Athletes and bodybuilders often use creatine, a natural chemical compound found mainly in muscles, to increase muscle strength and size. This sports supplement is recognized primarily for its effectiveness in high-intensity training, such as speed racing and weightlifting. However, the evidence supporting its usefulness for resistance training is not so clear.
Experts say no
Athletes looking for ways to increase their speed, strength and endurance often turn to creatine. However, although many major sources, including MedlinePlus, a website of the National Institutes of Health, and the University of Maryland Medical Center, agree that creatine can have a positive effect on high-intensity exercise, they do not respond by the role of creatine in the promotion of resistance. In fact, both MedlinePlus and the UMMC website note that creatine does not seem to improve performance in aerobic or endurance exercises.
A study published in the July 1998 issue of the journal "Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise" tried to determine if creatine can have a positive effect on endurance athletes. The results were not clear cut. Although the study found that creatine has no positive effect on cardiovascular endurance, it did significantly increase the potency interval yield of 18 percent. This study concluded that, although creatine does not have a direct effect on cardiovascular endurance, a dose of 6 grams per day has a positive effect on short-term exercise, such as finishing jets included in the aerobic endurance exercise.
Based on a meta-analysis of five studies, Examine. com scores creatine with a "C" for aerobic exercise, indicating that creatine does not seem to benefit prolonged cardiovascular exercise. However, resistance exercises may involve more than cardiovascular exercise. Depending on the resistance activity that is being done, creatine can be beneficial. In sports where a burst of speed or power is incorporated, creatine can be useful under certain conditions. It also seems to slightly increase anaerobic cardiovascular capacity, according to Examine. com.
Safety and side effects
While creatine is generally considered safe, it is essential to consult a doctor before taking it if you have a medical condition or if you are taking medication. High doses of creatine have the potential to cause kidney damage, so be sure to stick with the manufacturer's recommended dose and drink 64 ounces of water daily while taking creatine, as recommended by Medline Plus.The side effects of creatine can include weight gain, muscle cramps, muscle strains and jerks, stomach pain, diarrhea, dizziness, high blood pressure and liver dysfunction.