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Creatine boosts physical performance

BERN, SWITZERLAND. The energy required for short-term muscular exertion is derived from phosphocreatine and the availability of it is a limiting factor for the duration of high- intensity exercise. The availability of phosphocreatine in turn depends on an adequate store of creatine in the muscles. It is therefore not surprising that several trials have shown that supplementation with creatine can markedly increase short-term athletic performance.

Researchers at the University of Bern now report that athletes can increase their short- term physical performance by as much as seven per cent through creatine supplementation. Their study involved 10 well-trained male physical education students. They took 20 grams/day of creatine monohydrate or placebo for five days; they then went through a washout period (average duration - 61 days, minimum duration - 28 days) after which the students who had taken the placebo were given creatine and vice versa. The physical performance of the students was measured before and after supplementation using a bicycle ergometer. The test regimen consisted of 10 repetitive sprints of six seconds each with a 30-second rest period between each sprint. The researchers found that the study participants who had taken creatine were able to cycle an average of seven per cent faster on the last sprints (sprints 8-10) than were the students on the placebo. The creatine group also produced less blood lactate during the exercise, had more creatine in the urine, and more creatine and creatinine in the blood serum. Creatinine level in the urine and creatinine clearance were not significantly different in the two groups. The researchers conclude that short-term supplementation with creatine monohydrate is effective in improving short-term physical performance and shows no detrimental side effects. NOTE: This study was partially funded by Wander AG, a Swiss manufacturer of creatine.
Kamber, Matthias, et al. Creatine supplementation - Part I: performance, clinical chemistry, and muscle volume. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, Vol. 31, December 1999, pp. 1763-69

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