Creatine plus electrolytes may boost anaerobic power and strength: Study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / Jun
© Getty Images / Jun
A multi-ingredient supplement containing creatine with electrolytes may benefit recreationally trained individuals, with the greatest benefits seen in bench press, says a new study.

Data published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition​ indicated that creatine combined with phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and sodium for six weeks led to significant improvements in bench press, back squat maximal strength, and multiple repetition tests to fatigue, compared to a maltodextrin placebo.

“This MIPS [multi-ingredient performance supplement] consisting of creatine and electrolytes could be beneficial for people wishing to increase their performance,” ​wrote scientists from Western Washington University and the University of Tennessee. “Additional studies are needed to compare the MIPS to a creatine only supplement to examine if the performance increase is directly related to the electrolytes in the MIPS.”

The supplement used in the study was formulated by Utah-based Albion Laboratories, which also funded the study.

Study details

The researchers recruited 22 recreationally trained men and women with an average age of 21 to participate in their study. The volunteers were randomly assigned to consume placebo or the MIPS daily for six weeks. The supplement provided 4 g of creatine, 857 mg of phosphorus, 286 mg of magnesium, 171 mg of calcium, 171 mg of potassium, and 114 mg of sodium.

Data from back squats and bench presses revealed that the active supplement was associated with a 5.9% increase in bench press maximal strength, compared to only 0.7% in the placebo group.

In addition, the one-repetition maximum (1RM) for back squat increased significantly by 13.4% in the MIPS group, compared to a 0.2% decrease in the placebo group. The 1RM for bench press also increased by 5.9% in the MIPS group.

The researchers also reported that the MIPS consumption was associated with a significant increase as well in total concentric work and mean power for the maximal repetition bench press test at 80% of their 1RM.

“The literature and current study seem to agree that creatine supplementation lasting at least 5 weeks can increase back squat maximal strength across various populations ranging from recreational to competitive athletes. Benefits from the MIPS were also very similar to those using creatine monohydrate at relatively similar doses (4-5 grams per day),” ​wrote the researchers.

“Most available information on creatine supplementation primarily involves an isolated creatine supplement. This current study combined both creatine and various electrolytes that potentially increase the absorption of creatine, increase transport into the muscle, and increase performance. Therefore, our results may not be directly relatable to a creatine only supplement, due to the addition of electrolytes in the current MIPS.”

Source: Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
2019, 16​:24, doi: 10.1186/s12970-019-0291-x
“Creatine electrolyte supplement improves anaerobic power and strength: a randomized double-blind control study”
Authors: E. Hummer et al.

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