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Aging | Creatine Increases Strength in Older Men

Creatine Increases Strength in Older Men

Short-term supplementation with creatine monohydrate led to significant improvements in older men’s strength and ability to perform normal daily activities, according to a report published in Medicine and Science In Sports and Exercise.1

In this new clinical trial, 18 men between the ages of 59 and 72 were randomly selected to take either creatine monohydrate (0.3 grams per 2.2 pounds of body weight per day; average amount, 25.4 grams per day) or placebo for seven days. The researchers measured maximum arm- and leg-lifting strength and lower body dexterity before and after supplementation.

Improvements in muscle strength of up to 10% were seen in participants taking creatine, while no strength increase was noted in those taking placebo. The creatine group, but not the placebo group, also achieved significantly better-timed results on the dexterity tests. A 3% increase in lean body mass was seen after one week of creatine supplementation.

Creatine (creatine monohydrate) is used in muscle tissue for the synthesis of phosphocreatine, which plays an important role in the production of energy for muscle contraction and many other functions in the body.2 3 Previous clinical trials have shown the strength-enhancing and lean body mass-building effects of creatine supplementation in younger populations.4 5

However, two earlier trials failed to find any benefit of creatine supplementation in older men.6 7 The conflicting results might conceivably be explained by differences in the study populations. Although the authors of the new research describe the study participants as "normally active," they do not report whether they were involved in resistance exercise prior to the study. Given the relatively large amount of weight that the average participant could lift (a bench press of roughly 130 pounds, for example), it would appear that these people were already quite strong compared with the general older population. Perhaps short-term creatine supplementation is beneficial only for individuals whose muscles are already fairly well conditioned.

No adverse effects of creatine supplementation were noted in this clinical trial. Little is known about long-term benefits or side effects of creatine, but no consistent toxicity has been reported in studies of creatine supplementation. People interested in creatine supplementation should talk to their doctor.

References:

1. Gotshalk LA, Volek JS, Staron RS, et al. Creatine supplementation improves muscular performance in older men. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2002;34:537–43.
2. Greenhaff PL, Bodin K, Soderlund K, et al. Effect of oral creatine supplementation on skeletal muscle phosphocreatine resynthesis. Am J Physiol 1994;266(5 pt 1):E725–30.
3. Greenhaff PL. Creatine and its application as an ergogenic aid. Int J Sport Nutr 1995;5 Suppl:S100–S110.
4. Toler SM. Creatine is an ergogen for anaerobic exercise. Nutr Rev 1997;55:21–5 [review].
5. Greenhaff PL, Casey A, Short AH, et al. Influence of oral creatine supplementation on muscle torque during repeated bouts of maximal voluntary exercise in man. Clin Sci 1993;84:565–71.
6. Rawson ES, Clarkson PM. Acute creatine supplementation in older men. Int J Sports Med 2000;21:71–5.
7. Rawson ES, Wehnert ML, Clarkson PM. Effects of 30 days of creatine ingestion in older men. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 1999;80:139–44.

Matt Brignall, ND, is in practice at the Seattle Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center and at the Evergreen Integrative Medicine Clinic in Kirkland, WA. He specializes in integrative treatment of cancer. He is a contributor to Healthnotes and Healthnotes Newswire.

Copyright © 2002 Healthnotes, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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The health information contained in this site is not intended as medical advice and should not be considered a substitute for appropriate medical care. Any products mentioned in studies cited in Healthnotes articles are not necessarily endorsed by Bastyr. As with any product, consult with a natural health practitioner to discuss what may be best for you.

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