Effects of repeated creatine supplementation on muscle, plasma, and urine creatine levels

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The purpose of this case study was to examine the effects of repeated creatine administration on muscle phosphocreatine, plasma creatine, and urine creatine. One male subject (age, 32 years; body mass, 78.4 kg; height, 160 cm; resistance training experience, 15 years) ingested creatine (20 g·d -1 for 5 days) during 2 bouts separated by a 30-day washout period. Muscle phosphocreatine was measured before and after supplementation. On day 1 of supplementation, blood samples were taken immediately before and hourly for 5 hours following ingestion of 5 g of creatine, and a pharmacokinetic analysis of plasma creatine was conducted. Twenty-four-hour urine collections were conducted before and for 5 days during supplementation. Muscle phosphocreatine increased 45% following the first supplementation bout, decreased 22% during the 30-day washout period, and increased 25% following the second bout. There were no meaningful differences in plasma creatine pharmacokinetic parameters between bouts 1 and 2. Total urine creatine losses during supplementation were 63.2 and 63.4 g during bouts 1 and 2, respectively. The major findings were that (a) a 30-day washout period is insufficient time for muscle phosphocreatine to return to baseline following creatine supplementation but is sufficient time for plasma and urine creatine levels to return to presupplementation values; (b) postsupplementation muscle phosphocreatine levels were similar following bouts 1 and 2 despite 23% higher presupplementation muscle phosphocreatine before bout 2; and (c) the increased muscle phosphocreatine that persisted throughout the 30-day washout period corresponded with maintenance of increased body mass (+2.0 kg). Athletes should be aware that the washout period for muscle creatine to return to baseline levels may be longer than 30 days in some individuals, and this may be accompanied by a persistent increase in body mass.

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