Can Low Dose Creatine Supplementation be Effective?
Creatine supplementation has gained popularity amongst athletes for the reported results it yields: athletes supplementing with creatine report increases in body mass, increases in strength, and improvements in endurance. Creatine has gained a reputation for making the athlete perform better, faster, and longer. But can one reap these results from low dose creatine supplementation?
A recent study on the effects of low dose, short duration creatine supplementation on anaerobic exercise performance published by the NSCA (Journal of Strength Conditioning Research, 19 (2), 2005, pp. 260-4) has made headway on studies reflecting creatine supplementation.
The 4O physically active, college aged men who participated in the study, were randomly assigned either the placebo group, or to the creation group for a period of six days. Creation dosage consisted of 6 grams creatine monohydrate daily. The subjects were tested before and after the dosage period, on 3 i5-second anaerobic Wingate power tests. The results this study has drawn seem to confirm other longer term studies of creatine dosage: that creatine does have a positive effect on athletic performance. This study, however, adds another premise - it is not the type of effect we think it does.
There was no significant difference in body mass, peak power, mean power or total work, amongst the two groups. There was however, a change in the rate of fatigue of total work in the creatine supplementation group. These subjects displayed a significantly lower rate of fatigue in high intensity sprint intervals.
Certainly, low dosage creation supplementation does not provide the same benefits as longer duration creatine supplementation which does result in improvements in body mass and overall strength, yet one thing needs to be noted: the creatine supplementation group of this study made strikingly similar improvements in fatigue rates to studies focusing on the loading phase of creatine monohydrate.
So, what can we learn from these results? Though more research is needed to fully comprehend the effects of low dose, short term creatine supplementation, they reveal one interesting fact: that perhaps high dosage loading phases of creatine are not as important as once thought they were. Perhaps initiating creatine supplementation into the athlete’s system in low doses before incorporating it into his/her daily supplementation regime might, after all, turn out to be provide the same results as traditional ‘loading phases’ and so might eventually make such ‘loading phases’ a thing of the past.