One of the most versatile supplements, creatine, can be one of your most valuable tools for athletic success. There is an abundance of evidence that shows creatine is a safe and effective ergogenic aid. Let me share with you some of the awesome things that creatine does and dispel some of the myths of what it does not do.
Fact: Health Food
There are several “inborn errors of metabolism” that have been identiﬁed in that all of these metabolic diseases are characterized by a lack of creatine and hosphorylcreatine in the brain, and by (severe) mental retardation. Creatine biosynthesis has been suggested to impact homocysteine concentration in the plasma, which has been identiﬁ ed as an independent risk factor for heart disease. By decreasing homocysteine production, oral creatine supplementation may also lower the risk for developing coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease.
Fact: A Big Brain Booster
In one study, scientists showed that supplementation with creatine (8 g/day for ﬁve days) reduced mental fatigue when subjects repeatedly perform simple mathematical tasks. According to the study’s authors, “After taking the creatine supplement, task-evoked increase of cerebral oxygenated hemoglobin in the brains of subjects measured by near infrared spectroscopy was signiﬁcantly reduced, which is compatible with increased oxygen utilization in the brain.”
Myth: Dehydrates You?
One of the pervasive myths surrounding the use of creatine is that it’ll make you lose water faster and dehydrate. Here’s what a study from San Diego University showed us:
Twenty college males supplemented with creatine or a placebo for 28 days. Subjects in the creatine group consumed four doses of creatine (5.25 g per dose) for ﬁ ve days; for the remaining 23 days, they consumed two doses of creatine per day. The placebo group got equal dosages of a placebo. Subjects exercised on a bike for 60 minutes at 60 percent of their max oxygen uptake under hot conditions (99 degrees F, 25 percent relative humidity). They found that the rise in body temperature during cycling exercise was less in the creatine group. Fact: There is Tons of Safety Data Dr. Richard Kreider, a Professor at Baylor University and an advisory board member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, completed a study in which he examined, over a 21-month period, 98 Division IA college football players who consumed in an open label manner, creatine or non-creatine containing upplements following training sessions. Subjects who ingested creatine were administered 15.75 g/day of creatine monohydrate for ﬁ ve days and an average of 5 g/day thereafter in 5 to 10 g/day doses.
Fasting blood and 24-hour urine samples were collected. A comprehensive uantitative clinical chemistry panel was determined on serum and whole-blood samples and urine samples were quantitatively and qualitative analyzed. Kreider stated, “The long-term creatine supplementation (up to 21-months) does not appear to adversely effect markers of health status in athletes undergoing intense training in comparison to athletes who do not take creatine.”
In Summary, Creatine:
1. Enhances athletic performance in the strength-power sports.
2. Promotes gains in lean body mass.
3. May help neuromuscular function in those with various metabolic diseases.
4. May improve brain function.
5. Is safe when taken as directed.
NUTRITION by Chad Case, C.S.N.