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1 Creatine

It is well known that creatine supplementation can improve performance in short-term high-intensity events and helps bodybuilders and athletes gain lean body mass. Furthermore, some of the world’s best researchers are currently using creatine monohydrate to treat patients with neuromuscular disease.


On January 24, 2001 a French government agency claimed that creatine (a nutritional supplement) might cause cancer. This report is highly inaccurate and there is no data to support this unlikely claim. In fact, creatine research has shown that short-term and long-term supplementation is without adverse effects. In the following letter, Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky, a creatine researcher at McMaster University, refutes this statement about creatine causing cancer. Please read this letter in order to become properly informed about this positive nutritional supplement.



To Whom It May Concern:


There has recently been a rash of misinformation that has been spread around the world that has arisen from a statement made by a Mr. ? Dr. ? Martin Husch for the French Agency of Medical Security for Food (AFSSA), claiming a link between creatine monohydrate supplementation and cancer. This is not supported by the literature and it is unfortunate that medical misinformation can be spread throughout the world so rapidly.

This agency claims to have reviewed the literature using nutritional experts (yet does not list them so we can judge their credentials), and the author has not published a single paper in a peer-reviewed journal (at least none that have appeared in PubMed). I found the statement to be somewhat accurate in several areas (with the exception that it states that creatine increases muscle cell water (10 %) - this is high and it is more likely 3 - 4 %).

The MAJOR problems come when they/he tries to make a comment about the potential side effects. The AFSSA statement on cancer can be translated as:

considering that creatine and creatinine under certain circumstances, particularly in the presence of simple sugars and elevated amino acids, could have carcinogenic effects based on preliminary experimental arguments in vitro and in vivo have been equivocal".

I am not aware of any studies showing that creatine taken with sugar and amino acids is carcinogenic – especially when taken in physiological amounts - any compound, even amino acids may be carcinogenic in high doses (see MSDS label on leucine!). The real issue comes with the statement that "with the potentially carcinogenic effects..." This statement is unfounded and certainly they jump to stating that epidemiological studies have shown a link is complete fabrication and misinformation. This sort of misinformation is as bad as the health care fraud that some folks claim regarding unproven agents.

do agree that we need to concern ourselves about impurities in creatine and any unregulated substances (i.e. previous problems with tryptophan and eosinophilic myositis). I am all for creatine and other nutraceuticals being exposed to rigorous purity testing by federal agencies. I know that most of the creatine for the neurology studies is exposed to careful testing for impurities and other chemical standards - Many of the large reputable companies in the US and Canada buy their creatine from high quality sources.

It then goes on to say that the effects of high levels of creatine ingestion have not been studied in the short or long term (yet at the same time they claim there have been epidemiological studies). They quote that there are epidemiological studies showing difficulties with digestion, muscle cramps and apparently cardiovascular problems (???????? - not sure where this comes from – IN FACT, there are 2 studies in humans with congestive heart failure showing benefits to performance and studies in animals showing cardio-protective effects). We have shown that it does not affect blood pressure (Mihic, et al, 2000).

There are other issues with this – firstly, there have been no true epidemiological studies of creatine use and papers are suggesting from this article that epidemiological studies show a possible risk - THIS IS ABSOLUTELY INCORRECT.

In the final summary they state that supplementation with creatine constitutes a risk, but it has been insufficiently evaluated, particularly in the long-term. With the potentially carcinogenic effects, it would be necessary for the regular reevaluation of studies. I am shocked that this amount of misinformation can be placed on the Internet by such an agency claiming legitimacy and trying to advocate for the good of people. This type of speculative misinformation does not serve the interests of anyone.

Our group and others are carefully evaluating the risks and benefits of creatine monohydrate ingestion in patients that have neuromuscular and neurometabolic disorders as well as in human aging. Patients reading this stuff in the papers have already called to drop out of studies. Creatine may be very helpful in a number of medical conditions and thanks to this inaccurate statement we will all have difficulty in recruiting and retaining subjects.

Unfortunately, it is very difficult for the lay public to evaluate the quality of the information and the AFSSA statement violates many of the key factors to look for in judging legitimacy:

. The person signing their name to the statement does not list their credentials.

. The supposed scientists who evaluated the literature are not listed.

. There is no evidence of external review of the statement.

. The statement has internal inconsistencies (medium & long term studies not done & yet concludes epidemiological studies show there may be a cancer risk).

. There are no references to peer reviewed studies to support the statement.

THERE ARE NO STUDIES IN HUMANS EVEN SUGGESTING AN INCREASED RISK OF CANCER WITH CREATINE. In contrast, there ARE many papers showing an anti-cancer effect of creatine in animals:

Jeong, K., et al. Effects of cyclocreatine in rat hepatocarcinogenesis model. Anticancer Res. 20:1627-1633, 2000.

ristensen, C., et al. Creatine and cyclocreatine treatment of human colon adenocarcinoma xenografts: 31P and 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopic studies. Br. J. Cancer 79: 278-285, 1999.

chiffenbauer, Y., et al. Cyclocreatine transport and cytotoxicity in rat glioma and human ovarian carcinoma cells: 31P-NMR spectroscopy. Am. J. Physiol. 270: C160-169, 1996.

ra, G., et al. Antitumor activity of creatine analogs produced by alterations in pancreatic hormones and glucose metabolism. In Vivo 12: 223-231, 1998.

iller, E., et al. Inhibition of rate of tumor growth by creatine and cyclocreatine. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 90: 3304-3308, 1993.

There are also excellent reviews of creatine so people can get their facts straight:

asey, A., and P. Greenhaff. Does dietary creatine supplementation play a role in skeletal muscle metabolism and performance? Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 72: 607S-617S, 2000.

arnopolsky, M. Potential benefits of creatine monohydrate supplementation in the elderly. Curr. Opin. Clin. Nutr. Metab. Care 3: 497-502, 2000.

erjung, R., et al. American College of Sports Medicine roundtable. The physiological and health effects of oral creatine supplementation. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 32: 706-717, 2000.

yss, M., and R. Kaddurah-Daouk. Creatine and creatinine metabolism. Physiol. Rev. 80: 1107-1213, 2000.


There are also reviews of safety:

oortmans, J., and M. Francaux. Adverse effects of creatine supplementation: fact or fiction? Sports Med. 30: 155-170, 2000.

ihic, S., et al. Acute creatine loading increases fat-free mass, but does not affect blood pressure, plasma creatinine, or CK activity in men and women. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 32: 291-296, 2000,

I would hope that Reuters, ESPN, National Post, Associated Press, etc. would get their facts straight before they put out misinformation. I know that a flashy inflammatory and inaccurate statement is better for press, but please think of the patients who are involved in the studies and those who may stand to benefit from carefully controlled evaluation of the risks and benefits of creatine supplementation. Yes, there may be some side effects, but please, let the researchers evaluate what these are and the incidence so that people can evaluate the risks and benefits of supplementation in an unbiased manner.

Mark Tarnopolsky, MD, PhD, FRCP(C),Neuromuscular Disease Unit, 4U4 Neurology, McMaster University Medical Center


What one training method is best for athletic development? Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. After all, components of athleticism include trunk and torso strength, balance, power, sport-specific conditioning, agility, movements patterns, absolute and relative strength, endurance, skill, etc. Each of these details has a different role in determining success in various activities. The big question is “which training exercises or techniques are most beneficial”?

You would definitely get a wide range of answers from various strength and conditioning experts, and their response would likely depend on the expert’s role in athlete development. For example, many physiotherapists would agree that core strength and flexibility are training priorities. Strength and conditioning coaches may emphasize compound weight lifting exercises and traditional conditioning methods. Chiropractors would address lower back strength (and core strength), proper spinal alignment, and correct biomechanical movements. And finally, the head coach would insist on sport-specific skill training.

In preparing athletes for strength and power sports, CB ATHLETIC CONSULTING believes the one technique that must be incorporated is PLYOMETRICS. But why are PLYOMETRICS the best training technique for athletes? Most importantly, Plyometric training should help to develop strength, power, balance, agility, and kinesthetic awareness all at the same time. There really isn’t any other training technique that addresses so many levels of athletic performance. However, feel free to disagree on this conclusion/hypothesis. It is merely an opinion and no programs or specific methods have truly been clearly proven superior in a research setting.

Remember that these are the best exercises only when performed under supervision and with the correct technique as taught by a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS). If you are unsure of proper technique or how to incorporate Plyometric exercises into your program with respect to volume and frequency, do NOT perform Plyometric training. This advanced tool is only recommended for properly coached athletes.

What about endurance athletes, can they benefit from explosive training techniques such as Plyometrics? They certainly can. By incorporating Plyometrics into their training regimen, endurance athletes may be able to increase muscle strength without the added hypertrophy that is associated with resistance training. Plyometric training emphasizes neuromuscular coordination and therefore the improvements in force production may result without a simultaneous increase in muscle size (cross-sectional area).

According to Finnish research, explosive training may help improve performance in distance running (Paavolainen et al., 1999). In this study, 2 groups of endurance athletes followed a 9-week training program, with one group incorporating explosive-type training. The explosive training group achieved significant increases in 5-km race time but the endurance training only group did not. Furthermore, maximal sprint speed (20 meters) and jump performance increased in the explosive training group and actually decreased in the endurance only group. The only variable that did not improve in the explosive training group was VO2max (aerobic power). The researchers concluded that the explosive-strength & endurance training combination improved race time in well-trained endurance athletes due to improved neuromuscular characteristics.

Paavolainen, L., et al. Explosive-strength training improves 5-km running time by improving running economy and muscle power. J. Appl. Physiol. 86: 1527-1533, 1999.




: Resistance Exercise followed by a simple Plyometric Exercise

i.e.) Squat followed by Vertical Jump



: Hang Clean plus Front Squat

i.e.) Clean the weight to the shoulders & then perform a Front Squat. This counts as 1 repetition.


4 – OLYMPIC LIFTS (see ISSUES # 29 & 30)

: Power Clean & Snatch

: Hang Clean

: High Pull

: Push-press/Push-jerk





: Squat/Front Squat

: Deadlift

: Reverse Lunge/Lunge/Step-up

: Leg Press

- wide stance

- heels high

: Stiff-leg Deadlift

: Power shrug (Barbell, DB, single-arm DB)

: Row

- overhand & underhand grips

       - barbell OR dumbbell OR seated

       - wide grip OR narrow grip

: Flat bench/chest press

- wide grip OR narrow grip

       - dumbbell

: Core Strength Exercises

- Stability Ball & Cable Exercises for the Abdominals

- Chair Extensions for the Lower-Back

: Chins

- Grips: wide OR supinated OR semi-pronated OR mixed

: Dips

- wide grip & lean forward

- narrow grip & torso upright

: Incline bench/chest press

- narrow OR wide grip

       - dumbbell

: Shoulder press

- dumbbell OR machine OR barbell

: Pulldowns

- wide grip, narrow grip, underhand grip, close grip, OR single-arm

: Decline press

- narrow OR wide grip

       - dumbbell

Pullover machine

                : Chest flyes

: Leg Curls

                : Calf raises

                : Cable lateral raises

                : Arm Training


Your opinion is valued at CB ATHLETICS. If something was left out or if you completely disagree, please voice your opinion. Open discussion and learning from one another is a great way to improve your training programs and to educate one another on successful program based on anatomy and physiological principles.


Enjoy the website! Thank you for all your support.




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