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– CREATINE IS SAFE!
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
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
Whom It May Concern:
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
. There are no references to peer reviewed studies to support the statement.
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:
K., et al. Effects of cyclocreatine in rat hepatocarcinogenesis
model. Anticancer Res. 20:1627-1633, 2000.
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.
Y., et al. Cyclocreatine transport and cytotoxicity in
rat glioma and human ovarian carcinoma cells: 31P-NMR spectroscopy. Am. J. Physiol. 270: C160-169,
G., et al. Antitumor activity of creatine analogs produced
by alterations in pancreatic hormones and glucose metabolism. In Vivo 12: 223-231, 1998.
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
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.
M. Potential benefits of creatine monohydrate supplementation
in the elderly. Curr. Opin. Clin. Nutr. Metab. Care 3: 497-502, 2000.
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.
M., and R. Kaddurah-Daouk. Creatine and creatinine metabolism.
Physiol. Rev. 80: 1107-1213, 2000.
There are also reviews of safety:
J., and M. Francaux. Adverse effects of creatine supplementation:
fact or fiction? Sports Med. 30: 155-170, 2000.
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,
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.
Tarnopolsky, MD, PhD, FRCP(C),Neuromuscular
Disease Unit, 4U4 Neurology,
University Medical Center
SOMETHING TO DEBATE: THE BEST EXERCISES FOR
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”?
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.
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.
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
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.
3. THE COMPLETE EXERCISE RANKING
– COMPLEX EXERCISES
: Resistance Exercise followed by a simple Plyometric Exercise
i.e.) Squat followed by Vertical Jump
– COMBINATION RESISTANCE EXERCISES
: Hang Clean plus Front Squat
i.e.) Clean the weight to the shoulders & then perform a Front Squat.
This counts as 1 repetition.
– OLYMPIC LIFTS (see ISSUES # 29 & 30)
: Power Clean & Snatch
: Hang Clean
: High Pull
– RESISTANCE TRAINING
: Squat/Front Squat
: Reverse Lunge/Lunge/Step-up
: Leg Press
- wide stance
- heels high
: Stiff-leg Deadlift
: Power shrug (Barbell, DB, single-arm DB)
- overhand & underhand grips
- barbell OR dumbbell OR seated
- wide grip OR narrow grip
: Flat bench/chest press
- wide grip OR narrow grip
: Core Strength Exercises
- Stability Ball & Cable Exercises for the
- Chair Extensions for the Lower-Back
- Grips: wide OR supinated OR semi-pronated
- wide grip & lean forward
- narrow grip & torso upright
: Incline bench/chest press
- narrow OR wide grip
: Shoulder press
- dumbbell OR machine OR barbell
- wide grip, narrow grip, underhand grip, close
grip, OR single-arm
: Decline press
- narrow OR wide grip
: 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.