Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

UF Researcher Unlocks Secrets Of Popular Supplement Creatine

Date:
March 23, 2000
Source:
University Of Florida
Summary:
A new study by a University of Florida professor finally helps explain some of the side effects associated with the popular muscle enhancer creatine.

Writer: Kristin Harmel

Related Articles


Source: Mike Powers -- (352) 392-0584; mpowers@hhp.ufl.edu

GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- A new study by a University of Florida professor finally helps explain some of the side effects associated with the popular muscle enhancer creatine.

Muscle cramping, heat illness and even kidney problems have long been rumored to be associated with taking the supplement, but previous studies couldn't explain these problems.

Now, in a study funded by one of the largest grants ever awarded by the National Athletic Trainers Association Research and Education Foundation, Michael Powers, an assistant professor in UF's department of exercise and sport sciences, shows for the first time that creatine increases both the body's overall water content and its ratio between intracellular and extracellular water.

The finding is important because it explains how the body's natural balance is thrown off by creatine consumption.

"As you work out, you're losing water from the extracellular space," Powers said. "If you already have a higher level of water in the intracellular space because of the creatine, you end up with even more of an imbalance. Over time it may make you dehydrate faster, which is associated with heat illness and cramping."

More importantly, however, overuse of the supplement can lead to kidney problems.

"The only place for the creatine to go is through the kidneys," Powers said. "After awhile, you retain water and your urine becomes highly concentrated. To avoid this problem, increase your fluid intake so that you'll have more of it to go through your kidneys and eliminate waste."

Creatine is a nonsteroidal, nonprescription muscle-enhancer taken orally prior to working out. Some users believe it gives them a training edge by helping increase body weight and muscle energy. According to a recent study, 25 percent of Major League baseball players and 50 percent of NFL players use the supplement.

"Creatine is the most popular supplement there's ever been," Powers said. "Anytime you have a supplement that is used to enhance your performance, it's going to be controversial. People want to know if it actually improves your performance, what it does to your body and if it's safe."

In a study completed as part of his dissertation at the University of Virginia and defended in December, Powers gave creatine supplements to 16 subjects and placebo supplements to another 16. During a five-week period, Powers took muscle samples and readings of cellular water content from the subjects.

The average weight gain in the first week for the creatine users -- which wasaccompanied by a significant increase in muscle creatine level -- was approximately three pounds, although one study participant gained 11 pounds. The subjects' percentage of body weight from water rose from 55 percent to 57 percent, and the percentage of water inside the cells rose from 58 percent to 60 percent. Although these numbers don't sound significant, Powers said, they are large enough changes to alter the body's natural balance.

Powers also stressed the importance of taking creatine in proper dosages. Much of the literature about creatine recommends a four- to five-day "loading" phase in which users take 20 to 25 grams of the supplement a day to increase creatine levels in their muscles. After that, users should take just five grams a day for the next few weeks and then give their bodies a week or two off to make sure they still are able to produce creatine naturally. However, Powers said many people ignore these instructions and assume that if they take more of the supplement, they'll bulk up more quickly.

Instead, Powers said, higher doses of creatine will be wasted, because the body can't absorb it in high amounts over time.

Studies such as Powers' are important in understanding creatine better, said John Oliver, the director of the NATA Research and Education Foundation, the organization that funded Powers' research.

"We're encouraging and funding studies that can bring us to a conclusion," Oliver said. "We recognize that people use creatine -- maybe to excess -- but we don't know what excess is yet."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Florida. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Florida. "UF Researcher Unlocks Secrets Of Popular Supplement Creatine." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 March 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000322150513.htm>.
University Of Florida. (2000, March 23). UF Researcher Unlocks Secrets Of Popular Supplement Creatine. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000322150513.htm
University Of Florida. "UF Researcher Unlocks Secrets Of Popular Supplement Creatine." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000322150513.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) A Swedish amputee who became the first person to ever receive a brain controlled prosthetic arm is able to manipulate and handle delicate objects with an unprecedented level of dexterity. The device is connected directly to his bone, nerves and muscles, giving him the ability to control it with his thoughts. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Google X wants to improve modern medicine with nanoparticles and a wearable device. It's all an attempt to tackle disease detection and prevention. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Researchers in Sweden released a study showing heavy milk drinkers face an increased mortality risk from a variety of causes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Surrounded by health care workers in the White House East Room, President Barack Obama said the U.S. will likely see additional Ebola cases in the weeks ahead. But he said the nation can't seal itself off in the fight against the disease. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins