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IronMagLabs - Bodybuilding Supplements

Muscles absorb creatine better if you ingest the creatine [first structural formula] with carbohydrates, especially if you take the mixture after training. This trick works even better if you add a supplement containing alpha-lipoic acid [second structural formula], sports scientists at St. Francis Xavier University in Canada discovered.

Muscles absorb creatine better if you ingest the creatine [first structural formula] with carbohydrates, especially if you take the mixture after training. This trick works even better if you add a supplement containing alpha-lipoic acid [second structural formula], sports scientists at St. Francis Xavier University in Canada discovered.
Muscles absorb creatine better if you ingest the creatine [first structural formula] with carbohydrates, especially if you take the mixture after training. This trick works even better if you add a supplement containing alpha-lipoic acid [second structural formula], sports scientists at St. Francis Xavier University in Canada discovered.

Uptake of creatine is improved by combining it with carbohydrates because of how the hormone insulin works: the body produces more if glucose levels in the blood rise. Alpha-Lipoic Acid, a compound that occurs naturally in liver, spinach and brewers’ yeast, has been shown to improve the effect of insulin in muscle tissue, in animal studies at least. [Diabetes. 1996 Aug;45(8):1024-9.]

Most of the alpha-lipoic acid found in supplements is a racemic mixture of R-(+)- and S-(-)-alpha-lipoic acid, and the same was true for the supplement that the Canadian researchers used. It is above all R-(+)-alpha-lipoic acid, the enantiomer in food, that enhances the effect of creatine. The effect of the other enantiomer is less. [Am J Physiol. 1997 Jul;273(1 Pt 1):E185-91.]

The Canadians’ study was inspired by animal studies in which alpha-lipoic acid had enhanced the effect of insulin, and they wondered whether a cocktail of creatine, ordinary sugar [sucrose] and alpha-lipoic acid would work better than a cocktail of just creatine and sucrose. They did an experiment with 16 men aged between 18 and 32, all of whom did regular weight training. During the five days that the experiment lasted the men did no training.

The researchers divided the men into 3 groups. All groups took 4 portions of 5 g creatine daily, spread over the day.

One group took nothing else [CR]. A second group also took 25 g sucrose each time that they took creatine [CRS]. And a third group took 5 g creatine, 25 g sucrose and 1 g alpha-lipoic acid four times a day [CRSLA].

Yep. 1 g alpha-lipoic acid four times a day. No typo.

Muscles absorb creatine better if you ingest the creatine [first structural formula] with carbohydrates, especially if you take the mixture after training. This trick works even better if you add a supplement containing alpha-lipoic acid [second structural formula], sports scientists at St. Francis Xavier University in Canada discovered.
Just before the five days started, and again at the end of the five days, the researchers measured the concentrations of ATP, free creatine, phosphocreatine [structural formula on the right] and total creatine in muscle samples they’d taken from the men. Phosphocreatine is ‘charged’ creatine that is capable of keeping the amount of ATP in the muscles at a sufficient level during high-intensity exercise.

The figure below shows that the addition of alpha-lipoic acid to the cocktail led to a significant increase in the concentration of phosphocreatine.

1

2

3

The figure above shows the changes in the concentrations of ATP, free creatine, phosphocreatine and total creatine in the three groups. It is clear that a) the addition of sucrose did little to improve the creatine uptake and b) the addition of alpha-lipoic acid did have a considerable effect. Note that the amount of alpha-lipoic acid used was, ehm, considerable too.

“These findings are of interest to individuals wishing to elevate muscle creatine content and anaerobic energy status in an attempt to improve athletic performance or to prevent age-related or disease-related impairment in creatine retention or metabolism”, the Canadians write. “Future studies are needed [...] to determine the minimal effective dose of alpha-lipoic acid necessary to significantly increase muscle total creatine concentration and if this translates into improved exercise performance.”

Effect of alpha-lipoic acid combined with creatine monohydrate on human skeletal muscle creatine and phosphagen concentration.

Burke DG, Chilibeck PD, Parise G, Tarnopolsky MA, Candow DG.

Abstract

Alpha-lipoic acid has been found to enhance glucose uptake into skeletal muscle in animal models. Studies have also found that the co-ingestion of carbohydrate along with creatine increases muscle creatine uptake by a process related to insulin-stimulated glucose disposal. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of alpha-lipoic acid on human skeletal muscle creatine uptake by directly measuring intramuscular concentrations of creatine, phosphocreatine, and adenosine triphosphate when creatine monohydrate was co-ingested with alpha-lipoic acid. Muscle biopsies were acquired from the vastus lateralis m. of 16 male subjects (18-32 y) before and after the experimental intervention. After the initial biopsy, subjects ingested 20 g x d(-1) of creatine monohydrate, 20 g x d(-1) of creatine monohydrate + 100 g x d(-1) of sucrose, or 20 g x d(-1) of creatine monohydrate + 100 g x d(-1) of sucrose + 1000 mg x d(-1) of alpha-lipoic acid for 5 days. Subjects refrained from exercise and consumed the same balanced diet for 7 days. Body weight increased by 2.1% following the nutritional intervention, with no differences between the groups. There was a significant increase in total creatine concentration following creatine supplementation, with the group ingesting alpha-lipoic acid showing a significantly greater increase (p < .05) in phosphocreatine (87.6 --> 106.2 mmol x kg(-1) dry mass [dm]) and total creatine (137.8 –> 156.8 mmol x kg(-1) dm). These findings indicate that co-ingestion of alpha-lipoic acid with creatine and a small amount of sucrose can enhance muscle total creatine content as compared to the ingestion of creatine and sucrose or creatine alone.

PMID: 14669930 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Source: http://www.ergo-log.com/alpha-lipoic-acid-boosts-effect-of-creatine.html

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