Supplements- Creatine- Pros and Cons for Endurance Athletes

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Creatine

Pros

  • Enhance body’s ability to achieve high-intensity work (perfect for those sprint sessions) (The American College Of Sports Medicine, 2000)
  • Improve ATP energy breakdown (Katz & Westerblad, 2014).
    • ATP are packets of energy that your body uses in order to function…so this is a very, very good quality of creatine
  • Improves anaerobic capacity (again, bettering your sprint sessions, allowing you to push harder during your short-term, all-out sprints)
  • Improves glucose tolerance, allowing for more available energy during your endurance sessions
  • Improve bone healing- very important for endurance runners to avoid stress fractures
  • Improve muscle mass and muscle status (I know a lot of triathletes want to be lean, but it’s also good to have muscle bulk to increase power output)
  • Increases muscle strength and cross-sectional area
  • Increases power
    • What you need during your final sprint to the finish line; maximal velocity and force production (Volek et al., 1997)
  • Decreases time to fatigue
    • More reps, more sets, or longer runs; you choose
  • Breaks you out of a plateau
  • Decrease in blood lactate post-exercise compared to non-creatine subjects (Izquierdo et al.)

Cons

  • Requires a loading phase
  • Does not enhance recovery (decreases time to full recovery)
    • Unfortunately, according to a meta-analysis by Rawson, Conti, & Miles (2007) on contrary to previously believed methodologies, creatine doesn’t help decrease time of musculoskeletal recovery
  • Weight gain due to water retention in the intramuscular space
  • Potential for kidney damage, bloating, and reduced blood plasma if you take too much (>20g creatine for >5 days) (Barrette, 1998).

Barrette, E. P. (1998). Creatine supplementation for enhancement of athletic performance. Altern Med Alert1(7), 73-76.

Katz, A., & Westerblad, H. (2014). Regulation of glycogen breakdown and its consequences for skeletal muscle function after training. Mammalian Genome25(9-10), 464-472.

Mikel Izquierdo, Javier Iban˜ Ez, Juan J. Gonza´ Lez-Badillo, And Esteban M. Gorostiaga. Effects of creatine supplementation on muscle power, endurance, and sprint performance.

Rawson, E. S., Conti, M. P., & Miles, M. P. (2007). Creatine supplementation does not reduce muscle damage or enhance recovery from resistance exercise. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research21(4), 1208-1213.
THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF SPORTS MEDICINE. (2000). The physiological and health effects of oral creatine supplementation. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 32:706–717

Volek, J. S., Kraemer, W. J., Bush, J. A., Boetes, M., Incledon, T., Clark, K. L., & Lynch, J. M. (1997). Creatine supplementation enhances muscular performance during high-intensity resistance exercise. Journal of the American Dietetic Association97(7), 765-770.

 


 

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