Creatine: The Next Anti-Aging Supplement
Table of Contents
Creatine: The Next Anti-Aging Supplement
Creatine is now the most commonly used dietary supplement for sports, especially those involving repeated short explosive anaerobic activities. Creatine is important for energy metabolism, and is thought to be an effective ergogenic aid in physical performance. An interesting fact is that 94% of total body creatine is located in skeletal muscles. Creatine supplementation has been shown to increase phosphocreatine regeneration, increasing ATP availability, thus facilitating prolonged physical activity. An increase in body mass is a commonly reported effect of creatine loading. The increase in lean muscle mass attributed to creatine loading has be attributed to increased muscular water content. This osmotic loading effect has been suggested to increase protein synthesis and decrease the rate of protein breakdown thereby increasing muscle mass.
Creatine has been found to have anabolic effects triggered by myogenic transcription factors which up regulate muscle specific genes for lean muscle mass. Another potential mechanism for creatine’s action concerns increasing satellite cell mitotic activity, which may also increase mRNA transcription of myogenic factors and subsequent muscle protein synthesis. Lower muscle mass and an increase in body fat are common consequences of growing older.
Creatine supplementation is often used in younger athletes to improve anaerobic performance, power and strength, however their is also potential benefits of creatine supplementation in older individuals.There is evidence that creatine supplementation without exercise can may maintain muscle mass and function in older adults, but an important question is whether resistance training and creatine supplementation have an additive effect on muscle structure and function or can older adults receive the same degree of benefit by just partaking in one of these protocols.
A new meta-analysis review (i.e. collection of studies) published in the Journal of Nutrition and Health Sciences assesses the current literature on whether creatine supplementation in the presence of resistance training enhances physical performance in older adults above and beyond those undertaking resistance training alone or only taking creatine supplements. Whilst reports are conflicting, there is good evidence to suggest that creatine supplementation with resistance training increases muscular endurance, lower body strength and lean body mass; this is above results obtained with creatine supplementation or resistance training alone.The increased muscle mass observed with training has previously been shown to lead to increased bone mineral content and an associated reduced fracture risk; however, the additional benefits of creatine supplementation on this are less clear, and more work is needed to confirm whether exogenously taken creatine will benefit bone mineral density.
Creatine supplementation in the elderly may lead to increased muscle mass, endurance and performance, and those who undertake resistance training may show further improvements with creatine supplementation. However, for elderly subjects who do not partake in resistance training, creatine supplementation offers significant improvements in increasing muscular mass and strength, and increasing their quality of life, whilst these benefits are lower on the whole than those who undertake regular resistance training. Overall, it cannot be denied that the benefits of resistance training in the elderly on both muscle and bone health are substantial and well documented. However, despite evidence being inconsistent in some reports, creatine supplementation is clearly a useful supplement that has the potential to improve strength, endurance and quality of life in the elderly, even if taken in the absence of resistance training. Thus, to achieve the most beneficial results in improving overall quality of life in the elderly the researchers would recommend where appropriate and achievable: resistance training and creatine supplementation >> resistance training alone >> creatine supplementation alone >> no resistance training or creatine supplementation.
Creatine Supplementation in the Elderly: is Resistance Training Really Needed? Moon A, Heywood L, Rutherford S and Cobbold C. Journal of Nutrition and Health Sciences. Volume 2, Issue 1. ISSN: 2393-906
Moon A, Heywood L, Rutherford S, Cobbold C. Creatine supplementation: can it improve quality of life in the elderly without associated resistance training? Curr Aging Sci. 2013 Dec;6(3):251-7. Review.
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Willoughby DS, Rosene JM. Effects of oral creatine and resistance training on myogenic regulatory factor expression. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2003 Jun;35(6):923-9.Be sure to check out Infinite Lab’s Creatine Section