Creatine supplementation improves muscular performance in older men

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GOTSHALK, L. A., J. S. VOLEK, R. S. STARON, C. R. DENEGAR, F. C. HAGERMAN, and W. J. KRAEMER. Creatine supplementation improves muscular performance in older men. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 34, No. 3, pp. 537–543, 2002.PurposeCreatine supplementation has been shown to enhance muscle strength and power after only 5–7 d in young adults. Creatine supplementation could therefore benefit older individuals because aging is associated with a decrease in muscle strength and explosive power.MethodsWe examined the effects of 7 d of creatine supplementation in normally active older men (59–72 yr) by using a double-blind, placebo-controlled design with repeated measures. After a 3-wk familiarization period to minimize learning effects, a battery of tests was completed on three occasions separated by 7 d (T1, T2, and T3). After T1, subjects were matched and randomly assigned into creatine (N = 10) and placebo (N = 8) groups. After T2, subjects consumed supplements (0.3 g·kg−1·d−1) for 7 d until T3. All subjects were tested for maximal dynamic strength (one-repetition maximum leg press and bench press), maximal isometric strength (knee extension/flexion), upper- and lower-body explosive power (6 × 10-s sprints on a cycle ergometer), and lower-extremity functional ability (timed sit-stand test and tandem gait test). Body composition was assessed via hydrostatic weighing, and blood samples were obtained to assess renal and hepatic responses and muscle creatine concentrations.ResultsNo significant increases in any performance measures were observed from T1 to T2 with the exception of isometric right-knee flexion in the placebo group indicating stability in the testing protocols. Significant group-by -time interactions indicated the responses from T2 to T3 were significantly greater (P ≤ 0.05) in the creatine compared with the placebo group, respectively, for body mass (1.86 and −1.01 kg), fat-free mass (2.22 and 0.00 kg), maximal dynamic strength (7–8 and 1–2%), maximal isometric strength (9–15 and −6 to 1%), lower-body mean power (11 and 0%), and lower-extremity functional capacity (6–9 and 1–2%). No adverse side effects were observed.ConclusionThese data indicate that 7 d of creatine supplementation is effective at increasing several indices of muscle performance, including functional tests in older men without adverse side effects. Creatine supplementation may be a useful therapeutic strategy for older adults to attenuate loss in muscle strength and performance of functional living tasks.

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