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Creatine in Endurance: New Perspectives?

Creatine is one of the most popular dietary supplements today, and its ergogenic effect is attributed to short-term intense activities. In summary, the mechanism of action of creatine is to combine phosphate with ADP catabolized by creatine kinase to resynthesize ATP quickly.

This supplement is well established in improving muscle strength and power and applies to sports such as football, basketball, bodybuilding, 100 m running, Olympic weightlifting, and other sports. However, some theories suggest that creatine supplementation could improve endurance modalities.



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Creatine Mechanisms Associated with Improved Endurance

In addition to the effects on ATP resynthesis, this supplementation appears to influence several metabolic, hormonal, and physiological processes that help with endurance performance.

In particular, supplementation demonstrated supposed mechanisms in glycogen resynthesis, calcium kinetics, buffering hydrogen ions, mitochondrial biogenesis, and antioxidant action, in addition to anti-inflammatory effects and improvement of the ventilatory threshold during endurance modalities.


Endurance and Creatine in Literature

Creatine attributed to endurance in scientific literature has shown that it can influence the time to exhaustion and intermittent high-intensity sprints during endurance. This was attributed to the higher levels of glycogen and creatine due to supplementation and more significant muscle calcium kinetics.

But as much as you can improve performance by increasing time to exhaustion or total work completed, improvements in these types of performance tests do not necessarily translate into time trial performance, which is considered a more valid measure of endurance performance.

As a result, creatine is likely advantageous in endurance modalities with intermittent high-intensity stimuli. However, when endurance exercise is characterized by continuous, moderate-intensity stimuli at a steady state, it is unlikely that creatine will provide significant benefits.




Clinical Practice

The theorized effects of creatine supplementation on improving endurance are promising for sports nutrition. However, this is preliminary evidence that requires more careful investigation to reach a concrete conclusion.


Bibliographic References

FORBES, Scott C.; CANDOW, Darren G.; FALK NETO, João Henrique; KENNEDY, Michael D.; FORBES, Jennifer L.; MACHADO, Marco; BUSTILLO, Erik; GOMEZ-LOPEZ, Jose; ZAPATA, Andres; Antonio Jose. Creatine supplementation and endurance performance: surges and sprints to win the race. Journal Of The International Society Of Sports Nutrition, [S.L.], v. 20, no. 1, p. 1-9, 25 Apr. 2023. Http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15502783.2023.2204071.

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