- What is creatine?
- How does creatine work?
- What are natural sources of creatine?
- How does creatine get into muscle?
- Do all muscles respond to creatine?
- Does everyone respond to creatine?
Not everyone responds to creatine supplementation. It is estimated that between 20-30% of the population will not respond to creatine supplementation. This isn’t to say that many “nonresponders” couldn’t convert to full-fledged “responders” given the right information. For example, taking creatine with highly glycemic sugars is sufficient in many cases to convert some nonresponders into “super” responders. (see Question #4). Furthermore, adding essential B-vitamins to your supplementing regimen will greatly accentuate the anabolic potential of creatine supplementation.
I would warn, however, against pounding your systems with highly glycemic carbohydrates in hopes of maximizing creatine absorption. When and how these sugars are taken is a very important consideration. The chronic consumption of highly glycemic sugars can eventually lead to a condition of insulin-resistance, which would be an anabolic dead end. In fact, insulin-resistance is currently one of America’s greatest health problems. Insulin is one of your most important anabolic hormones (next to growth hormone and testosterone) and you wouldn’t want to attenuate its effects.
Another important consideration is your existing muscle creatine levels. Persons with naturally high creatine levels typically benefit less from creatine supplementation. This is the reason that vegetarians typically respond so robustly to creatine supplementation. Furthermore, the benefits you perceive from creatine use depend on the exercise task being used to measure its effectiveness (see Question #5). There is also some indication that creatine may be less effective in children and the elderly. (see Question #10) Finally, your daily dietary habits, such as alcohol and caffeine consumption, can profoundly influence creatine’s effectiveness.
How to optimize creatine transport into skeletal muscle in order to more effectively increase muscle mass and enhance athletic performance (while at the same time mitigating harmful side effects) is discussed in detail in my practical guide to creatine use.
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