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Medicina dello Sport 1998 December;51(4):349-53


language: Italian

Creatine supplement and sport. Critical valuation of risks and benefits

Rossi R. 1, Gambelunghe C. 2, Lepri E. 2, Micheletti A. 2, Sommavilla M. 2, Parisse I. 3, Rufini S. 1

1 Scuola di Specializzazione in Medicina dello Sport, Università degli Studi, Perugia; 2 Dipartimento di Medicina Clinica e Sperimentale, Università degli Studi, Perugia; 3 Specialista in Medicina dello Sport


Today we can synthesize and manufacture all known nutrients: in theory many of these substances possess ergogenic potential when taken in quantities normally not found in foodstuffs.
Recently, creatine has been marketed as an ergogenic nutraceutical drug because after a 5 days period of supplementation (20 g day per 5 days) the mass of skeletal muscles are increased and the performance of intermittent high intensity exercise enhanced, especially in sedentary untrained subjects.
The scientific data available on highly trained athletes indicates that this population does not benefit from creatine supplementation. The widespread use of creatine to improve competition performance does not seem to be justified and several questions regarding its use must be posed.
In biological systems, creatine in excess undergoes condensation with sugar derivatives to form heterocyclic, carcinogenic amines. In a recent study supplementation of creatine tended to enhance the growth of Ehrlich ascite tumor cells.
The use of creatine goes against current doping regulations because the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on doping legislation states that any physiological substance taken in abnormal quantities with the intention of artificially and unfairly increasing performance should be considered doping and violating the ethics of sport. In view of this rule athletes should consider the legal and ethical position underlying the nutraceutical use of creatine.
The cancer risk related to abuse of this substance is too great to be taken lightly to have an unfair ridiculously low advantage of others in sports competition. Athletes in this way pay too much for penny whistle.

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