Creatine and athletes

Creatine and Athletes – What You Need to Know.

Dr. Aaron GerardResearch and Insights0 Comments

The Supplement Scoop

Athletes always search for ways to train harder, be stronger and recover faster.  In a competitive world, it’s important to routinely evaluate all aspects of an athletes lifestyle in order to gain a competitive edge. These areas include but are not limited to training, sleep, nutrition, injury prevention, and rehab. What seems like the most overlooked component of performance is nutrition. To be more specific, I am referring to supplementation and creatine.

The International Society of Sports Nutrition states creatine monohydrate remains one of the few nutritional supplements that research has consistently shown to have ergogenic benefits. Ergogenic benefits are anything that enhances physical performance, stamina or recovery.

The Benefits

  1. Enhance recovery from workouts,
  2. Reduce muscle damage from intense exercise,
  3. Decrease inflammation,
  4. Reduce muscle strains,
  5. Decrease cramping and dehydration,
  6.  Increase work capacity,
  7. Increase training tolerance,
  8. Lower the amount of muscle atrophy during post-surgical rehabilitation.

Creatine and Brain Function

By increasing the brain creatine content by 5-15%, it will then reduce mental fatigue as well as an increase in working memory because of this change. There have been more than 1,000 studies to date researching its safety and effectiveness. Adverse health risks have not shown to occur.

Many types of athletes benefit from the use of creatine supplementation, although sports that require intense training and explosiveness have shown the most effectiveness. Said sports include track and field, basketball, field hockey, squash, football, lacrosse, volleyball, skiing, combat sports, tennis and weight lifting.

Natural Supplementation and Effectiveness

Creatine is a naturally occurring non-protein amino acid compound found primarily in red meat and seafood. You will find Creatine in the skeletal muscle (~95%) in small amounts also found in the brain and testes (~5%).  The human body has a limit on how much creatine can be stored so it is essential to replenish its supplies daily. This supplementation has been found to be the most effective way to replenish stores in the body, as most people do not consume enough foods to accomplish this.

There are many forms of creatine on the market today.  The form that has been extensively studied and recommended is Creatine Monohydrate. The most common protocol for supplementing creatine is to consume 20 grams per day (5 grams taken at 4 separate times per day) for 5-7 days to saturate the creatine levels in the body and then reducing the dosage to 5-10 grams a day to maintain optimum levels.

Men are the primary subject of this study, but many have been done on women as well. Creatine use is not as beneficial for women. However, the increased health benefits make it a recommendation. More and more girls are weight training and playing contact sports.  Girls with this type of training will benefit more from the creatine supplementation.

My Experience

Creatine supplementation can be an extremely effective tool in the athletes’ toolbox.  It’s a very safe way to increase performance, mental clarity, and reduce risk for injuries.

As a strength athlete myself I have recently added creatine monohydrate back into my regimen.  My ultimate goal in the long term is to increase my strength in the safest most effective way possible.  I focus on compound lifts (squats, deadlifts, overhead press, etc).  These lifts require high levels of explosiveness.  Creatine also helps with both strength and recovery. This means that working out is a huge benefit because it will help you in these areas. One of the major benefits I have noticed is less soreness after high volume training days. Thorne Research has a NSF approved creatine that many of our professional athlete patients use. To order, just follow the link below:

Thorne Research Creatine

Get more information about nutritional supplementation from us! Greenwich Sports Medicine has many resources at your disposal. Give us a call!

Dr. Aaron Gerard

Dr. Aaron Gerard

Reference :

International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine

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