Muscle glycogen supercompensation is enhanced by prior creatine supplementation

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001 Jul;33(7):1096-100. doi: 10.1097/00005768-200107000-00005.


Purpose: Recently, it was shown that glycogen supercompensation tended (P = 0.06) to be greater if creatine and glycogen were loaded simultaneously. Because the authors suggested that creatine loading increased cell volumes and, therefore, enhanced glycogen supercompensation, we decided to determine whether an enhanced glycogen supercompensation could be realized if the glycogen loading protocol was preceded by a 5-d creatine load.

Methods: Twelve men (19-28 yr) performed two standard glycogen loading protocols interspersed with a standard creatine load of 20 g.d(-1) for 5 d. The vastus lateralis muscle was biopsied before and after each loading protocol.

Results: The initial glycogen loading protocol showed a significant 4% increase (P < 0.05) in muscle glycogen (Delta upward arrow 164 +/- 87 d.m.), and no change (P > 0.05) in total muscle creatine. Biopsies pre- and post-creatine loading showed significant increases in total muscle creatine levels in both the left leg (Delta upward arrow 41.1 +/- 31.1 d.m.) and the right leg (Delta upward arrow 36.6 +/- 19.8 d.m.), with no change in either leg's muscle glycogen content. After the final glycogen loading, a significant 53% increase in muscle glycogen (Delta upward arrow 241 +/- 150 d.m.) was detected. Finally, the postcreatine load total glycogen content (694 +/- 156 d.m.) was significantly (P < 0.05) greater than the precreatine load total glycogen content (597 +/- 142 d.m.).

Conclusion: It is suggested that a muscle's glycogen loading capacity is influenced by its initial levels of creatine and the accompanying alterations in cell volume.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Creatine / administration & dosage*
  • Creatine / metabolism*
  • Glycogen / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Leg / anatomy & histology
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / anatomy & histology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Reference Values
  • Time Factors


  • Glycogen
  • Creatine