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New Developments in Creatine Supplementation Research: Mechanisms of Athletic Performance Enhancement


In the last decade creatine supplementation has become the most popular ergogenic aid among athletes, with particular performance enhancements found in high-power output, anaerobic exercises. Physiologically, creatine and phosphocreatine provide an energy reservoir in skeletal muscle. Recent studies have also shown that the ergogenic effects of creatine are caused by muscle protein metabolism (or reduced catabolism), satellite cell proliferation, protective oxidant scavenging, and membrane stabilization. In addition, creatine supplementation is considered to be a potential therapy for a wide variety of disease states including muscular dystrophy, heart failure, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, and Alzheimer's disease. To date, a large number of studies have shown no serious side effects after short- (<10 days) and medium-term (<12 weeks) supplementation, and the first long-term (<5 years) study of supplementation found no effects on renal function. Still recent findings of cytotoxic creatine metabolites, along with two isolated reports of renal dysfunction, are some cause for concern, and more long-term research is required.

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