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Creatine Vs Carnitine – Which Pre-workout Supplement To Choose?

Madhura Mohan

Posted on April 10 2021

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ometimes, it feels like the difficulty in making choices has started right from our childhood itself…it’s like chocolate milk or plain milk, idli or dosa, puri or parata, university A or university B, then when you go shopping, white shirt or black shirt, when you go out to dine, you find it hard to decide which dishes to order, during elections, choose candidate A or candidate B…oh this is never-ending confusion…The underlying thought is that one is supposed to make a decision at every point of his or her life.

Now, you have ended up with confusion in choosing between creatine and carnitine and have landed here for some help, good…you’re at the right place…

Whenever you find yourselves wavering between the choices presented before you, all you need to do is research them thoroughly…that’s the only way to get cleared of your doubts and make a perfect choice…

Let’s take a rundown of the research between the 2 supplements and see for ourselves which will work to our advantage more….

 

BASIC INFORMATION ON CREATINE

Creatine is an amino acid produced naturally by the body from arginine, glycine and methionine. Around 95% of it is stored in our skeletal muscles. High-protein foods like fish and red meat are good sources of creatine.

Creatine as a dietary supplement is a tasteless, crystalline white powder that readily dissolves in water.

 

MAIN FUNCTION OF CREATINE

The main function of creatine is to regenerate adenosine triphosphate (ATP).                                                           

                   Creatine Kinase

Creatine ------------------------------> Phosphocreatine

                      ATP          

*ATP works here as donor of phosphate group

 

 

              Phosphocreatine                                                                                                                                    

ADP -----------------------------------> ATP                                                                                                                                         

                Creatine kinase                                   

 *Phosphocreatine is high-energy reserve that converts ADP to ATP

                                                                                                                                                               WHAT IS THE NEED TO SUPPLEMENT WITH CREATINE?

Creatine although is produced endogenously, it is produced at low amount of about 1g/day. Creatine can be obtained through the diet at about 1g/day from non-vegetarian sources (concentration of creatine in meat and fish range between 4 and 5g/Kg)

As creatine is predominately present in non-vegetarian sources, vegetarians and vegans have lower resting creatine concentration.

Supplementing with creatine will give them significant benefits to achieve heightened phosphocreatine stores and muscle glycogen reserve during high intensity or long-duration exercise.

 

BENEFITS OF CREATINE SUPPLEMENTATION

  • Increases single and repetitive sprint performance.

  • Increases stamina during maximal effort muscle contractions.

  • Increases muscle mass and strength adaptations.

  • Enhances glycogen accumulation when combined with glycogen depleting exercise.

  • Increases aerobic threshold due to greater shuttling of ATP from mitochondria.

  • Enhances recovery and delays fatigue so you can press out an extra rep.

  • Has antioxidant benefits to remove superoxide anion radicals and peroxynitrite radicals.

  • When creatine is combined with resistance exercise, muscle insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) levels increase contributing to muscle mass gain. 

The one-liner on creatine -> The more creatine, the faster regeneration of energy to power your workouts.

 

Note:  

  • Creatine supplement begins to degrade the moment you mix it with water, so consume it right away to get the maximum benefit from the supplement.

  • It’s important to stay well hydrated while you take creatine as creatine causes muscles to hold water.

  • There are no dietary contradictions for creatine, so you can eat a normal meal before or after consuming it.

  • The loading phase of creatine is not required as it may speed up the saturation.

 

BASIC INFORMATION ON CARNITINE

L-Carnitine is a conditionally essential amino acid found predominantly (95%) in skeletal muscle and synthesized endogenously in the body from amino acids lysine and methionine.

Red meat and dairy are the chief dietary sources of carnitine. Carnitine dietary supplement is a white powder that is water-soluble and has a barely sour taste.

 

MAIN FUNCTION OF CARNITINE

The well-documented role of carnitine is in the facilitation of the transport of long-chain fatty acids into the matrix of mitochondria, where it undergoes beta-oxidation to produce energy.

The mitochondrial membranes are impermeable to coenzyme A(CoA) esters and long-chain fatty acids, binding of L-carnitine to acetyl groups via carnitine acyltransferase is essential for the shuttle of the acetylated fatty acids into the mitochondria and their subsequent oxidation.

                     Long chain fatty acids

Carnitine ------------------------------------> ATP

                          Acetyl CoA

 

WHAT IS THE NEED TO SUPPLEMENT WITH CARNITINE?

Synthesis of L-carnitine in the body accounts only for 25% of the daily needs. At the tissue levels, the primary storage of carnitine is in the skeletal muscle. Supplementation will particularly help vegans and vegetarians increase muscle concentrations of carnitine and shuttle fatty acids to be used for energy.

 

BENEFITS OF L-CARNITINE SUPPLEMENTATION

  • Critical for energy production from fat stores.

  • Spares muscle glycogen and delays onset of fatigue.

  • The proposed conversion of fat into energy seems likely to aid in the reduction of body weight.

  • Spares amino acid used as a source of energy and makes them available potentially for protein synthesis.

  • Alleviates muscle injury, muscle soreness and speeds up muscle recovery.

  • Reduces markers of cellular damage and free radical formation.

  • Enhances insulin’s action on muscle cells and helps keep blood glucose levels low while aiding in glycogen repletion. 

One-liner on carnitine ->Uses fatty acids as fuel for muscle metabolism.

 

CAN YOU CONSUME CREATINE & CARNITINE TOGETHER?

There is absolutely no harm in combing creatine with carnitine. The combination is in fact better with leucine as it improves the composite score of mTOR protein level which reflects muscle mass and strength.

The choice between the 2 supplements should be made clear now? Both creatine and carnitine aim to optimize energy during workouts, help delay the onset of fatigue and aid in faster recovery.       While creatine optimizes energy through ATP regeneration, carnitine optimizes energy through fat-burning.

 

Creatine generates energy at a faster rate, more suitable for short duration exercises, increases body mass and is suitable for someone looking to bulk up and add on mass. (can be combined with a mass gainer or pure carb).

 

Carnitine limits fat gains and burns fat stores to fuel muscle performance, it contributes to a clearer bulk, it is more suitable for someone who intends to lose weight and gain muscle mass (better off when combined with protein supplements).

Any confusions on supplements? Not to worry…simply shoot us a message and we’ll help you with your doubts…follow us on asitisnutrition.com/blogs for health, supplements & fitness tips…

 

Reference:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5244582/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4915971/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3407788/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5872767/

                                                                                                                                                                Also read: Creatine Vs Arginine - Which Amino Supplement To Choose?

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