Creatine has proven to be one of the most effective nutritional ergogenic aids for athletes (Branch). Although it has been extensively studied, many questions remain about how creatine works, the types of individuals who may benefit from creatine supplementation, and whether creatine is safe. Over the last couple of years, a number of studies have been published and/or presented that help answer some of these questions.
Creatine is used in muscle tissue for the production of phosphocreatine which is important in the development of ATP; ATP is the source of energy for muscle contraction and other functions of the body (Grenhaff). Creatine supplementing can increase phosphocreatine levels in muscle, especially when accompanied by exercise and carbohydrate intake. The typical creatine supplementation protocol involves ingesting five grams of creatine monohydrate four times per day for five days which is called the loading phase. Previous studies have shown that co-ingesting creatine with large amounts of carbohydrates augments creatine retention even in individuals less responsive to creatine loading. .
There are lots of people of think creatine is just for people whom lift weights; however, this is not true. For example, Mujika and associates reported that creatine (20 grams/day for six days) improved repeated sprint performances (6 x 15-meter sprints with 30 seconds rest recovery) and delayed jumping fatigue in 17 highly trained soccer players. Another study by Kirksey and colleagues found that creatine supplementation (0.3 grams/kilograms of bodyweight/day for 42 days) during off-season training promoted greater gains in vertical jump height and power, sprint cycling performance, and muscle mass in 36 Division 1-AA male and female track and field athletes.
One of the most debated issues regarding creatine supplementation is whether the weight gain observed is muscle and/or water. Some contend that since the weight gain is rapid (about one to two pounds the first week) it is probably just water.