Phosphocreatine (PCr) availability is likely to limit performance in brief, high-power exercise because the depletion of PCr results in an inability to maintain adenosine triphosphate (ATP) resynthesis at the rate required. It is now known that the daily ingestion of four 5-g doses of creatine for 5 days will significantly increase intramuscular creatine and PCr concentrations prior to exercise and will facilitate PCr resynthesis during recovery from exercise, particularly in those individuals with relatively low creatine concentrations prior to feeding. As a consequence of creatine ingestion, work output during repeated bouts of high-power exercise has been increased under a variety of experimental conditions. The reduced accumulation of ammonia and hypoxanthine in plasma and the attenuation of muscle ATP degradation after creatine feeding suggest that the ergogenic effect of creatine is achieved by better maintaining ATP turnover during contraction.
Paul L. Greenhaff is with the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, University Medical School, Queens Medical Centre, Nottingharn NG7 2UH. U.K.