Nutrition is a touchy subject. People are either oblivious to its importance or they take on an almost religious reverence towards whatever philosophy they believe in. My own daughter was a 90% vegetarian, but was forced to add red meat into her diet because she developed dangerous vitamin deficiencies. No one diet is going to be able to satisfy the optimal needs for the entire spectrum of human need. Below is a link to a good NY Times article; a thoughtful discussion by respected clinical and sports nutritionists. Enjoy
Sports Nutrition is such a murky mess. If there is any one area related to fitness that is almost hopelessly mired in superstition, lies, half-truths, and misinformation, it is sports nutrition. It’s not surprising. There are so many magazines and supposed experts, and mis-informed medical personnel who believe they are experts, but have never done any actual research, and have not really read a preponderance of the research, before making up their minds. To many in the medical community, the whole idea of strength training is anathema! Back in the 1940’s there was a study that showed that strength training enlarged the heart, which was associated with increased risk of heart disease. It was also seen as a socially marginal and suspect activity; practitioners were usually assumed to be homosexual, at a time when that label was many factors more prejudicial than they are today.
The simple fact is, there have been few supplements as exhaustively researched as creatine monohydrate, and no legitimate peer reviewed research (hundreds of them) have ever shown any negative side effects of statistical significance. What’s especially infuriating is when you read an actual research study that concludes it is extremely safe, and then the authors of the study still insist on including warnings of possible negative side effects that the study they just published refuted. Thats how hard preconceived beliefs, biases, and prejudices can be, to overcome.
What creatine supplementation will do for the vast majority of users is the following:
- Increase lean muscle mass
- Increase in body weight (due to increase muscle mass)
- Increase muscular strength
- Increased recovery times during and post workout
- Increase in anaerobic endurance (more reps)
Anyone interested in increased strength, increased muscular development, and power output should probably supplement if their diet does not include foods naturally rich in creatine. Creatine is stored,; and consequently found; in muscle. Beef and fish contain the highest concentrations, but the more processed and cooked, the less creatine will be available for human absorption.
The human body is capable of storing approximately 5-10 grams of creatine at any given time, and we naturally produce about 2 grams from our own internal resources. To fully saturate our cells we need to make up the difference with diet and/or supplementation.
Aerobic endurance athletes will see less benefit from creatine supplementation as creatine is primarily a source of anaerobic energy. Likewise, aerobic athletes often benefit from being light weight, and creatine can cause actual weight gain from the increased muscle mass. this needs to be factored into an aerobic athletes decision whether to supplement or not. It should be noted, though, that even with supplementation, weight and strength gains will be non-existent to minimal if not accompanied by a program of rigorous strength training. There is no such thing as magic.
Below are links to a true expert who performs and reviews real research on the subject. An educated exerciser gets results.
Creatine Side Effects: The Truth About Creatine Bloating, Creatine Diarrhea & other Dangers of Creatine | Nick Tumminello Hybrid Strength Training & Conditioning | Ft.Lauderdale Personal Trainer | Sports Performance & Bodybuilding: “”