|Nancy Brinch, MS, RD, LSW,
is Richard Stockton College's campus nutritionist. She obtained
her BS in Food and Nutriton from the Univ. of Delaware and her Master's
in Nutrition from Penn State Univ.
She provides individual, confidential nutritional counseling to
students. Her service is free for RSC students. For appointments
call extension 5740. Nancy Brinch can be contacted at Nancy.Brinch@stockton.edu
|Creatine Supplements & Athletics
|Stockton athletics does not advocate
the use of nutritional supplements or ergogenic aids, other
than a multi-vitamin. This information is provided so our
athletes can make informed decisions. We have another article
on creatine available here.
By Nancy Brinch, MS, RD, LSW
Creatine has become a popular supplement among athletes due to claims
that it can increase muscle mass and strength and provide extra
energy. Is there any truth to these claims?
Creatine plays a role in the production of energy in muscle cells.
and adenosine triphosphate supply most of the energy for short-term,
intense exercise. If the muscle cell's supply of creatine phosphate
becomes depleted, the rate of energy production in the cell is decreased.
This has a negative impact on athletic performance. Creatine supplementation
is used in an attempt to increase the rate of regeneration of the
cell's energy in order to improve athletic performance.
Creatine is produced in the body. It is also found in meat, poultry
and fish. Creatine monohydrate is the form of creatine found in
supplements. Research has shown that taking 20 - 25 grams of creatine
monohydrate in four or five doses of 5 grams each for 5 to 7 days
can produce a 20% increase in the amount of creatine in muscle cells.
After taking this loading dose, a maintenance dose of 2 to 5 grams
a day sustains the increased creatine level.
Does this increased muscle creatine improve
Research on the potential benefits of creatine supplementation
is mixed. One study showed that taking 25 grams of creatine a day
for six days (five doses of 5 grams) increased the number of repetitions
of bench presses and power output during squats. These authors concluded
that taking creatine could help an athlete train harder. Research
using creatine supplements for football players showed improved
performance during sprints. Another study with football players
showed no effect on strength or on sprint performance. A study on
creatine supplementation in wrestlers showed that creatine did not
significantly change muscle mass or percent body fat although it
did increase peak power output. Some research has shown that creatine
supplementation increases body weight, but it is unclear whether
this is due to fluid retention or increased muscle mass. Research
using creatine supplements during endurance exercise such as cross-country
running has shown no beneficial effects.
Are there risks associated with taking creatine
supplements can cause muscle cramps and strains, dehydration, upset
stomach and weight gain. High doses (20 grams daily) taken over
long periods of time can cause kidney damage. Little is known yet
about other potential long-term side effects of creatine supplementation.
What to consider if buying or using creatine
Product labels for creatine supplements should state that the product
contains "creatine monohydrate" that is 99% pure or 100% pure. Creatine
monohydrate can be purchased in a variety of forms such as powder
(which is taken with water or juice), drink mixes, capsules and
tablets. The amount of creatine monohydrate in a dose or in the
container should be indicated on the label.
tests and evaluates dietary supplements. ConsumerLab.com tested
supplements containing creatine monohydrate to determine whether
the supplements contained 100% of the stated weight of creatine
and to evaluate purity of the supplements. The following products
passed ConsumerLab.com's independent testing of creatine monohydrate
99% Pure Creatine - Creatine Monohydrate powder (Natrol)
Athletic Series Creatine 1000 mg. tablets (Source Naturals)
Body Fortress Hardcore Formula Creatine Powder HPLC (U.S.
Body Fortress High Performance Creatine, Grape Flavor powder
Creapure Creatine Monohydrate Powder (Prolab)
Creatine 6000-ES Creatine Monohydrate powder (Muscletech)
Creatine Blast powder (Pharmanex)
Creatine Monohydrate 725 mg. capsules (Weider)
Creatine Monohydrate powder (Sport Pharma)
Engineered Nutrition Micronized Creatine 99% Pure powder (MetRx)
High-Energy Creatine Loading Formula Universal Micronized
Creatine, Creapure 100% Pure Creatine Monohydrate powder (Universal
Perfect Creatine Monohydrate powder (Nature's Best)
Performance Enhancer Creatine Fuel 700 mg. Capsules (Twinlab)
Precision Engineered Hardcore Formula Creatine Caps 700 mg.
Precision Engineered Hardcore Formula Creatine Powder (U.S.
Precision Engineered High Performance Creatine HPDS3 High
Performance Delivery System Third Generation, Fruit Punch Flavor
powder (U.S. Nutrition)