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As a younger athlete, your goals may have been a little more about vanity. Knowing that your strength was improving, or that you were gaining muscle was a worthwhile accomplishment. You likely looked at which supplements could aid the process, and that may be how you first heard of creatine.
But now your goals are a little different. You're looking to slow the aging process, remain active, ward off injury... the desire to improve body composition and strength has been replaced with just maintaining it.
As our objectives shift, so do our supplement choices, but before you ditch the old creatine for a younger model, here are three reasons why taking Creatine may help you as you graduate to the level of "Masters Athlete".
Studies have shown that, when taking creatine monohydrate, older populations experience greater increases in muscle creatine levels than younger adults (3)
Want to read about the basics first? Click here:
1. Slow age-related muscle loss
In research studies following over 60 adults over 50 years of age, scientists found that those who supplemented with creatine and took part in resistance training experienced greater gains in muscle mass and strength than those taking a placebo along with resistance training (1). These benefits were also apparent in adults (including post-menopausal women) over 60 years of age, where studies again found that taking creatine while resistance training increased lean muscle mass as well as strength (5).
HMB also slows age-related muscle loss, read here:
2. Maintain your brain power
Cognitive function has been shown to decline with age (7), but with creatine having been shown to both be essential for maintaining nervous system energy levels (4 - see below), and improve the energy supply of brain tissues low in oxygen (2-14) there may be more reasons to supplement with creatine.
A study on males aged 50 to 76 with early stage Parkinson’s found that those who took on supplementation with creatine as well as coenzyme q10 had less plasma phospholipids and better Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) scores (2). Both of these metrics have been correlated with the progression of Parkinson’s Disease.
Did you know, creatine also helps cognitive performance? Read more here:
3. Maintain bone density
The potential for osteoporosis becomes more of a concern as one ages, as bone density has been shown to decrease with age (REF).
Muscle has been shown to share similar protein signaling pathways with bone (8-14), and as such, creatine alone showed an increase bone mineral density in patients with muscular dystrophy, following 3 months of supplementation of only 3g/day (8). Creatine supplementation alone has also been shown to reduce the presence markers of bone breakdown (Tarnpolsky).
w/ CoE Q10, 75 males 50-76 with early stage Parkinson's - Less Plasma Phospholipids and better Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) scores (both correlated with the progression of Parkinson's Disease)
Neuronal damage reduction
(2-14) creatine can improve the energy supply of hypoxic brain tissues and can reduce neuronal damage induced by excitotoxins and malonates
(4) creatine and phosphorylcreatine are essential to maintain nervous system energy levels (reviewed in Beard and Braissant 2010; Wyss and Kaddurah-Daouk 2000).
1. Candow et al. (2014): Strategic creatine supplementation and resistance training in healthy older adults.
2. Zhenguang et al. (2015): The Effect of Creatine and Coenzyme Q10 Combination Therapy on Mild Cognitive Impairment in Parkinson’s Disease
3. Solis et al. (2017): Effect of age, diet, and tissue type on PCr response to creatine supplementation
4. Gualano et al. (2016): Creatine supplementation in the aging population: effects on skeletal muscle, bone and brain
5. Gualano et al. (2014): Creatine supplementation and resistance training in vulnerable older women: A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial
6. Riesberg et al. (2016): Beyond muscles: The untapped potential of creatine
7. Barnes (2015): Exercise, cognitive function, and aging. Read the research
8. Louis et al (2003): Beneficial effects of creatine supplementation in dystrophic patients. Read the research
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