Putting to rest the myth of creatine supplementation leading to muscle cramps and dehydration
- 1 Applied Biochemistry and Molecular Physiology Laboratory, Department of Health and Exercise Science, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA
- 2 Metabolic and Body Composition Laboratory, Department of Health and Exercise Science, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA
- Vincent J Dalbo, MS, Department of Health and Exercise Science, University of Oklahoma, 1401 Asp Avenue, Norman, OK 73019, USA;
- Accepted 3 November 2007
- Published Online First 9 January 2008
Creatine is one of the most popular athletic supplements with sales surpassing 400 million dollars in 2004. Due to the popularity and efficacy of creatine supplementation over 200 studies have examined the effects of creatine on athletic performance. Despite the abundance of research suggesting the effectiveness and safety of creatine, a fallacy appears to exist among the general public, driven by media claims and anecdotal reports, that creatine supplementation can result in muscle cramps and dehydration. Although a number of published studies have refuted these claims, a recent position statement by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) in 2000 advised individuals who are managing their weight and exercising intensely or in hot environments to avoid creatine supplementation. Recent reports now suggest that creatine may enhance performance in hot and/or humid conditions by maintaining haematocrit, aiding thermoregulation and reducing exercising heart rate and sweat rate. Creatine may also positively influence plasma volume during the onset of dehydration. Considering these new published findings, little evidence exists that creatine supplementation in the heat presents additional risk, and this should be taken into consideration as position statements and other related documents are published.
Competing interests: None declared.