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Athletic Training

Pros and Cons of Creatine Usage

04/29/1999

Question:

Could you please give me information on Creatine? If you have specific information on the use of creatine in athletics, I would like that too. Any resource recommendations would also be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Answer:

Creatine is certainly "the" sports nutrition supplement these days. The difference between creatine and other sports nutrition supplements is that creatine has been subjected to several good, scientific, clinical trials whereas many other supplements gain popularity as a result of testimonials and poorly controlled studies and therefore are much less reliable. If you are interested in reading some of the studies on Creatine, a Medline search would be the best place to start. You can access Medline on the World Wide Web (see link below). Creatine has been shown to improve performance during intermittent exercise. This includes weight lifting and any sport with "sprint-type" activity. It has not been found to be effecive for endurance activity such as distance swimming or running. Creatine appears to have no effect for about 30% of people who use it. No short-term adverse effects have been found, but long-term side effects are not known yet. Creatine may exacerbate dehydration and users are encouraged to drink fluids liberally. Keep in mind that supplements are not controlled by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are not regulated for safety and efficacy. If you decide to take creatine, I recommend you do not exceed the dose described on the label (usually 5 grams per day with a 1 week loading dose of 20 grams) and if you do not see a benefit within a month or two, stop taking it.

Related Resources:

Medline

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Response by:

Beth C Miller, MS,RD,LD Beth C Miller, MS,RD,LD
Sports Nutritionist
The Buckeyes Online
The Ohio State University