The Effects of Creatine Supplementation on Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage

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This investigation evaluated the effects of oral creatine (Cr) supplementation on markers of exercise-induced muscle damage following high-force eccentric exercise in subjects randomly administered Cr or placebo (P) in a double-blind fashion. When injected, exogenous phosphocreatine has been shown to stabilize the muscle membrane in cardiac tissue and enhance recovery of strength and power following injury. Twenty-three men aged 18-36 years ingested either 20 g of Cr or P for 5 days. Criterion measures were maximal isometric force of the elbow flexors (MIF), range of motion (ROM) about the elbow, mid and distal arm circumference (CIR; to assess swelling), soreness with movement and palpation (SOR), and blood levels of creatine kinase (CK) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH). Following the supplementation period, subjects performed 50 maximal eccentric contractions of the elbow flexors. Criterion measures were assessed pre-exercise, immediately postexercise, and for 5 days after exercise. Both groups experienced a significant loss of MIF and ROM (time effect, p < 0.05). There was a significant increase in CIR of the mid and distal biceps, SOR with movement and palpation, CK, and LDH (time effect, p < 0.05), indicating that there was significant muscle damage. However, there were no significant differences in any of the criterion measures between groups (group × time interaction term, p > 0.05). The pattern of change over the 6 days, in response to the eccentric exercise, was nearly identical between groups. These data suggest that 5 days of Cr supplementation does not reduce indirect markers of muscle damage or enhance recovery from high-force eccentric exercise.

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