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Eat To Grow: Store More Creatine

If you?re going to be a vegetarian, you may want to supplement with creatine

Early studies of creatine supplementation suggested that those who respond best to it are likely to be vegetarians. Vegetarians usually don’t eat foods high in creatine, such as red meat, and must depend on the body’s endogenous production of creatine, which averages one gram a day. As a result, vegetarians often show lower levels of creatine storage than nonvegetarians. The lower the initial store of creatine, the greater the uptake into muscle when you supplement.

That concept was confirmed in a study presented by a group of researchers at the ’01 Experimental Biology meeting in Orlando, Florida, in April. Twenty-one male and 14 female nonvegetarians and seven male and 10 female vegetarians were randomly assigned to receive either a creatine supplement or a placebo while engaging in eight weeks of weight training.

The results, which were based on muscle biopsies from the participants, showed that the vegetarians using creatine had greater creatine storage than the nonvegetarians using creatine. Both groups taking creatine showed a ‘strong trend’ toward greater increases in the size of type 2 muscle fibers than those using the placebo did.

This study confirms that creatine works particularly well for both vegans and lacto-ovo vegetarians, who eat eggs and dairy products. They don’t have to worry that creatine is manufactured from animal products, since the process involves totally synthetic materials not derived from animals. IM

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