Creatine: The Antioxidant

Creatine has become a staple dietary supplement in the regimens of many athletes and bodybuilders; it has been shown to help enhance endurance, improve strength, and increase muscle mass.  But are there even more benefits? In a recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, R. Rahimi discovered that using the Creatine reduces cell damage caused by resistance exercises.

This study focused on the more recently reported antioxidant effect that creatine has on the body, which may have therapeutic benefits. The primary purpose of this study was to look at damaging oxidative compounds released during resistance exercise in male althletes, and to determine if taking a creatine supplement had any effect on those compounds.

To explore the benefits of creatine, 27 athletic males were randomly divide into two groups, one group that was given a supplement of 5g of creatine monohydrate 4 times a day, and the other group give a placebo 4 times a day. Prior to taking the supplements, each athlete had blood and urine samples taken. Then they performed a resistance exercise protocol consisting of: 7 sets — 4 exercise– 60-90 repetitions. Blood and urine samples were taken immediately following the protocol, and then again 24 hours later. The groups followed their normal resistance exercise routines and took their supplement or placebo for 7 days. After seven days, each person was again tested using the same protocol as before, including the before, after and 24-hours later blood and urine testing. Blood was tested for MDA and urine was tested for 8-OHdG excretion—both of which are damaging oxidative compounds and increase the levels of oxidative stress and resulting DNA damage.

Before taking the supplements, tests showed a dramatic increase in these oxidative compounds following resistance exercise. After the seven days, those athletes supplementing with creatine showed a reduction of damaging oxidative compounds following resistance exercise.

These results indicate that adding a creatine supplement can significantly reduce the amount of damage to your body’s cells during resistance exercise. Creatine supplementation now has more reasons to be added to a bodybuilder or any athlete’s routine as this study shows its antioxidant properties help protect you at a cellular level, in addition to the previously reported studies that creatine helps improve muscles mass and strength.


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