muscle 
building. These and other top sports scientists reviewed creatine 
and concluded the following about the effectiveness of creatine:
- Promotes greater gains in increasing FFM (Fat Free Mass, which 
  includes muscle mass).
- Increases muscle fiber size; hypertrophy.
- Increases muscle mass.
- Increases myosin.
- Improves maximal strength.
- Improves maximal power.
- Improves single-effort sprint performance.
- Improves worked performed during repetitive sprint performance.
- Improving performance during exercise of high to maximal 

The combined results of the dozens of research studies prove that 
from taking creatine you can get bigger, stronger muscles, faster. 
Theses studies reveal that creatine users consistently experience 
greater gains and improvements over the people who were not taking 
creatine in the studies. This means that creatine has been 
scientifically proven to produce statistically significant results, 
over and over again.

Why Creatine Works.

Improving muscle bioenergetics is one of the main ways creatine works, 
which I will elaborate on a bit here. One thing that occurs in your 
muscles from strength sport and resistance training is that you 
stimulate your type II muscle fibers to grow. The type II muscle 
fibers are the ones that can get big and strong, and are also 
called fast-twitch muscle fibers because they can contract very fast 
to generate tremendous power, when compared to slow-twitch muscle 
fibers. For example, a 100 meter sprinter has big muscles to blast 
off of the starting line and run as fast as possible for a short 
distance. This takes big strong, well conditioned fast-twitch 
muscles. Compare this to the marathon runner, who is faster then 
most people, but runs half as fast as the sprinter, but can do it 
for much longer. This is because marathon runners have well 
conditioned their type I, slow-twitch muscle fibers, with very 
little type II muscle fiber development. Type I muscle fibers 
contract slower when compared to Type II muscle fibers, they 
also have the ability to keep contracting for longer periods of 
time, at this lower level of intensity. 

But, there is more to this story to understand where creatine fits 
in to the picture big-strong muscles picture. There are at least 
two kinds of Type II muscle fibers, Type IIa and Type IIb. Type 
IIa muscle fibers are also called, fast-twitch oxidative glycolytic. 
At this point you may be detecting a trend in muscle fiber 
terminology. Exercise physiologists have classified these muscle 
fibers based on their ability to generate energy. Simply put, type 
IIa muscle fibers have the ability to generate strength over a period 
of time. The glycolytic and oxidative capacity of the type IIa muscle 
cells can help produce energy to keep these strong, but not strongest, 
muscle contractions going for a sustained period of time. Glycolytic 
refers to the splitting of glucose in the muscle fiber to create 
energy. Fast-twitch muscle fibers are able to split glucose very 
rapidly to help regenerate ATP quickly to sustain strong muscle 
contractions. Fast-twitch muscle fibers also contain high amounts 
of creatine and the high energy molecule phosphocreatine.

Now, type IIb muscle fibers, also called fast-twitch glycolytic 
(FG) is where creatine supplements have a major benefit. Type IIb 
muscle fibers are very large, and they store plenty of ATP and PCr 
in their cell’s fluid. This immediate chemical energy reservoir can 
be used to generated a tremendous muscle contraction of maximum 
effort energy for a few seconds, then as the reservoir of ATP & PCr 
gets depleted, the ability of the type IIb muscles to generated 
maximum effort is reduced. The muscle fiber then has to make new 
ATP from primarily glucose, which takes time, and fatigue eventually 
sets in. Type IIa, fast-twitch oxidative glycolytic muscle fibers 
also benefit from creatine supplementation. 

So, for maximum, explosive muscle contractions you need two things, 
well developed type IIa and IIb muscle fibers, and muscle fibers 
that are loaded up with a large supply of ready to use ATP and PCr. 
Now, it is during those milli-seconds during all-out effort when 
the PCr (phosphocreatine) is used to make more ATP as fast as 
possible to keep the maximum effort going. However, eventually, 
this immediate power-house of energy gets depleted, and the muscle’s 
capacity to sustain all-out effort is reduced. Taking creatine 
supplements, results in loading up your all of you muscle fibers, 
in particular the type IIb muscle fibers with creatine phosphate. 
This creatine loading gives your muscles ability to work harder 
and store more strength/power generating PCr. The net result is 
to stimulate faster gains in strength and muscle mass. 

This is why creatine is best for strength and bodybuilding athletes, 
in order to drive type II muscle fiber strength and size development 
progress. As you develop larger and better type II muscle fibers, 
the benefits of creatine will become more important. It is this 
cycle of progressive strength training and strength nutrition that 
needs to be customized to best accomplish your muscle fiber 
development goals.  

Creatine is an example of good applied sports nutrition science. As 
an aside, during the 1980’s is when I started experimenting with 
creatine. I first encountered the research on creatine when I was 
working in my United Kingdom branch office on some product 
development and marketing projects. I was able to secure some of 
the early produced research grade creatine that was available in 
Europe; when it was very, very expensive; too expensive to bring 
to market back then. I can tell you this for sure, when you take 
authentic research grade creatine you will experience greater 
gains in strength and lean body mass, when compared to most retail 
brand creatine. Depending on your level of training and experience, 
you can actually start feeling the benefits of research grade 
creatine the very first day, including better quality workouts and 
recovery. Improvements in muscle size and hardness are seen within 
a few days. 

Is Creatine Safe? YES, according to recent research.

Based on the recent creatine research review mentioned above, the 
team of independent experts concluded that creatine is indeed safe. 
One of the most recent studies to demonstrate the safety of creatine 
was conducted over a 21 month period of time. In this study, conducted 
by Dr. Kreider and coworkers, they examined the long-term effects of 
Division IA football players taking an average of 5 g p er day. The 
researchers concluded that long-term creatine supplementation did not 
appear to adversely affect the measures of health status in the 
creatine taking athletes, when compared to athletes who did not take 
creatine. Furthermore additional benefits were revealed from this l
andmark long-term creatine study. According to Dr. Kreider and coworkers, 
when compared to the group of football players who did not take creatine, 
the football players who took creatine actually had fewer episodes of 
cramping, dehydration, muscle tightness, muscle pulls and strains, 
non-contact joint injuries, contact injuries, illness, number of missed 
practices due to injury, players lost for the season, and total injuries 
or missed practices. Therefore, this research suggests that creatine 
supplementation during athletic training and competition may actually 
help reduce athletic injuries and adverse effects of athletic training.    

Who Does Creatine Work For?

Creatine works best for bodybuilding, weight lifting, power lifting and
 other competition strength sports, such as boxing, wrestling, martial 
arts, football, baseball, track and field strength/sprint events, other 
sprint related sports, including swimming and soccer.

Special offer get a full years worth of Research Grade Creatine for under 
$100.00, go to: http://www.trulyhuge.com/rgcreatine.htm

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Neither trulyhuge.com nor the authors of this publication assume any liability for the information contained herein. The Information contained herein reflects only the opinion of the author and is in no way to be considered medical advice. Specific medical advice should be obtained from a licensed health care practitioner. Consult your physician before you begin any nutrition, exercise, or dietary supplement program.

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