Creatine Can Enhance Recovery in Endurance Athletes

Endurance athletes who use creatine recover faster from their training efforts according to Sports scientists at the Graduate Institute of Nutritional Sciences and Education in Taiwan. Creatine supplementation reduces damage caused by endurance exertion to muscle fibers, write the Taiwanese.

Not an awful lot is known about the effect of creatine on the metabolism of endurance athletes, so the Taiwanese carried out an experiment with 12 well-trained male students. The students took 12 g creatine every day for 15 days and ran before and just after the supplementation period for 60 minutes at 65-70 percent of their maximal heart rate.

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The researchers then repeated the procedure on another occasion, but gave the students a placebo.

Before, during and after the session the researchers analyzed the students’ urine and blood. This is how the Taiwanese discovered that creatine supplementation kept the concentration of 3-methylhistidine and urea nitrogen low. 3-Methylhistidine and urea are indicators of muscle breakdown.

If the body burns protein the concentration of ammonia in the blood rises. The body neutralizes this through a reaction in which glutamate is converted into glutamine. Because the researchers found less glutamine in the athletes, they suspect that creatine supplementation helps the muscles of endurance athletes to burn less protein during exercise.

“In terms of metabolism, creatine supplementation possessed the advantages of decreasing muscle glycogen and protein degradation, especially after endurance exercise”

For those worried about weight gain sticking to a low creatine dose will usually prevent any unwanted gain in body weight.

Creatine can also be combined with other supplements to increase its effect on performance. When combined with glycerol creatine boosts hydration levels, and that can help endurance athletes who have to perform at high temperatures. When combined with beta-alanine, creatine improves endurance capacity. Creatine can also enable muscle cells to absorb more glucose.

Dominick Walsh is a blogger for Performance Nutrition and and covers all men’s health topics and exercise issues including protein powders, diets, weight loss, weight lifting supplements, fat burners and supplement reviews. Dominick’s columns cover everything you need to know about your pre, during and post workout nutrition.