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Amino Acids

, Volume 48, Issue 8, pp 1843–1855 | Cite as

The effects of creatine supplementation on thermoregulation and physical (cognitive) performance: a review and future prospects

  • R. Twycross-Lewis
  • L. P. Kilduff
  • G. Wang
  • Y. P. PitsiladisEmail author
Review Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Creatine

Abstract

Creatine (Cr) is produced endogenously in the liver or obtained exogenously from foods, such as meat and fish. In the human body, 95 % of Cr is located in the cytoplasm of skeletal muscle either in a phosphorylated (PCr) or free form (Cr). PCr is essential for the immediate rephosphorylation of adenosine diphosphate to adenosine triphosphate. PCr is rapidly degraded at the onset of maximal exercise at a rate that results in muscle PCr reservoirs being substantially depleted. A well-established strategy followed to increase muscle total Cr content is to increase exogenous intake by supplementation with chemically pure synthetic Cr. Most Cr supplementation regimens typically follow a well-established loading protocol of 20 g day−1 of Cr for approximately 5–7 days, followed by a maintenance dose at between 2 and 5 g day−1 for the duration of interest, although more recent studies tend to utilize a 0.3-g kg−1 day−1 supplementation regimen. Some studies have also investigated long-term supplementation of up to 1 year. Uptake of Cr is enhanced when taken together with carbohydrate and protein and/or while undertaking exercise. Cr supplementation has been shown to augment muscle total Cr content and enhance anaerobic performance; however, there is also some evidence of indirect benefits to aerobic endurance exercise through enhanced thermoregulation. While there is an abundance of data supporting the ergogenic effects of Cr supplementation in a variety of different applications, some individuals do not respond, the efficacy of which is dependent on a number of factors, such as dose, age, muscle fiber type, and diet, although further work in this field is warranted. Cr is increasingly being used in the management of some clinical conditions to enhance muscle mass and strength. The application of Cr in studies of health and disease has widened recently with encouraging results in studies involving sleep deprivation and cognitive performance.

Keywords

Creatine supplementation Thermoregulation Physical performance Health and disease Cognitive function Sleep deprivation 

Abbreviations

AGAT

l-arginine:glycine aminotranferase

ADP

Adenosine diphosphate

ATP

Adenosine triphosphate

BW

Body weight (kg)

CK

Creatine kinase

COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Cr

Creatine

CrT

Total creatine

CreaT−/y

Cr transporter (SLC6A8) knock-out mice

FFM

Fat free mass (kg)

GAMT

Guanidinoacetate methytransferase

ICW

Intracellular water (L)

IMP

Inosine monophosphate

HR

Heart rate (bt min−1)

HRmax

Maximal heart rate (bt min−1)

LBM

Lean body mass

miRNA

MicroRNA

PCr

Phosphocreatine

RE

Running economy

RNA

Ribonucleic acid

RM

Repetition maximum

RPE

Rate of perceived exertion

TBW

Total body water (L)

Tcore

Core body temperature (°C)

Tre

Rectal temperature (°C)

Tskin

Skin temperature (°C)

f-TRP

Free tryptophan

\({\dot{\text{V}}\text{O}}_{2}\)

Oxygen uptake (ml min−1; ml kg−1 min−1)

\({\dot{\text{V}}\text{O}}_{2\hbox{max} }\)

Maximal oxygen uptake (ml min−1; ml kg−1 min−1)

\({\dot{\text{V}}\text{O}}_{{2{\text{peak}}}}\)

Peak oxygen uptake (ml min−1; ml kg−1 min−1)

WRmax

Maximal work rate (W)

Notes

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors state that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical statement

This review does not include original data from animal or human studies.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Twycross-Lewis
    • 1
  • L. P. Kilduff
    • 2
  • G. Wang
    • 3
  • Y. P. Pitsiladis
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine, William Harvey Research InstituteQueen Mary University of LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Applied Science, Technology, Exercise and Medicine (A-STEM) Research Centre, College of EngineeringSwansea UniversitySwanseaUK
  3. 3.FIMS Reference Collaborating Centre of Sports Medicine for Anti-Doping ResearchUniversity of BrightonEastbourneUK

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