Creatine & Endurance Tasks

Creatine Supplementation Exerts Dichotomous Effects Over Endurance Exercise

Creatine’s Effect Over Endurance Tasks is Mixed

1. During Endurance Exercise – No Clear Benefit Over Actual Performance

2. Following Endurance Exercise – Muscle Recuperation is Improved


2. Creatine Reduces Signs of Cellular Damage Following Exaggerated Exercise and Improves Muscle Recuperation

One recent study followed the expression indicators of cell damage in seasoned endurance athletes after the completion of a 30-kilometer race. The markers used to monitor the extent of cell damage included creatine kinase, lactate dehydrogenase, prostaglandin E2 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha. Some of these markers are specific to muscle and are leaked into the blood stream following microscopic sites of muscle trauma provoked by exercise, while others are released by macrophages whose job is to destroy and ingest injured muscle tissue in preparation for a phase of muscle rebuilding.

Study Design: Before participating in a 30 km foot race, 18 male athletes supplemented with 20 grams of creatine monohydrate (and 60 grams maltodextrine) per day for five days, while another 16 athletes served as ‘controls’ and supplemented with maltodextrine alone for the same number of days. Creatine supplementation produced no adverse side effects such as cramping, dehydration or diarrhea, either before or during the race. Although creatine supplementation did not significantly improve the personal best time of the supplementing (experimental) group, it did reduce the levels of these markers of cellular damage present in the blood stream following the race. These results indicate that creatine supplementation (somehow) reduces the amount of cell damage and inflammation following exhaustive exercise. This aspect of creatine supplementation will enhance endurance performance in the long-term by promoting greater recovery following the event.

Quoting the authors of the manuscript:

Taken together these observations show that creatine supplementation before running 30km reduces the effort-induced increment observed in markers of cell death, muscle soreness and proteolysis, what suggests a positive effect of the supplementation strategy in maintaining muscle integrity after intense prolonged exercise.

Selected Scientific Reference

Creatine Supplementation Reduces Markers of Inflammation in Endurance Athletes

The following study provided convincing evidence that creatine supplementation reduces biochemical markers of cell inflammation following endurance exercise.

Santos, R. V. et al. (2004) The effect of creatine supplementation upon inflammatory and muscle soreness markers after a 30km race. Life Sciences, Volume 75(16), pages 1917-1924.

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