Effect of creatine supplementation on aerobic performance and anaerobic capacity in elite rowers in the course of endurance training


Chwalbiñska-Moneta, J.

International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 13(2): 173-183

2003


The effect of oral creatine supplementation on aerobic and anaerobic performance was investigated in 16 elite male rowers during 7-day endurance training. Before and after the daily ingestion of 20 g creatine monohydrate for 5 days (Cr-Group, n=8) or placebo (Pl-Group, n=8), subjects performed two exercise tests on a rowing ergometer: (a) incremental exercise consisting of 3-min stage durations and increased by 50 W until volitional exhaustion; (b) an all-out anaerobic exercise performed against a constant load of 7 W/kg. Heart rate and blood lactate concentrations were determined during exercise and recovery. Maximal power output did not significantly differ after the treatment in either group. The mean individual lactate threshold rose significantly after Cr treatment from 314.3+or-5.0 W to 335.6+or-7.1 W (p<0.01), as compared with 305.0+or-6.9 W and 308.9+or-5.9 W (ns), before and after placebo ingestion, respectively. During the anaerobic test, the athletes supplemented with creatine were able to continue rowing longer (mean increase, 12.1+or-4.5 s; p<0.01) than Pl-Group (2.4+or-8.2 s; ns). No significant differences were found between groups in blood LA after the all-out exercise. The results indicate that in elite rowers, creatine supplementation improves endurance (expressed by the individual lactate threshold) and anaerobic performance, independent of the effect of intensive endurance training.

International
,bumal
of
43ort
Nutrition
and
Eremise
Metabolism,
2003,
13,
173-183
©2003
Human
Kinetics
Publishers,
Inc.
Effect
of
Creatine
Supplementation
on
Aerobic
Performance
and Anaerobic
Capacity
in
Bite
Rowers
in
the
Course
of
Endurance
Training
..blanta
Chwalbirlska-Moneta
The
effect
of
oral
creatine
supplementation
on
aerobic
and
anaerobic
perfor-
mance
was
investigated
in
16
elite
male
rowers
during
7-day
endurance
train-
ing.
Before
and
after
the
daily
ingestion
of20
g
creatine
monohydrate
for
5
days
(Cr-Group,
n
=
8)
or
placebo
(P1-Group,
n
=
8),
subjects
performed
two
exercise
tests
on
a
rowing
ergometer:
(a)
incremental
exercise
consisting
of
3-min
stage
durations
and
increased
by
50
W
until
volitional
exhaustion;
(b)
an
all-out
anaerobic
exercise
performed
against
a
constant
load
of
7
W/kg.
Heart
rate
and
blood
lactate
concentrations
were
determined
during
exercise
and
recovery.
Maximal
power
output
did
not
significantly
differ
after
the
treatment
in
either
group.
The
mean
individual
lactate
threshold
rose
significantly
after
Cr
treat-
ment
from
314.3
±
5.0
W
to
335.6
±
7.1
W
(p
<
.01),
as
compared
with
305.0
±
6.9
W
and
308.9
±
5.9
W
(ns),
before
and
after
placebo
ingestion,
respectively.
During
the
anaerobic
test,
the
athletes
supplemented
with
creatine
were
able
to
continue
rowing
longer
(mean
increase,
12.1
±
4.5
s; p
<
.01)
than
Pl-Group
(2.4
±
8.2
s;
ns).
No
significant
differences
were
found
between
groups
in
blood
LA
after
the
all-out
exercise.
The
results
indicate
that
in
elite
rowers,
creatine
supplementation
improves
endurance
(expressed
by
the
individual
lactate
thresh-
old)
and
anaerobic
performance,
independent
of
the
effect
of
intensive
endur-
ance
training.
Key
Words:
creatine,
progressive
exercise,
lactate
threshold,
anaerobic
perfor-
mance,
endurance
training
Introduction
Creatine
and
phosphocreatine
play
an
important
role
in
skeletal
muscle
metabolism
during
exercise.
Phosphocreatine
(PCr)
availability
is
essential
to
perform
a
short-
duration,
high-power
exercise,
because
depletion
of
PCr
content
in
the
muscle
cells
results
in
an
inability
to
maintain
the
required
rate
of
adenosine
triphosphate
(ATP)
resynthesis
(9,
19,
21).
Moreover,
the
availability
of
free
creatine
in
the
muscle
plays
a
central
role
in
the
control
of
PCr
resynthesis,
particularly
in
the
post-exercise
period
(17,
23,
30).
J.
Chwalbifiska-Moneta
is
with
the
Department
of
Applied
Physiology
in
the
Medical
Research
Centre
of
Polish
Academy
of
Sciences,
02-106
Warsaw,
and
the
University
School
of
Physical
Education
and
Sport,
Gdansk,
Poland
173
174
/
Chwalbitiska-Moneta
Creatine
(Cr),
a
natural
nutrient
of
animal
origin,
is
considered
an
effective
nutritional
ergogenic
aid
enhancing
physical
performance.
As
such
it
has
been
commonly
used,
especially
in
sports
disciplines involving
high
intensity
intermit-
tent
exercise.
It
was
reported
that
oral
creatine
administration
for
a
few
days
in
a
dose
of
20
g
daily
causes
a
significant
increase
(by
approximately
20%)
of
the
total
creatine
pool
in
human
skeletal
muscles
(2,
8,
10,
18).
However,
the
effect
of
creatine
supplementation
on
exercise
performance
still
remains
a
matter
of
discussion.
The
beneficial
effect
of
creatine
on
the
ability
to
perform
the
series
of
repeated
bouts
of
short
duration
high-intensity
exercise
has
been
reported
(2,
4,
7,
8,
38),
but
some
other
fmdings
did
not
confirm
the
ergogenic
effect
of
creatine
on
the
anaerobic
capacity
(6,
12, 15,
24,
26).
The
results
of
the
studies
concerning the
influence
of
creatine
supplementa-
tion
on
aerobic
capacity
are
also
inconsistent.
Endurance
performance
appears
to
be
rather
unaffected
by
creatine
treatment.
According
to
some
authors
(1,
38),
oral
Cr
intake
does
not
affect
an
ability
to
perform
a
long-lasting
submaximal
exercise
or
oxygen
uptake,
ventilatory
gas
exchange
indices,
and
blood
lactate
concentration
during
a
progressive
exercise
and
the
recovery
post-exercise
period
(16,
35).
On
the
other
hand,
McNaughton
et
al.
(22)
demonstrated
significant
enhancement
ofpower
output
during
1.5
to
5
min
of
exhaustive
exercise
on
a
kayak
ergometer
due
to
creatine
loading.
A
few
studies
assessing
the
effect
of
creatine
treatment
on
the
rowers'
performance
have
shown
no
change
in
aerobic
or
anaerobic
capacity
in
rowers
(13,
36)
and
an
improved
time
of
rowing
but
on
the
non-typical
distance
of
1000
m
(28).
The
apparent
inconsistency
among
the
effects
of
oral
creatine
supplementa-
tion
found
in
the
literature
might
be
a
result
ofthe
variety
ofprotocols
and/or
specific
groups
of
subjects
(trained
or
untrained)
used
to
investigate
these
effects.
It
should
be
emphasized
that
positive
ergogenic
effects
of
Cr
action
have
been
generally
found
under
laboratory
conditions
but
not
in
elite
athletes
during
their
heavy
train-
ing
or
the
competition
period
(25).
The
aim
of
the
present
study
was,
therefore,
to
reinvestigate
an
influence
of
creatine
ingestion
on
both
the
aerobic
and
anaerobic
performance
in
elite
rowers
in
the
course
of
endurance
training.
Although
the
aerobic
capacity
has
been
acknowl-
edged
as
a
principal
factor
determining
sport
results
in
rowing,
the
contribution
of
anaerobic
capacity seems
to
be
important
for
rowers
as
well,
since
the
anaerobic
energy
supply
during
a
2000-m
rowing
race
amounts
to
approximately
20-25%
of
the
total
energy
expenditure
during
competition
(33,37).
For
many
years
the
anaerobic
threshold
has
been
widely
accepted
in
sports
medicine
practice
as
a
specific,
valid
indicator
ofthe
cardiorespiratory
endurance
performance
(20,
29,
31).
Furthermore,
it
has
been
considered
one
of
the
most
predictive
indices
of
the
competition
perfor-
mance
in
rowers
(32,
33,
37).
Thus,
in
this
study
the
lactate
anaerobic
threshold
and
the
maximal
power
output
have
been
assumed
to
be
indices
of
aerobic
endurance
performance,
whilst
the
anaerobic
capacity
has
been
estimated
as
the
time
to
main-
tain
the
maximal
power
at
the
maximal
lactate
concentration.
Material
and
Methods
Subjects
Sixteen
male
elite
rowers
volunteered
for
this
study.
The
subjects'
age
ranged
from
20
to
31
yrs.
All
of
them
have
been
involved
in
regular
endurance
training
programs
Creatine
Supplementation
/
175
Table
1
Descriptive
Characteristics
of
Subjects
(N
=
16)
Variable
Placebo
group
Creatine
group
Age
(years)
22.5
±
0.5
25.3
±
1.7
Body
mass
(kg)
90.5
±
1.1
95.1
±
1.9
Height
(cm)
194.3
±
2.1
193.9
±
2.1
VO
2m
.,
(L
mini
5.53
±
0.08
5.82
±
0.13
VO
2m
.
x
kg
-
'
(ml
min
-1
kg
-
')
61.9
±
1.4
61.0
±
1.2
HRmax
(beats
min
-1
)
187.9
±
3.1
185.5
±
1.6
Note.
Values
are
expressed
as
means
±
SEM.
VO
2m
.
x
:
maximal
oxygen
uptake;
HRmax:
maximal
heart
rate.
for
several
years,
obtaining
2
training
sessions
per
day.
Details
of
the
risks,
benefits,
and
experimental
procedure
of
the
study
were
provided
for
each
subject
before
obtaining
his
written
informed
consent.
The
investigation
was
performed
before
and
after
a
7-day
intensive
endurance
training
(a
preparatory
period
of
the
year's
training
cycle),
with
a
similar
training
regime
of
two
training
sessions
a
day
for
each
rower.
All
athletes
maintained
the
same
normal
diet.
The
subjects,
randomly
as-
signed
to
two
groups,
ingested
in
a
double-blind
manner
either
creatine
monohy-
drate
in
a
dose
of
20
g
per
day
(Cr-Group,
n=
8)
or
placebo—that
is,
20
g
glucose
per
day
(Pl-Group,
n
=
8)
for
5
consecutive
days
in
four
equal
doses
daily.
Both
the
creatine
and
placebo
were
given
as
an
identical
pharmaceutical
wafers
to
make
them
indistinguishable
for
subjects.
Basic
anthropometric
characteristics
and
some
maxi-
mal
exercise
data
for
both
groups
measured
prior
to
creatine
supplementation
are
presented
in
Table
1.
In
both
Cr-
and
Pl-Group
no
significant
change
in
body
mass
was
noticed
during
the
observation
period.
Bcperimental
protocol
Before
and
after
creatine
or
placebo
ingestion,
subjects
performed
two
exercise
trials
(1
day
apart)
on
a
rowing
ergometer
(Concept
II,
USA):
(a)
an
incremental
progressive
exercise
test
starting
from
220
W
for
3
min
and
increased
by
50
W
every
3
min
until
the
subjects
felt
exhausted,
with
the
workloads
separated
by
40-s
breaks
for
blood
sampling;
(b)
an
all-out
anaerobic
exercise
performed
with
a
constant
load
of
7
W/kg
body
weight.
Heart
rate
(HR)
was
recorded
continuously
during
exercise
using
Sport
Tester
(PE
3000,
Oulu,
Finland).
Blood
lactate
concentration
(LA)
was
determined
by
the
enzymatic
method
using
Miniphotometer-8
(Dr
B.
Lange
GmbH,
Berlin,
Germany)
in
arterialized
capillary
blood
samples
taken
from
the
ear
lobe
after
each
exercise
load
during
the
incremental
test
and
in
the 3rd,
5th,
and
30th
min
after
termination
of
the
anaerobic
test.
Lactate
anaerobic
threshold
at
the
blood
lactate
of
4
mmol
L
-1
(LAT-4
mM)
was
detected
for
each
individual
by
means
of
linear
interpolation
from
the
exponen-
tial
increase
in
blood
(LA)
during
the
incremental
exercise
plotted
versus
workload.
176
/
Chwalbitiska-Moneta
1.50
1.25
1.00
0.75
CO
CO
ca
0.50
0
0.25
0.00
LAT-log
1.50
1.75
2.00
2.25
2.50
log
Work
Load
Figure
1
A
relationship
between
blood
lactate
concentration
and
workload
(both
expressed
as
logarithmic
values)
during
incremental
exercise
in
one
subject—an
ex-
ample
of
the
individual
lactate
anaerobic
threshold
(LAT-log)
determination
by
the
log-
log
transformation
method
(3).
The
individual
anaerobic
threshold
(LAT-log)
was
determined
by
the
log-log
trans-
formation
method
of
Beaver
et
al.
(3).
The
threshold
workload
was
assessed
from
the
intersection
of
the
two
linear
segments
(log
LA
concentration
vs.
log
exercise
load;
Figure
1).
Statistics
All
data
are
reported
as
means
with
standard
errors
(SEM).
Significance
of
creatine
orplacebo
effects
at
7
levels
of
exercise
power
output
during
an
incremental
test
was
analyzed
by
2
X
2
X
7
ANOVA
for
repeated
measures.
An
analysis
of
variance
with
repeated
measures
design
was
also
used
for
the
all-out
anaerobic
test.
Paired
Student's
t
test
was
used
for
post
hoc
analyses
in
the
event
of
a
significant
Fratio.
Significance
was
set
at
the
.05
level
of
confidence.
Results
After
the
7-day
period
of
endurance
training,
a
significant
decrease
in
HR
was
found
during
the
progressive
exercise
at
submaximal
intensities
of
320
and
370
W
only
in
the
controls
(Pl-Group;
p
<
.05).
In
the
Cr-Group
no
significant
changes
in
HR
were
noted
during
this
type
of
exercise,
as
compared
to
the
pre-treatment
conditions.
The
maximal
power
output
determined
during
the
incremental
exercise
test
did
not
differ
significantly
between
the
groups,
although
within
the
observation
period,
it
seemed
to
increase
more
in
Cr-Group
(from
492.5
±
9.7
W
to
507.2
±
8.5
W;
p
=
.047)
than
in
Pl-Group
(from
474.1
±
11.3
W
to
482.0
±
7.5
W;
p
=
.262).
16
14
O
E
12
E
10
as
as
a
c.)
R
6
.0
4
0
0
m
2
c
t
14
E
12
E
a)
O
55
2
0
Creatine
Supplementation
/
177
Changes
in
blood
(LA;
Figure
2)
had
revealed
a
similar
exponential
increase
during
the
incremental
exercise
both
in
Pl-
and
Cr-Group.
At
higher
workloads
the
significant
decrease
in
blood
LA
accumulation
was
observed
after
7
days
oftraining
in
both
groups.
This
effect
occurred
at
lower
exercise
intensity
(370
W)
in
Cr-Group
than
in
Pl-Group.
The
maximal
blood
(LA)
was
lowered
in
Pl-Group
(p
<
.05) and
it
did
not
differ
significantly
in
Cr-Group.
The
lactate
threshold detected
at
blood
lactate
concentration
of
4
mmol/L
(LAT-4
mM)
was
not
changed
by
the
7-day
endurance
training
in
either
group
(Figure
3).
However,
the
mean
individual
threshold
(LAT-log)
shifted
to
higher
work
intensity
after
creatine
loading
(from
314.3
±
5.0
W
to
335.6
±
7.1
W;p
<
.01),
whilst
in
the
placebo
group,
only
a
small,
insignificant
increase
was
noted
(from
305.0
±
6.9
W
to
308.9
±
5.9
W).
In
addition,
the
mean
blood
(LA)
detected
at
the
LAT-log
was
significantly
higher
after
creatine
than
placebo
treatment
(p
<
.02).
*
*
PLACEBO
*
-
0
-
Pre-Treatment
-
6
-
Post-Treatment
0
220
270
320 370
420
470
Max
CREATINE
-
0
-
Pre-Treatment
-
6-
Post-Treatment
220
270
320 370
420
470
Max
Work
Load
(Watts)
Figure
2
Changes
in
blood
lactate
concentrations
during
progressive
exercise
before
(open
symbols)
and
after
(closed
symbols)
5
days
of
placebo
(20
g
glucose
day
-1
)
or
creatine
(20
g
day
-1
)
treatment.
Values
represent
means
and
SEM.
*Significant
differ-
ences
between
pre-
and
post-trial
(p
<
.05).
LA
T-
4
m
M
(
w
a
tts)
LA
T-
log
(w
a
tts
)
178
/
Chwalbitiska-Moneta
500
Pre-Ingestion
El
Post-Placebo
ingestion
400
ii
Post-Creatine
ingestion
300
200
100
PLACEBO
GROUP
CREATINE
GROUP
500
Pre-Ingestion
400
Post-Placebo
ingestion
**
.
Post-Creatine
ingestion
300
200
100
PLACEBO
GROUP
CREATINE
GROUP
........
B
lo
o
d
L
A
a
t
L
AT-
log
(
mmo
l
I
4
Pre-Ingestion
El
Post-Placebo
ingestion
Post-Creatine
ingestion
*
r-
3
i
0
PLACEBO
GROUP
CREATINE
GROUP
Figure
3
Threshold
exercise
intensity
at
LAT-4mM
or
LAT-log,
and
average
blood
lactate
concentrations
measured
at
LAT-log
before
(open
bars)
and
after
placebo
(gray
bars)
or
creatine
(black
bars)
treatment.
Means
and
SEM
are
given.
Asterisks
denote
significant
differences
between
pre-
and
post-trial:
*p
<
.05,
**p
<
.01.
**
I
92
88
84
80
13
W
76
co
El
Pre-Treatment
ED
Post-Placebo
treatment
Post-Creatine
treatment
N
72
iz
68
64
60
56
Creatine
Supplementation
/
179
PLACEBO
GROUP
CREATINE
GROUP
E
Pre-Treatment
-
0
Post-Placebo
treatment
Post-Creatine
treatment
TT
T
T
m
2
0
3'
5
30'
3'
5'
30'
PLACEBO
GROUP
CREATINE
GROUP
Figure
4
Time
to
exhaustion
during
all-out
anaerobic
exercise
and
recovery
blood
lactate
concentrations
before
(open
bars)
and
after
placebo
(gray
bars)
or
creatine
(black
bars)
treatment.
Means
and
SEM
are
given.
**Significant
differences
between
pre-
and
post-trial
(p
<
.01).
During
the
anaerobic
test,
the
Cr-treated
subjects
were
able
to
continue
row-
ing
longer
than
those
from
the
Pl-Group,
as
illustrated
in
Figure
4.
The
mean
in-
crease
in
time
to
exhaustion
was
12.1
±
4.5
sin
Cr-Group
(p
<
.01),
and
2.4
±
8.2
sin
Pl-Group
(ns).
No
significant
effects
of
training
and/or
creatine
loading
were
found
on
blood
(LA)
during
the
recovery
after
the
all-out
exercise
test
in
either
group
(Figure
4).
D
iscusai
on
The
results
of
the
present
study
indicate
that
in
the
elite
rowers,
for
7-day
endurance
training,
5
days
of
creatine
supplementation
(20
g
daily)
improves
their
endurance
14
7)
12
E
10
180
/
Chwalbitiska-Moneta
as
well
as
anaerobic
capacity.
The
power
output
corresponding
to
the
lactate
anaero-
bic
threshold,
measured
during
an
incremental
exercise
on
rowing
ergometer,
has
been
commonly
accepted
as
the
most
predictive
parameter
of
rowers'
performance
(33,
37).
Thus,
the
shifting
of
the
individual
lactate
threshold
(LAT-log)
towards
higher
work
intensities
after
creatine
supplementation
strongly
suggests
the
benefi-
cial
effect
of
creatine
ingestion
on
endurance
performance.
Moreover,
a
trend
to-
wards
a
higher
increase
in
the
maximal
power
output
after
creatine,
as
compared
to
the
placebo,
was
also
observed
in
our
study.
In
most
studies,
oral
creatine
intake
did
not
improve
the
ability
to
perform
a
long-lasting
intensive
exercise
(1,
36,
38),
or
modified
the
maximal
oxygen
uptake,
circulatory,
metabolic,
and
ventilatory
re-
sponses
to
the
progressive
exercise
test
(14,
16,
35).
The
present
data
are
in
agree-
ment
with
the
results
reported
by
McNaughton
et
al.
(22)
and
Rossiter
et
al.
(28),
demonstrating
the
positive
influence
of
oral
creatine
supplementation
on
the
aero-
bic
performance
in
kayakers
and
rowers,
respectively.
Since
the
creatine
treatment
protocol
has
been
similar
in
the
above
cited
studies,
the
various
exercise
test
proto-
cols
and
different
methods
applied
for
endurance
level
estimation
might
be
respon-
sible
for
these
inconsistent
results.
It
should
be
emphasized
that,
in
this
study,
the
effects
of
creatine
supplemen-
tation were
evaluated
in
highly
trained,
elite
athletes,
during
their
intensive
endur-
ance
training.
Typical
effects
of
this
type
of
training—a
significant
decrease
in
HR
and
in
blood
LA
concentration
at
submaximal
workloads
ofthe
progressive
exercise
test—have
been
noted
in
the
present
study,
although
the
observation
period
was
only
7
days.
The
marked
attenuation
of
blood
LA
accumulation
was
found
in
both
Pl-
and
Cr-Group
probably
as
a
result
of
training,
but
this
effect
occurred
earlier—
that
is,
at
lower
exercise
intensities
approximating
the
LAT-log,
in
creatine-treated
athletes
than
in
the
placebo
group.
Consequently,
a
significant
increase
in
the
indi-
vidual
lactate
threshold
(LAT-log)
has
been
only
ascertained
in
the
athletes
supple-
mented
with
creatine.
This
fmding
indicates
that
the
influence
of
creatine
occurs
in
the
background
of
the
training
effects.
Balsom
et
al.
(2)
have
also
demonstrated
a
decrease
in
the
muscle
LA
content
after
creatine
ingestion,
although
their
subjects
performed
a
different
type
of
work:
a
short-duration,
high-intensity
exercise.
In
the
present
investigation
a
significant
increase
was
found
in
the
mean
blood
LA
concen-
tration
corresponding
to
the
individual
LAT
in
the
Cr-Group.
It
may
be
assumed
that
this
effect
resulted
from
the
rise
of
the
LAT
work
intensity
after
creatine
loading.
It
seems
that
creatine
ingestion
does
not
affect
the
4
mM
lactate
threshold,
which
is
usually
found
at
higher
exercise
intensities
than
the
individual
anaerobic
threshold
(11,
32).
The
similar
pattern
ofblood
LA
changes
within
the
range
ofLAT-4
mM
threshold
work
intensities
during
observation
period
in
both
groups
of
athletes
may
explain
the
failure
in
altering
the
4
mM
lactate
threshold
by
creatine
loading.
It
is
worthwhile
to
mention
that
the
individual
anaerobic
threshold
(LAT-log),
which
increased
significantly
after
creatine
ingestion
in
contrast
to
the
LAT-4mM,
defines
the
workload
at
the
maximal
lactate
steady
state
but
not
the
fixed
anaerobic
threshold
of
4
mmol
L
-1
,
as
appeared
from
the
lactate
kinetics
model
presented
by
Stegmann
and
Kindermann
(32).
Furthermore,
the
individual
anaerobic
threshold
was
found
to
correspond
more
closely
to
the
muscle
lactate
accumulation
during
exercise
of
progres
sive
work
intensity
(i.e.,
to
the
muscle
lactate
threshold)
than
the
LAT-4mM
(11).
Since
it
has
been
confirmed
that
creatine
administration
results
in
an
increase
in
the
total
intramuscular
Cr,
as
well
as
Pcr
content
(2,
10,
18),
it
seems
likely
that
the
Creatine
Supplementation
/
181
improved
ability
to
perform
the
supramaximal
exercise
after
creatine
loading
de-
pends
mostly
on
an
increase
in
PCr.
The
beneficial
effect
of
creatine
ingestion
on
sprint
performance
has
been
reported
by
some
authors
(2,
8,
38),
although
this
effect
has
not
been
consistently
shown
by
others
(6,
12, 15,
24,
26).
The
very
variable
test
protocols
used
in
the
cited
reports
(i.e.,
single
or
repeated,
very
intensive
or
maximal
exercise
bouts
with
different
break
durations)
may
be
responsible
for
these
conflict-
ing
fmdings.
The
present
results
indicating
marked
prolongation
of
the
rowing
time
with
the
maximal
power
output
till
exhaustion
after
creatine
supplementation
are
in
agreement
with
the
data
obtained
by
Bosco
et
al.
(5),
who
used
a
comparable
experimental
procedure
(all-out
treadmill
running)
During
the
recovery
period
following
the
supramaximal
exercise
test,
creatine
supplementation
had
no
signifi-
cant
effect
on
blood
LA
concentration,
which
confirms
the
findings
of
Birch
et
al.
(4)
and
Odland
et
al.
(26).
Although
the
positive
ergogenic
action
exerted
by
creatine
appears
to
be
widely
accepted,
the
mechanism
of
this
influence
is
still
unclear.
It
can
be
suggested
that
creatine
ingestion
enhances
the
ability
to
perform
strenuous
exercise
by
in-
creasing
the
initial
amount
of
Cr
and
PCr
content
in
the
muscle
cells
and
accelerating
the
rate
of
PCr
and
ATP
resynthesis,
since
the
decreased
phosphocreatine
availabil-
ity
in
the
working
muscles
impairs
exercise
performance
(17,
19,
21).
The
ability
to
maintain
a
high
rate
of
anaerobic
ATP
production
from
phosphocreatine
hydrolysis
after
Cr
supplementation
might
be
expected
to
delay
fatigue,
especially
during
high-
intensity
intermittent
exercise,
as
a
consequence
of
increased
PCr
availability
in
the
type
II
muscle
fibers
(8,
9),
and
lowered
accumulation
of
plasma
ammonia
(4).
Reduction
of
muscle
PCr
utilization
and
P
i
accumulation,
as
well
as
a
decrement
of
the
muscle
pH,
found
by
Rico-Sanz
(27)
during
low-intensity
exercise
after
creatine
loading,
indicates
that
the
fatigue
delaying
effect
of
Cr
ingestion
may
occur
also
during
prolonged
endurance
work.
It
should
be
noted
that
after
Cr
treatment,
the
resting
PCr
content
was
also
shown
to
rise
in
the
type
I
muscle
fibers
(8).
The
decreased
blood
LA
accumulation,
found
in
this
study
during
submaximal
exercise
loads,
indirectly
supports
the
Casey
et
al.
finding
(8).
Results
of
the
electromyo-
graphic
measurements
reported
by
Stout
et
al.
(34),
who
evaluated
physical
working
capacity
at
the
vastus
lateralis
muscle
fatigue
threshold,
confirmed
the
suggestion
that
Cr
loading
may
delay
the
onset
of
neuromuscular
fatigue
during
exercise.
Summarizing,
the
present
work
demonstrated
that
oral
creatine
supplementa-
tion
for
a
few
days
may
improve
endurance
and
anaerobic
performance
in
elite
athletes,
independent
of
the
effect
of
intensive
endurance
training
itself.
Thus,
the
creatine
loading
in
highly
trained
top
athletes,
widely
applied
in
sports
practice,
may
be
recommended
as
justified.
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Acknowledgments
Special
thanks
are
extended
to
the
coaches,
Mr.
Witold
Sroga
and
Mr.
Aleksander
Wojciechowski,
who
conducted
the
endurance
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the
athletes.