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Creatine Supplementation Reduces Exercise Induced Fatigue

Creatine plays an important role in the production of energy and in the process of building muscle tissue. Creatine can be produced in the body from the amino acids arginine, glycine, and methionine. However, because of the role it plays in creating energy and muscle, many athletes are using creatine as a performance-enhancing agent. Creatine may enhance the performance of high-intensity, short-duration exercise, but it is not useful in endurance sports. Some investigators feel that high-quality research is lacking. There is roughly an even distribution between studies reporting benefits and lack of benefits.

Exercise-induced fatigue may be responsible for a decrease in performance. Various biochemical mechanisms can cause physical fatigue after exercise, such as the depletion of stored energy, dysfunctions in cellular components that are responsible for producing energy, and the production of free radicals inside muscle cells. Some of these mechanisms can be targeted by supplementing dietary nutrients that contribute to energy production.

A recent study published in the journal, Nutrition, sought to determine whether low dose creatine supplementation could reduce muscle fatigue. The six-week, double-blind placebo-controlled trial involved twenty healthy men and women. The participants were tested on two occasions before beginning creatine supplementation to determine a reliable baseline. They were tested for body composition, muscle strength, muscle fatigue, and they also provided blood samples to test plasma creatine concentration. The participants were then randomized to receive either 0.03 g of creatine or placebo per kilogram of body weight daily for 6 weeks. The results revealed that low dose creatine supplementation significantly increased plasma creatine concentration levels and increased resisitance to fatigue during repeated bouts of high intensity exercise. These results suggest that low doses of creatine may be useful in combating exercise induced fatigue and increase muscle function.1

1 Rawson ES, Stec MJ, Frederickson SJ, et al. Low-dose creatine supplementation enhances fatigue resistance in the absence of weight gain. Nutrition. Jun2010.