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Creatine is a myostatin blocker

The chemical sports world waits with baited breath for the arrival of myostatin blockers: new muscle strengthening substances that sabotage the protein myostatin in muscle tissue, and thereby boost muscle build up. According to a human study in Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, a supplement that works in exactly this way has been available for years. If we're to believe this study, good old creatine is a myostatin blocker.

The authors of the study are sports scientists at Arak University in Iran. They wanted to know exactly how creatine [chemical structure is shown here] works. Some scientists regard creatine as little more than a battery that provides muscle cells with energy and fluid. That's why you gain a couple of kilos of muscle tissue if you take a course of creatine, these scientists claim. Your strength increases in the gym as well, but the effect is temporary. If you stop taking the creatine then the positive effects disappear. But there's a small group of researchers who say that creatine does much more. They say creatine also stimulates the manufacture of muscle tissues.

The researchers did a trial with 27 male students. Of these, 8 did nothing the control group.

The other 19 students trained for 8 weeks using weights. The students went to the gym three times a week, where they did 6 basic exercises that covered all the major muscle groups: bench-press, lat-pulldown, biceps curl, leg press, knee extension and leg curl. The students trained at 60-70 percent of their 1RM, and did three sets of each exercise. The students rested for no longer than 2 minutes between sets.

Half of the students who trained took creatine. In the first week they took a daily 0.3 g creatine per kilo bodyweight, and in the remaining weeks they took a daily 0.05 g creatine per kilogram bodyweight. It doesn't take a genius to work out that the test subjects who trained became more muscular and stronger, and that the creatine supplement enhanced the effect.

The researchers measured the concentration of myostatin in the subjects' blood. Weight training reduced the concentration. And training while using creatine reduced the concentration even further.

Creatine is a myostatin blocker

The researchers measured the concentration of the protein growth and differentiation factor-associated serum protein-1 [GASP-1]. This protein neutralises myostatin. There's a patent in which researchers describe how synthetic versions of can cause muscle growth by manipulating GASP-1. [United States Patent 7,192,717] Whatever, the production of GASP-1 increased as a result of strength training and it increased even more in the subjects who combined strength training and creatine supplementation.

Creatine is a myostatin blocker

The researchers conclude that creatine doesn't just pump up the muscles temporarily. So creatine is a real anabolic, responsible for increased muscle protein production. "Decreasing myostatin and inhibiting its function by GASP-1 may play an important role in increasing muscle strength and mass by resistance training", they write. "Supplementation with creatine resulted in greater increases in muscle mass and strength, and these improvements were accompanied by more decreased myostatin levels."

Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2010 Apr 12;317(1-2):25-30.

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