Richard Stockton College Athletic Training

Sports Nutrition Newsletter
A Periodic Newsletter that addresses the Nutritional aspects
of athletic competition.

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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
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. Creatine phosphate 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 athletic performance?

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?

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. independently tests and evaluates dietary supplements. 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's independent testing of creatine monohydrate supplements:

•99% Pure Creatine - Creatine Monohydrate powder (Natrol)
•Athletic Series Creatine 1000 mg. tablets (Source Naturals)
•Body Fortress Hardcore Formula Creatine Powder HPLC (U.S. Nutrition)
•Body Fortress High Performance Creatine, Grape Flavor powder (U.S. Nutrition)
•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 Nutrition)
•Perfect Creatine Monohydrate powder (Nature's Best)
•Performance Enhancer Creatine Fuel 700 mg. Capsules (Twinlab)
•Precision Engineered Hardcore Formula Creatine Caps 700 mg. (U.S. Nutrition)
•Precision Engineered Hardcore Formula Creatine Powder (U.S. Nutrition)
•Precision Engineered High Performance Creatine HPDS3 High Performance Delivery System Third Generation, Fruit Punch Flavor powder (U.S. Nutrition)
Questions or comments regarding the Athletic Training Pages should be directed to 
Jon Heck at: