Effects of acute creatine monohydrate supplementation on leucine kinetics and mixed-muscle protein synthesis

G. Parise, S. Mihic, D. MacLennan, K. E. Yarasheski, M. A. Tarnopolsky


Creatine monohydrate (CrM) supplementation during resistance exercise training results in a greater increase in strength and fat-free mass than placebo. Whether this is solely due to an increase in intracellular water or whether there may be alterations in protein turnover is not clear at this point. We examined the effects of CrM supplementation on indexes of protein metabolism in young healthy men (n = 13) and women (n = 14). Subjects were randomly allocated to CrM (20 g/day for 5 days followed by 5 g/day for 3–4 days) or placebo (glucose polymers) and tested before and after the supplementation period under rigorous dietary and exercise controls. Muscle phosphocreatine, creatine, and total creatine were measured before and after supplementation. A primed-continuous intravenous infusion of l-[1-13C]leucine and mass spectrometry were used to measure mixed-muscle protein fractional synthetic rate and indexes of whole body leucine metabolism (nonoxidative leucine disposal), leucine oxidation, and plasma leucine rate of appearance. CrM supplementation increased muscle total creatine (+13.1%, P < 0.05) with a trend toward an increase in phosphocreatine (+8.8%, P = 0.09). CrM supplementation did not increase muscle fractional synthetic rate but reduced leucine oxidation (−19.6%) and plasma leucine rate of appearance (−7.5%,P < 0.05) in men, but not in women. CrM did not increase total body mass or fat-free mass. We conclude that short-term CrM supplementation may have anticatabolic actions in some proteins (in men), but CrM does not increase whole body or mixed-muscle protein synthesis.

  • nutrition supplements
  • high-energy phosphates
  • mass spectrometry
  • stable isotopes


  • Address for reprint requests and other correspondence: M. A. Tarnopolsky, Dept. of Medicine-Neurology 4U4, McMaster University, 1200 Main St. West, Hamilton, ON, Canada L8N 3Z5 (E-mail:tarnopol{at}mcmaster.ca).

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