What is Guanidinopropionic Acid?
Guanidinopropionic Acid (N-(aminoiminomethyl)-beta-alanine) is a creatine monohydrate analogue. It is a common ingredient in products containing creatine monohydrate.
What does it do and what scientific studies give evidence to support this?
Guanidinopropionic Acid helps to regulate insulin function and is a popular addition to products containing creatine monohydrate. Insulin, within the context of low body fat levels, is an anabolic hormone. This means that it triggers the body to make new muscle tissue from dietary protein. Insulin also causes the body to increase its uptake of creatine to muscle tissue. Many athletes like to spike insulin after a hard workout so that they can speed the repair of tired muscles. Studies on guanidinopropionic acid show that it can be useful to athletes in a number of ways.
Research has shown that guanidinopropionic acid can help to improve insulin function, promote weight loss, improve your muscles ability to contract, increase your body's creatine uptake1, and, most importantly, help to make your muscles appear more prominent!2
Some clinical studies have demonstrated that guanidinopropionic acid can damage protein3, is sometimes toxic4, and that it can disrupt creatine uptake.5
However, it should be noted that the ability of guanidinopropionic acid to damage protein is minimal within the context of the athletes high protein diet, that the levels required to reach toxicity are well beyond recommended dosages, and that its ability to "disrupt" creatine uptake does NOT mean that it "inhibits" creatine uptake.
This can be logically demonstrated by considering that guanidinopropionic acid helps the body uptake creatine, thus allowing the body to use MORE creatine. It therefore cannot both help the body absorb MORE creatine AND cause the body to absorb LESS creatine at the same time and in the same way.
Who needs it and what are some symptoms of deficiency?
Athletes from all sports can benefit from supplementing with a creatine monohydrate product containing guanidinopropionic acid. So-called creatine monohydrate "non-responders" may benefit from using a product containing guanidinopropionic acid. Often, a non-response to creatine has little to do with creatine itself, and instead has to do with the internal state of the body. Guanidinopropionic acid can help the body to take up more creatine, and this may result in non-responders getting the results they desire.
No physiological requirement exists, and there are no symptoms of deficiency.
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