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What is Creatine Monohydrate?

Given the previous historical perspective, the notion of enhancing physical performance by ingesting synthetically produced creatine was an idea whose time had come with the development of a cheap and efficient way of producing creatine in the laboratory. Prior to this advance creatine was either isolated directly from skeletal muscle or collected from the urine of animals. These approaches were expensive, laborious and yielded very little creatine in the end. With the advent of synthetic production, however, creatine was then readily available for widespread use in the athletic arena and for scientific investigation. The most commonly used form of synthetic creatine is the monohydrate salt, creatine monohydrate. Creatine monohydrate is simply a molecule of creatine accompanied by a molecule of water for added stability. The first study that clearly demonstrated an effect of creatine monohydrate in humans was conducted in the lab of Dr. Eric Hultman of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden (3). This study found that ingesting 20 grams of creatine monohydrate daily for 4-5 days increased muscle creatine content by approximately 20%. An increase in muscle creatine content of this magnitude is more than sufficient to notice an enhancement in exercise performance during explosive bouts of exercise. Therefore, exercise tasks that benefit most from creatine supplementation are sprinting events of less than 10 seconds duration and repetitive maximal effort movements. Oh, by the way, the year this pivotal study appeared was 1992, the same year creatine made its controversial public debut in the Barcelona Summer Olympics. During these games the success of the British track team was allegedly due to the use of creatine; partly scandal and partly truth.


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