Health & Well-Being-ACSM releases comments on creatine

Renewed interest in the effects of creatine use by a large number of Americans has led to several studies, many of them producing conflicting findings. More definitive information was published in the March issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, a publication of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) in Indianapolis.

The article reports on an ACSM roundtable, "The Physiological and Health Effects of Oral Creatine Supplemen-tation," which included comments and references to hundreds of scientific studies from 12 world-renowned specialists from several countries.

Findings of the panel revealed that although creatine ingestion can enhance muscle phosphocreatine concentration, it is unlikely that supplementation improves performance during aerobic exercise in normal subjects. An important part of the statement noted that changes in muscle do not mimic adaptive changes, and cannot replace the necessity and value of training. "There is no evidence that creatine supplementation increases aerobic power of muscle," notes Ronald Terjung, PhD, FACSM, roundtable chair and Professor of Biomedical Science in the College of Veterinary Science at the University of Missouri.

Creatine supplementation is perceived as relatively safe, but there has been little real critical evaluation of its health implications. The panel concurred that there is no definitive evidence that creatine supplementation causes gastrointestinal, renal, and/or muscle cramping complications. Creatine supplementation is not advised for use immediately prior to exercise, nor is it advised for the pediatric population or for pregnant/lactating women.