by Chad Kerksick PhD October 17, 2013 2 min read
Creatine supplements are responsible for a number of possible benefits. Nearly every strength and power athlete should at least consider supplementing it in their diet and determining if it can be useful to their training goals. In addition to helping to improve performance, creatine supplementation has been investigated for a number of other benefits and a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research examined the impact of creatine supplementation on changes in oxidative stress and DNA damage (Rahimi 2011).
This study is important because every athlete who trains intensely will increase the amount of oxidative stress that is occurring throughout their body and if intense training habits are combined with poor recovery efforts, the effects can be very detrimental. Oxidative stress is a general term used by scientists to explain the production of various components in our body that can target our cell membranes, various proteins and our DNA. If cell membranes on any of the ten trillion cells in your body are damaged they won’t work correctly and same goes for the millions of proteins and DNA molecules in your body. If any of these happen to be involved in any of the processes that will result in you getting bigger, stronger and just get downright better then, you guessed it, this progress will halted.
Over a seven-day period, when resistance-trained men followed a traditional loading period of creatine or a placebo the authors had all study participants provide blood and urine samples over a 24-hour period. The authors measured various things that gave them an idea if supplementing with creatine was helpful. The authors followed that before any creatine was provided, significant increases in markers of both oxidative stress and DNA were increased as a result of completing the exercise bout. When creatine supplementation was added, the increases in these oxidative and DNA damage markers were reduced.
This led the authors to conclude that a brief loading period of creatine may help to reduce the increase in oxidative stress and DNA damage that is known to occur in response to intense resistance training. These reductions will certainly strengthen the overall adaptive response of the cells involved, which could go to better promote your recovery and allow you to train harder for longer.
Rahimi, R. (2011). “Creatine supplementation decreases oxidative DNA damage and lipid peroxidation induced by a single bout of resistance exercise.” J Strength Cond Res 25(12): 3448-3455.