Continuing to trudge through my semester- final stretch before exams, cannot wait until christmas!! Still loving my job and have found a new love with kale chips :p lol. I’ve been a little unmotivated with training over the past month but after not being able to compete this past weekend (work :() I’ve gotten a little inspiration and am back full force :). Did a pretty good workout today, I’m sure my shoulders will be wrecked tomorrow :p.
Also just trying to figure out the pictures on wordpress, if this works heres a pic of me climbing at the Red!
So on a related topic, and something I’ve been pretty interested in because I’m both a vegan and do a sport where power is important; todays post will be on creatine! Be warned, its a long one lol.
Vegetarians have been shown to have better or equal cardiorespiratory test scores but lower strength and explosive power test scores. Endurance does not seem to be a problem but there seems to be something missing that is necessary to build strength and power, this is seen by the domination of strength athletics at the elite level by omnivores. A reason for this may be due to the decreased levels of creatine in vegetarian and vegan muscles; endurance may not be affected since creatine aids more in anerobic and power exercises.
With the decreased concentrations that vegetarians and vegans have of creatine, are we doomed to always be restrained from reaching our peak athletic capacity? If we are athletes where power is vital for success, are we giving our omnivorous competitors a one up on us?
Once again, creatine stores in the muscles of vegetarians are lower than omnivores; dietary creatine is found in meats. Creatine supplementation can help correct this imbalance by increasing the content by about 30% (people with deficiencies are typically more responsive). Vegetarian or vegan athletes are therefore more likely to see more gains through supplementation.
A lot of people have heard that creatine can be made in the body, why even bother for supplementing? Well your right, 50% of our creatine comes from endogenous sources and is made with the help of the amino acids arginine, glycine and methionine (as well as the enzymes L-arginine:glycine amidinotransferase, guanidinoacetate methyltransferase and methionine adenosyltransferase) largely in the liver and kidneys (and also in the pancrease to a lesser degree). Endogenous synthesis provides about 1g/day, dietary intake also typically provides 1g/day so that there is a 1:1 ratio of endogenous and exogenous synthesis. Clearly, dietary intake is required to maintain normal creatine levels in our bodies.
About 90% of our creatine is located in the skeletal muscle as either free creatine or phosphocreatine; about 2/3rds of that creatine is in the storage form phosphocreatine. During intense exercise, phosphocreatine can be quickly broken down to release its phosphate (which is rapidly coupled with an ADP to produce energy)- it is broken down by an enzyme called creatine kinase.
Creatine plays an essential part in the transport of energy from the mitochondria. Since phosphocreatine is broken down so quickly, levels rapidly drop and ultimately results in fatigue. Increased concentrations of creatine can help increase the resynthesis of phosphocreatine during recovery.
Okay, so sure dietary creatine is important, but would supplements actually get into our muscles? Yes! Creatine is transported into cells and the mitocondira by Crea T1. As creatine levels drop, Crea T1 is activated in order to restore the balance. That’s why people who have deficiencies are more responsive to supplementation, therefore vegetarians and vegans will see greater improvements through supplements.
Now how would creatine help an athlete? Creatine supplementation enhances athletic performance, max strength, fat free mass and muscle hypertrophy when combined with resistance training. It is most effective for short duration exercises but there is some evidence to positive effects on endurance activities. It is effective for improving recovery, maintaining muscle creatine concentrations as well as acting as an antioxidant.
Creatine seems to have gotten a bad rep. throughout the years as so many gym rats take it in excess to get huge- water weight that will probably be lost after supplementation stops (which it should!). Creatine still remains to be one of the most powerful ergogenic aids on the market, you only need small doses to see a positive improvement in both muscle and power.
In a recent study on professional soccer players, after supplementation for only five days, there was a significant improvement in strength and power at the end of the trial (using a double blind randomised placebo-controlled trial). The difference between the placebo group to the creatine group was also staggering, while creatine muscle mass and power increased, the placebo group remained steady or dropped slightly. The fact that these results were seen only in five days is pretty crazy!
With all of that said, weight gain seems to be inevitable so if you compete in a weight dependent sport you should probably keep that in mind and tread cautiously if you’re considering supplementation. A good option would be making the doses much smaller and not doing the loading phase (studies indicate that creatine loading is not necessary). Expect to gain a few, but with that will come POWER!
Well that’s that, those are my thoughts on creatine supplements. Would I do that myself? I would definitely give it a try- but would 100% stop if I gained more than 5lbs. Body weights kindof important when you have to haul your body up a wall lol.
Hope you enjoyed
Cooper R, Naclerio F, Allgrove J, Jimenez A. (2012) Creatine supplementation with specific view to exercise/sports performance: an update. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 20;9(1):33.
Gouttebargea, V., Inklaarb, H., Hautierc, C.(2012) Short-term oral creatine supplementation in professional football players: A randomized placebo-controlled trial. European Journal of Sports and Exercise Science, 2012, 1 (2):33-39.
Venderley AM, Campbell WW. (2006) Vegetarian diets : nutritional considerations for athletes. Sports Med.;36(4):293-305.