Dr. Tony Wallner
NMR Analysis of Creatine Monohydrate

With the increase in participation in the fitness industry, the number of dietary supplements has increased dramatically over the recent past. Many companies claim to have the dietary solution to health and fitness. One such supplement, creatine monohydrate, has become very popular in many areas (bodybuilding, weightlifting, general health and fitness). Manufacturers claim that creatine will increase endurance, lean muscle mass, aid in recovery, and even reduce blood lipid levels. Studies dating back to the 1930's substantiate many of these claims.

It is thought that creatine supplementation increases endurance and aids in recovery by increasing phosphocreatine levels in muscle cells. The increase in phosphocreatine may help the body resynthesize ATP from ADP. Also, it has been reported that with creatine supplementation, increases in muscle mass have been observed for people who participate in resistance training.

Many different opinions exist on creatine consumption for maximum benefit. One theory suggests ingesting creatine with a substance of high glycemic index. In studies, this combination caused a greater uptake of creatine into the muscle cells. This increased uptake was attributed to the rise in insulin levels caused by the sugar.

We are interested in studying the stability of creatine in various solutions with high glycemic index. The degradation of creatine to creatinine can easily be followed using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR). We have found in preliminary studies that resonances for each species are discernable in D2O. We have also followed the progression of the process in acidic solution over a period of 18 hours to begin to understand the degradation process. Our research focuses on this stability issue and on the kinetics of the reaction in various solutions. We use NMR as the instrument method for our analysis.