Friday, July 20, 2012

More on Creatine

The BBC Panorama programme last night has caused a bit of interest in its expose that many of the products pushed for sports be they sports drinks, fancy footwear or BCAAs are actually pretty useless and in fact in some cases - drinking too much for example - can cause harm - reported here.

The paper behind this was in the BMJ

What actually crept into the programme at the end amid all of the debunking was a quiet statement that there are only two products that have really been found to have much in the way of positive benefits:  caffeine and creatine.

I have mentioned creatine a few times on here in the past.  I've tried it on and off and have never felt good with it - I cramp up and feel "dry".  I keep trying it again, although I've not had any for a couple of years.

Anyway, coincidentally I saw this abstract today of a review about Creatine, I've not read it yet, but the whole paper is available

Creatine is one of the most popular and widely researched natural supplements. The majority of studies have focused on the effects of creatine monohydrate on performance and health; however, many other forms of creatine exist and are commercially available in the sports nutrition/supplement market. Regardless of the form, supplementation with creatine has regularly shown to increase strength, fat free mass, and muscle morphology with concurrent heavy resistance training more than resistance training alone. Creatine may be of benefit in other modes of exercise such as high-intensity sprints or endurance training. However, it appears that the effects of creatine diminish as the length of time spent exercising increases. Even though not all individuals respond similarly to creatine supplementation, it is generally accepted that its supplementation increases creatine storage and promotes a faster regeneration of adenosine triphosphate between high intensity exercises. These improved outcomes will increase performance and promote greater training adaptations. More recent research suggests that creatine supplementation in amounts of 0.1 g/kg of body weight combined with resistance training improves training adaptations at a cellular and sub-cellular level. Finally, although presently ingesting creatine as an oral supplement is considered safe and ethical, the perception of safety cannot be guaranteed, especially when administered for long period of time to different populations (athletes, sedentary, patient, active, young or elderly).


Ondrej said...

I try to write a minimalist set of rules for my overweight father.

Eat what you like, adequately and responsibly, realize and enjoy your food. Eat protein(25g) with each main food and before sleep. Eat vegetables. Dring water when ou're thirsty, coffee and tea.

Fast for 24h twice a week. Don't fast during exercise day or twice in a row. Incorporate sleep. Then eat like usual, don't compensate.

Go to sleep at 22:00, wake up at 7:00. Do your best to sleep at least 8 hours.

Exercise once a week on set day under supervision of your son for 15-30 minutes. (:D)

Priorities: Diet > Sleep > Exercise > Everything else

What do you think? Where to simplify or make it more "soundsawesomeiwannadothis"? Thanks.

Christine Mattice said...

I have heard about creatine, but didn't know much about it. After reading your post, I want to do some more research on it and see if it's something that I should try. Thanks for the information.

Ondrej said...

I heard 2-5g a day should be benefitial, but can't back it up. Also don't know if you can simply take it that way forever.

Chris said...

The best source for information on Creatine I have found is Sol's site, a superb resource in general.

The pages on Creatine are at

The summary quote: "I honestly see no reason why somebody shouldn't supplement creatine, nor do I see any logical basis for the seeming 'fear' of this compound in society. Its safe, it healthy, its cheap, and for most people it just works. Get some Creatine Monohydrate, take 5g a day, and you're good to go."

Chris said...


I think your rules would work pretty well for the average person.

For most people getting more protein and keeping track of intake make a big difference irrespective of anything else. Fasting - I would start him with 1 fast per week and see how that goes. 2 could be a bit much. They can be added stress to the body.

Bill DeSimone said...

I used creatine about 15 years ago. The first time, did nothing. The second time, amazing, friends accused me of steroids. the third time, ruined my guts for a year. When it did work, I didn't bother with the "loading phase", just took a teaspoon with grape juice 2/3 days each week. Have not kept up with the information on it at all, the whole gut-ruining thing turned me off.

Ondrej said...

Chris: "Take 5g creatine monohydrate a day." Do you think this is meant during a short period (16 weeks for example) or for lifetime?

I streamlined the diet:
Eat what you like. Be responsible.
Fast 1-2x 24h.
Sleep 22:00-7:00.
Exercise 1x.

Gavin said...

Good article thanks. Supplementation is definitely not the science it purports to be. Remember, drinking milk immediately after a workout has been proven to be as good for muscle generation as high cost protein drinks.

Anonymous said...

Gavin, where has that been proven? I would like to read if its an actual clincial trial