Creatine-electrolyte supplementation linked to increased power in study on male cyclists

By Adi Menayang contact

- Last updated on GMT

Getty Images / G Point Studio
Getty Images / G Point Studio
Creatine supplementation is popular for muscle growth, but researchers at Western Washington University suggest it might benefit endurance sports too.

Male recreational cyclists who received creatine and electrolyte supplementation exhibited increased power during a short-duration cycle sprint when researchers measured their performance using a Velotron ergometer, according to a study​ published last week in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

Participants supplemented with the placebo, on the other hand, exhibited no such improvement.

“The increase in peak power output observed in this study is the first time a significant increase in overall and repeated peak power output has been observed during sprint cycling following creatine-electrolyte supplementation,”​ the researchers from Western Washington University wrote in the report.

Study design

Utah-based mineral supplier Albion Laboratories, Inc.​, a subsidiary of Balchem Corporation, funded the study.

The design was randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled. Twenty-five male recreational cyclists between the ages of 19-33 were included. They were screened for conditions that could affect creatine absorption or metabolism, such as cardiac, kidney, or liver diseases.

Participants were then divided randomly into two groups given either the supplement or placebo. The supplement contained 4 g of creatine monohydrate combined with electrolytes (114 mg sodium chloride, 171 mg calcium chloride, 286 mg magnesium chloride, and 171 mg sodium chloride) per day.

Baseline data collection was conducted at the beginning of the study. During this time, participants performed five short-duration cycle sprints with two-minute rests between each. Intervention period lasted for six weeks, in which the participants took their daily dose of supplement or placebo, before another cycle test is conducted at the end of the period.

Results

The participants supplemented with creatine and electrolytes showed a 4% increase in overall peak power and a 5% increase in overall mean power from baseline to the end of the study.

Meanwhile, for the placebo group, no differences were observed in overall peak and overall mean power.

The postulated mechanism is that creatine monohydrate supplementation improved peak and mean power output during sprint cycling, and the electrolytes further improve creatine and the ergogenic effect.

“With regards to creatine-electrolyte supplementation and repeated sprint cycling performance…previous researchers have not reported significant pre- to post-supplementation increases in peak power output, and have reported mixed results with respect to changes in mean power output,” ​they wrote.

But with the present study, the researchers argued it to be the first time “a significant increase in overall and repeated peak power output has been observed during sprint cycling following creatine-electrolyte supplementation.”

Source:Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
Published online, https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-018-0226-y
Creatine-electrolyte supplementation improves repeated sprint cycling performance: A double blind randomized control study
Authors: Daniel L. Crisafulli, et al.

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