Many of you know that creatine is a nutritional supplement used to increase creatine phosphate stores in striated muscle and thereby increase functional energy production. It has been proven to safely allow athletes to train at a higher intensity, which stimulates a greater adaptive response, and so improve performance. However, because it has such a profound and proven ergogenic effect, the very same group of alarmists with agendas and political clout that have demonized anabolic steroids, have set their sites on Creatine. Some of these groups have gone so far as to get referendum on the ballot to ban creatine in high school sports and actually add it to the list of "drugs" for which schools should test their athletes.
These activists base their do-gooder alarmist, "save the children" agenda on flimsy evidence, if you can even call it "evidence."
As the story goes, over the last several years creatine supplementation has been blamed on a host of adverse events. According to a 1998 FDA report that lists 32 adverse creatine-associated events that had been reported to FDA, they include seizure, vomiting, diarrhea, anxiety, myopathy, cardiac arrhythmia, deep vein thromboses and death. The only problem with such citing is that there is no certainty that a reported adverse event can be attributed to a particular product, let alone the creatine the respondents allegedly took. Certainly the athlete experiencing the adverse event was probably taking creatine as reported, but what else was he also taking? It's possible he was concomitantly taking Tylenol, or Ibuprofen, or even vitamin C. All of which can also incite similar adverse events as those reportedly blamed on creatine. So why blame the creatine and not the Tylenol?
In reality, upon closer scrutiny of the evidence - or rather the lack of it - it appears that creatine is far more benign than the negative reports would have the public believe. The only demonstrative action of creatine supplementation worthy of note is that it is highly effective at increasing muscle size and strength.
Unfortunately, the mainstream media seems to have an undying problem with anything that increases muscle size and strength and seeks to report nefarious events without doing any research to back up the claims, mostly voiced by media whore alarmists with agendas.
Unfortunately, none of the agendas to which these alarmists adhere is at all concerned with telling the truth. It seems that the fault of most newsworthy negative events that effect our health, especially our kids' health, is the fault of a nutritional supplement. Especially a supplement designed to increase athletic performance. "Got a problem? It can't possibly be a drug, so blame a supplement," so their mantra goes.
Well, the only problem with such a conviction is that it isn't so. To wit, I must ask, in light of such staunch condemnation for a substance, where's the science? Numerous adverse event reports cite "creatine" as the culprit, however fail to disclose the nature of the accusation. All too often we hear that so-and-so football player experienced some horrific event while taking creatine. So, it must be the fault of the creatine, right? God forbid it could possibly be considered that it might be the fault of the 30 other things he was taking. Only the creatine.
This patent demonization is particularly troubling when you consider the safety and efficacy of creatine as proven in numerous scientific studies that were published in prestigious peer reviewed medical journals, such as the Journal of Applied Physiology, International Journal of Sport Nutrition, Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Australian Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, and the Journal Neurology. Some of those studies that support creatine supplementation is athletics include:
- One study that demonstrated that daily supplementation with 5 g of creatine monohydrate increased the intracellular creatine and PCr content of quadriceps muscle in 17 human subjects. Those with the lowest initial total creatine content had the greatest increase. In addition, exercise enhanced creatine uptake in muscle. No adverse effects were reported.
- Another study that found that one week of creatine supplementation at 25 g/day enhanced muscular performance during repeated sets of bench press and jump squat exercise. Creatine supplementation appeared to allow the subjects to complete their workouts at a higher intensity. The researchers concluded that, over time, working at higher intensities may provide a more intense training stimulus and improved muscular adaptations. No adverse events were reported.
- Another study demonstrated that females receiving 4 days of high-dose creatine intake (20 g/day) followed by low-dose creatine intake (5 g/day) during 10 weeks of resistance training (3hours/week) increased muscle PCr concentrations by 6%. Also, maximal strength of the muscle groups trained increased by 20-25%, maximal intermittent exercise capacity of the arm flexors increased by 10-25% and fat-free mass increased by 60%. No adverse events were reported.
- A double-blind study provided 20 g/day of creatine monohydrate for 5 days to qualified sprinters and jumpers who performed 45 seconds of continuous jumping and 60 seconds of continuous treadmill running. Supplementation enhanced performance in the jumping test by 7% for the first 15 seconds and 12% for the next 15 seconds, but there was no difference for the final 15 seconds. There was a 13% improvement in the time of intensive running to exhaustion. No adverse events were reported.
- Another double-blind study supplemented with 18.75 g/day of creatine monohydrate for 5 days prior to high-intensity intermittent work to exhaustion, and then 2.25 g/day during testing. The workouts consisted of cycling to exhaustion using several protocols: (a) nonstop, (b) 60 seconds work/120 seconds rest, (c) 20 seconds work/40 seconds rest, and (d) 10 seconds work/20 seconds rest. Creatine supplementation significantly increased the total work time for all four protocols. No adverse events were reported.
- Another study tested male subjects performing two bouts of 30 second isokinetic cycling before and after ingesting 20 g creatine monohydrate daily for 5 days. Work production improved about 4%. Cumulative increases in both peak and total work production over the two exercise bouts were positively correlated with the increase in muscle creatine. No adverse events were reported.
- A 12-week placebo-controlled study of 19 weightlifters in their mid-twenties found that the creatine group could lift more weight and had greater increases in fat-free mass and muscle-fiber size than did the placebo group. The researchers thought that the creatine let the athletes who used it train harder. No adverse events were reported.
Most notable in these studies is that the dosing for creatine closely follows that of label instructions for many legitimate creatine sport supplements. However, a recent study published in Acta Pædiatrica, a prestigious peer-reviewed monthly journal at the forefront of international pediatric research that covers both clinical and experimental research in all areas of pediatrics, published in Stockholm, Sweden, and then subsequently published in The Lancet, one of the world's most prestigious leading medical journals, pokes the biggest hole in the accusations against creatine rife on the internet.
In a study designed to test the efficacy of creatine to protect the brain from TBI or traumatic brain injury, researches fed test subjects - who ranged in age from ONE year of age to 18 - a staggering dose of 0.4 g/kg of creatine in an oral suspension form every day. Just to give you an idea, that dose is equal to 36.4 grams daily for a 200 pound individual - roughly EIGHT times the recommended dose! And what did the researches find? Not only a marked improvement in several parameters associated with TBI, but the real kicker? NO adverse side effects from the creatine!
So let's get this straight. You can give a boatload of creatine to kids with TBI and it helps with a whole host of issues and it's safe, but give it to a healthy well trained high school football player and he'll die. I have to give props to the alarmists, they have indeed endowed creatine with cognitive powers!
The message here is loud and clear. SCIENCE proves that creatine is safe and effective. If that wasn't the case VPX/Redline wouldn't contain creatine in its university proven products!
Grow in peace.