The 2001 meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine presented several new studies related to creatine use. Here are some highlights:
‘A study of rats showed that providing supplemental creatine led to lower blood lactate levels in the rats undergoing intense exercise. The researchers thought the effect was due to an acid-buffering property of the creatine that leads to decreased muscular fatigue and increased muscular-energy efficiency during exercise.
‘A study of mice examined the long-term effects of using supplemental creatine. Some of the mice were given creatine for eight weeks, while others stayed on the supplement for 10 months. Those in the eight-week group showed slight swellings of liver cells. Those in the 10-month group showed liver changes indicative of chronic hepatitis. While that appears to be alarming, mice and people react to creatine differently. There are no records of any humans experiencing adverse effects on the liver due to creatine use, even for a year or longer.
‘The safety of long-term creatine use for humans is underscored by another study, this one focusing on 94 collegiate football players who used creatine for 21 months. None of the athletes showed any adverse changes in either liver or kidney function.
‘A study compared short-term creatine use in younger and older subjects. Both the former (average age 24) and the latter (average age 70) took 20 grams of creatine a day for five days, a typical loading regimen. While both groups showed similar levels of creatine in blood and urine, the older subjects didn’t load creatine into their muscles as effectively as the younger group. Past studies have also shown that older people don’t respond to creatine as well as younger people.
‘Another study looked at the effects of creatine on hormones during a period of overtraining. It found that creatine appeared to maintain total testosterone levels (which usually decline during overtraining), while preventing an increase in uric acid levels.
‘Can creatine help maintain strength during repetitive high-intensity training in a hot and humid environment? According to a new study, it cannot’though researchers found that it did enhance repeated bouts of high-intensity training.
‘Does creatine work better for men or women? A new study showed few differences in creatine’s effect, but the women in the sample showed greater improvement during a fatigue test than the men.
‘Two studies of collegiate football and baseball players who used creatine throughout the competitive season showed no side effects in either group.
‘D-pinitol is said to have insulinlike effects. Since insulin has been linked to higher levels of creatine absorption, a study looked at the effects of using D-pinitol during a creatine-loading phase. Men taking pinitol in conjunction with creatine showed augmented creatine retention. Those who got a placebo did not. IM