Can creatine monohydrate help you retain muscle during a layoff? Here's the science.
We all know what creatine does for the lifter who's actually lifting weights, but there's evidence that creatine also helps maintain muscle during periods of disuse or inactivity.
Johnston, et al found that when creatine was given to lifters who'd volunteered to have one arm immobilized for two weeks, the non-essential amino acid better maintained upper-arm muscle (0.9%) over placebo.
Creatine also attenuated the reduction in elbow flexion strength (-4.1% vs. 21.5%) and elbow extension strength (-3.8% vs. -18.3%).
This research involved immobilized limbs, so we can only extrapolate from the findings. Still, if you were taking micronized creatine before your layoff, you should think about using it during your layoff.
It has plenty of healthful attributes and, at the very least, it engorges your muscle cells with fluid, giving at least the cosmetic look of someone who hasn't missed too many workouts.
- Adam Johnston, et al. "Effect of Creatine Supplementation During Cast-Induced Immobilization on the Preservation of Muscle Mass, Strength, and Endurance," The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 23 (1), 116-120, Jan 2009.