Creatine phosphate allows high rates of adenosine triphosphate resynthesis to occur in muscle and therefore plays a vital role in the performance of high-intensity exercise. Recent studies have shown that feeding large amounts of creatine (typically 20 g per day for 5 days) increases muscle total creatine (and phosphocreatine) content. The extent of the increase that is normally observed is inversely related to the presupplementation level. Vegetarians, who have a very low dietary creatine intake, generally show the largest increases. Creatine supplementation has been shown to increase performance in situations where the availability of creatine phosphate is important; thus, performance is improved in very high-intensity exercise and especially where repeated sprints are performed with short recovery periods. Creatine supplementation is widely practiced by athletes in many sports and does not contravene current doping regulations. There are no reports of harmful side effects at the recommended dosage.
R.J. Maughan is with the Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, University Medical School, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB9 2ZD, Scotland.