Creatine is the most commonly used supplement (in addition to protein supplements), which shortens the regeneration time after training and increases athletic performance. Providing the right amount of creatine (most often in the form of a monohydrate) can increase the amount of creatine in your muscles by about 30%, while increasing muscle strength. Interestingly, guanide and acetic acid (GAA), a precursor to creatine, can help with this process.
Creatine is synthesized in the body
The following procedure occurs in each organism:
- The kidneys produce GAA,
- GAA enters the liver
- the liver produces creatine with GAA,
- creatine enters muscles and other organs.
All in all, creatine accumulates in the muscles, which helps maintain adequate muscle energy. Our body loses some creatine every day due to metabolic processes, and proper consumption allows us to compensate for this deficiency. What if you relieve the body of creatine and GAA production? This strategy of addition has been tested on humans.
Combination of GAA with creatine
Young men participated in the experiment and took 1g of GAA and 3g of creatine daily for 4 weeks. In the control group, only creatine (4 g / day) was taken. The strategy of combining GAA with creatine has been shown to be more effective in increasing the amount of muscle creatine. It was discovered:
- in the group taking GAA with creatine, the amount of creatine in the muscles increased by approximately 16.9 ± 20% after 4 weeks,
- in the group of people taking creatine alone, the amount of creatine in the muscles increased by 2 ± 6%.
This study showed that a supplementation strategy based on concomitant intake of GAA and creatine raises muscle creatine levels as much as 8.5 times more effectively than creatine alone.
From the point of view of sports performance, the first strategy was more in favor of increasing the maximum muscle strength, the ability to lift heavy weights. Both strategies did not affect the building of muscle strength, and not muscle speed. This was probably due to the fact that the men who participated in the study did not perform any physical training during the period of taking the supplements.
GAA in food or supplements
The typical GAA content of the diet is about 10 mg / kg of meat intake, which is very low. On the other hand, with additional intake in the form of supplements, we significantly increase the availability of this ingredient for the current needs of the body, without the involvement of the kidneys. CreGAAtine, for example, contains 1 gram of GAA, which is 100 times more than in one kilogram of meat. It should be noted here that the GAA content of the said product is similar to the usual amounts reported in scientific studies. Given the effectiveness of GAA in increasing the amount of creatine in the muscles (see study above), an increase in some exercise parameters should be expected, especially if the dietary strategy is combined with physical training.
Safety of use
Of course, each eating strategy needs to be tested individually, taking into account the needs of the body. Athletes have different needs than people weakened by disease and still different than e.g. businessmen with a sedentary lifestyle. Creatine alone is safe. This has been demonstrated in a number of clinical studies. In a controlled study in healthy people, no side effects of the supplement were observed at 4 weeks of use at doses of 1g GAA in combination with 3 grams of creatine. In another study, GAA was ingested at 2.4 g per day for up to 6 weeks. There were no statistically significant differences in the incidence of adverse events compared to the placebo group.
Why is combining GAA with creatine more effective?
This is most likely due to the involvement of several independent transport proteins that are responsible for transporting these chemicals from the blood to muscle cells.
Imagine increasing the amount of any chemical in your blood. To be able to reach target cells, it must be able to cross membranes or use membrane transporters. In the case of creatine and GAA, they can be transported with the same proteins called CRT1. This protein binds creatine much better and saturates with it very quickly. In the event that both products are delivered with food, the GAA will be carried by other independent carriers. When GAA enters a muscle it is metabolized to creatine.
In the end, the whole process allows you to quickly raise the level of muscle creatine, which contributes to the restoration of phosphocreatine stores needed to optimize muscle energy processes.
Additional potential of GAA
GAA has a very interesting potential associated with the effect on muscle stem cells. Usually, micro injuries occur in the muscles due to physical training. You feel this a few days later as so-called DOMS or muscle pain after a workout. During this time, muscle stem cells begin to divide and integrate into existing muscle fibers. GAA can regulate these processes. In vitro, GAA has been shown to inhibit the division of these cells while promoting their fusion. In practice, this would mean that GAA improves the process of connecting stem cells to muscle.
Who is the addition of creatine with GAA for?
The first choice is, of course, athletes, where a large amount of muscle creatine is crucial in achieving sports goals. The second target group is people who do not eat meat. This is because meat (red) is the main food that provides creatine. Of course, the body produces creatine on its own, but people on a vegan diet can also have up to 25% less creatine in their muscles. In both target groups (athletes and vegans), the additional GAA content will optimize creatine production.
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