Send to

Choose Destination
Sports Med. 1999 Jul;28(1):49-60.

Effects of creatine supplementation on exercise performance.

Author information

School of Human Kinetics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


While creatine has been known to man since 1835, when a French scientist reported finding this constitutent of meat, its presence in athletics as a performance enhancer is relatively new. Amid claims of increased power and strength, decreased performance time and increased muscle mass, creatine is being hailed as a true ergogenic aid. Creatinine is synthesised from the amino acids glycine, arginine and methionine in the kidneys, liver and pancreas, and is predominantly found in skeletal muscle, where it exists in 2 forms. Approximately 40% is in the free creatine form (Crfree), while the remaining 60% is in the phosphorylated form, creatine phosphate (CP). The daily turnover rate of approximately 2 g per day is equally met via exogenous intake and endogenous synthesis. Although creatine concentration (Cr) is greater in fast twitch muscle fibres, slow twitch fibres have a greater resynthesis capability due to their increased aerobic capacity. There appears to be no significant difference between males and females in Cr, and training does not appear to effect Cr. The 4 roles in which creatine is involved during performance are temporal energy buffering, spatial energy buffering, proton buffering and glycolysis regulation. Creatine supplementation of 20 g per day for at least 3 days has resulted in significant increases in total Cr for some individuals but not others, suggesting that there are 'responders' and 'nonresponders'. These increases in total concentration among responders is greatest in individuals who have the lowest initial total Cr, such as vegetarians. Increased concentrations of both Crfree and CP are believed to aid performance by providing more short term energy, as well as increase the rate of resynthesis during rest intervals. Creatine supplementation does not appear to aid endurance and incremental type exercises, and may even be detrimental. Studies investigating the effects of creatine supplementation on short term, high intensity exercises have reported equivocal results, with approximately equal numbers reporting significant and nonsignificant results. The only side effect associated with creatine supplementation appears to be a small increase in body mass, which is due to either water retention or increased protein synthesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center