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Creatine alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG) is a form of supplemental creatine. It is one of the most popular and innovative types of creatine, according to BodyBuilding.com.
Creatine supplements have long been used by athletes and weightlifters to enhance muscle gain. Creatine is actually a chemical that occurs naturally in the body. Alpha-ketoglutarate is another naturally occurring chemical that is used in medicine, according to WebMD.
Natural creatine is an amino acid that the human liver makes. It is also found in foods like fish and meat. Creatine AKG is a combination of a synthetic form of creatine and an AKG molecule. Binding the two substances allows creatine to enter muscle cells more easily.
The more easily creatine can get into muscle cells, the greater the concentration of creatine there will be in the muscles. More creatine results in improved strength and power..
One benefit of creatine AKG is that AKG is a precursor of glutamine, an amino acid that is necessary for muscle growth.
Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the human body. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that glutamine is naturally found in plant and animal proteins, but is also sold as the supplement L-glutamine. The body needs AKG to make glutamine.
Creatine increases muscle size mainly through a process called cell volumination. As creatine enters a muscle cell, it brings water along with it. Therefore, the water makes muscles cells larger, which in turn increases muscle size, according to MuscleandFitness.com.
It is important that people drink around half their weight in ounces when using creatine because of cell volumination effect. A person who weighs 120 pounds needs at least 60 ounces of water. Without enough water in the body, creatine supplements have nothing to pull into cells and therefore size increases from water expansion will not happen.
Creatine AKG also promotes muscle growth by raising the amount of an important hormone in muscle cells. This hormone is called insulinlike growth factor-1(IGF-1).
MuscleandFitness.com states that older types of creatine supplements, such as the most popular kind known as creatine monohydrate, do increase muscle size and strength. However, newer creatine supplements like creatine AKG get faster results.
Under certain circumstances, creatine AKG supplements may improve athletic performance. Sometimes, it does nothing. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that some, but not all, studies demonstrate that creatine has a beneficial effect on exercise performance.
Not everyone gets the same results from taking creatine. Research indicates that younger people of approximately 20 years of age receive the most benefits. Older adults and people with naturally high levels of creatine generally do not see much improvement from supplements. Most of these studies were performed in labs and not on participants engaged in sports.
Not all types of exercise shows improvement from creatine supplementation. People who receive strength, muscle gain and sports performance benefits most frequently get it from high-intensity, short-duration exercises. Weight training is a kind of physical activity that qualifies as both high-intensity and short duration. Lifting weights requires only short bursts of energy.
Creatine supplements do not appear to show benefits in performance during endurance exercises. Endurance exercises include aerobic activities like running or cycling.
Creatine AKG may also be beneficial for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a common lung condition. There are two types of COPD, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
The University of Maryland Medical Center states that at least one study showed that patients who took COPD experienced improvements in strength, endurance and muscle size. Their general health improved as well. Patients exercise capacity did not change.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, people with muscle dystrophy can have lower amounts of creatine in their muscles. The lack of creatine promotes muscle weakness.
Some studies show that taking creatine supplements has no effect, but there is some evidence that creatine may result in strength improvements.
Creatine AKG may help improve exercise ability in people with Parkinson's disease. Parkinson's is a brain disorder that causes symptoms such as impaired coordination and tremors. People with Parkinson's often experience fatigue and loss of strength and muscle size.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, there is evidence that giving creatine to Parkinson's patients improves endurance exercise ability and mood. However, more research is needed.
Alpha-ketoglutarate is used to treat complications associated with surgeries. Creatine alpha-ketoglutarate is another name for this medication, according to MedicineNet.com.
A possible benefit of alpha-ketoglutarate is the prevention of muscle breakdown following a trauma or surgery. MedicineNet.com states that this medication may also help prevent problems with blood supply during cardiac surgery.
People use alpha-ketoglutarate to treat additional conditions. However, MedicineNet.com states that there is not yet sufficient evidence to prove that is beneficial for these conditions, which include:
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, creatine use may cause the following side effects:
These side effects generally do not occur unless people take creatine supplements for longer than six months.
The University of Maryland Medical Center states that creatine supplements should be cycled, meaning that people start with a high amount for a short period of time and then drop to lower doses. A doctor can best recommend individual amounts.
A loading phase for creatine AKG is 5 days. People should take the supplement four to five times each day during the loading phase. Creatine AKG can be added to pre- and post-workout shakes or taken with meals.
Days that people do not work out require less creatine. Typically a single dose is sufficient. If someone misses the occasional day of supplementation, their results usually will not suffer. Research shows that only one day off does not significantly lower creatine levels in the muscles.
For best absorption, the University of Maryland Medical Center suggests taking creatine along with eating carbohydrate foods. Examples of carb foods include starches and fruits.
MuscleandFitness.com, states that people should take a type of creatine for at least one month before determining if that is the right form. Creatine AKG can also be combined with other forms of creatine supplements.