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Low-Dose Creatine Combined with Protein during Resistance Training in Older Men

CANDOW, DARREN G.1, ; LITTLE, JONATHAN P.2, ; CHILIBECK, PHILIP D.2, ; ABEYSEKARA, SAMAN3, ; ZELLO, GORDON A.3, ; KAZACHKOV, MICHAEL4, ; CORNISH, STEPHEN M.2, ; YU, PETER H.4

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: September 2008 - Volume 40 - Issue 9 - p 1645-1652
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e318176b310
BASIC SCIENCES: Original Investigations

Purpose: To determine whether low-dose creatine and protein supplementation during resistance training (RT; 3 d·wk−1; 10 wk) in older men (59-77 yr) is effective for improving strength and muscle mass without producing potentially cytotoxic metabolites (formaldehyde).

Methods: Older men were randomized (double-blind) to receive 0.1 g·kg−1 creatine + 0.3 g·kg−1 protein (CP; n = 10), creatine (C; n = 13), or placebo (PLA; n = 12) on training days. Measurements before and after RT included lean tissue mass (air-displacement plethysmography), muscle thickness (ultrasound) of elbow, knee, and ankle flexors and extensors, leg and bench press strength, and urinary indicators of cytotoxicity (formaldehyde), myofibrillar protein degradation [3-methylhistidine (3-MH)],and bone resorption [cross-linked N-telopeptides of type I collagen (NTx)].

Results: Subjects in C and CP groups combined experienced greater increases in body mass and total muscle thickness than PLA (P < 0.05). Subjects who received CP increased lean tissue mass (+5.6%) more than C (+2.2%) or PLA (+1.0%; P < 0.05) and increased bench press strength (+25%) to a greater extent than C and PLA combined (+12.5%; P < 0.05). CP and C did not differ from PLA for changes in formaldehyde production (+24% each). Subjects receiving creatine (C and CP) experienced a decrease in 3-MH by 40% compared with an increase of 29% for PLA (P < 0.05) and a reduction in NTx (−27%) versus PLA (+13%; P = 0.05).

Conclusions: Low-dose creatine combined with protein supplementation increases lean tissue mass and results in a greater relative increase in bench press but not leg press strength. Low-dose creatine reduces muscle protein degradation and bone resorption without increasing formaldehyde production.

1Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan, CANADA; 2College of Kinesiology, 3College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, and 4Department of Psychiatry, Neuropsychiatry Research Unit, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, CANADA

Address for correspondence: Philip D. Chilibeck, Ph.D., College of Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada S7N 5B2; E-mail: phil.chilibeck@usask.ca.

Submitted for publication January 2008.

Accepted for publication March 2008.

©2008The American College of Sports Medicine