ACSM Statement on Creatine Supplements

Author: Monica Preboth
Date: August 15, 2000

Interest in the effects of creatine use by a number of American athletes has led to numerous studies. Many of these studies have produced conflicting findings. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has published a consensus statement from their scientific roundtable titled "The Physiological and Health Effects of Oral Creatine Supplementation." The statement appears in the March 2000 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

The statement, which references hundreds of scientific studies, includes findings that show creatine use enhances exercise performance involving short periods of extremely powerful anaerobic activity and strength gains during strength training programs. According to the statement, the use of creatine does not enhance aerobic exercise performance or increase maximal isometric strength. The panel found that a dosage of 20 g per day is unnecessary; 3 g per day will achieve the same increase in phosphocreatine given time. Also, within the first few days, use of creatine can lead to weight gain, likely caused by water retention related to creatine uptake in the muscle. The panel found that changes in the muscle with the use of creatine do not mimic adaptive changes; therefore, creatine use cannot replace weight training.

The panel members agreed that there is no definitive evidence that creatine supplementation causes gastrointestinal, renal and/or muscle cramping complications. Creatine should not be used immediately before exercise, and should not be used by children or by women who are pregnant or lactating.

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