Creatine Monohydrate Masterclass – Dr. Jose Antonio, Anthony Ricci, Dr. Scott Forbes (Dr. Creatine), And Dr. Darren Candow

Creatine Monohydrate Masterclass - Dr. Jose Antonio, Anthony Ricci, Dr. Scott Forbes (Dr. Creatine), And Dr. Darren Candow

In this episode of the Sports Science Dudes podcast, hosts Dr. Jose Antonio and Dr. Tony Ricci welcomed two special guests, Dr. Darren Candow and Dr. Scott Forbes aka Dr. Creatine.

Dr. Candow is a professor and director of the Aging Muscle and Bone Health Laboratory at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada. His research focuses on developing effective lifestyle interventions involving nutrition, primarily creatine monohydrate, and physical activity that can help improve musculoskeletal aging and reduce the risk of falls and fractures. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers, supervised over 20 master’s and Ph.D. students, and has received research funding from various organizations.

Dr. Forbes, on the other hand, is an associate professor at Brandon University in Manitoba, Canada. He is a certified sports nutritionist through the ISSN and a clinical exercise physiologist and high-performance specialist through the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. His research focuses on examining various nutritional and exercise interventions to enhance muscle, bone, and brain function in different populations.


The high-IQ group begins by covering hair loss (as they joke about having the same barber), with Dr. Forbes debunking this myth and stating that there is no evidence to support this claim. The study commonly questioned only measured a hormone, as opposed to actual follicle-loss. The conversation then moved on to the effect of resistance training on testosterone levels and its conversion to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), however Dr. Creatine has assessed over 1,000 people in his lab and has never had any complaints.


In the next segment Tony, Scott, and Darren continue their conversation on creatine supplementation. Tony shares that he is a low-dose creatine user, as taking a higher dose causes him to gain 10-11 pounds in weight every week. He questions whether there might be individual variables that cause such a dramatic weight response. Scott and Darren suggest that the acute water retention or weight gain can be reduced by taking multiple small doses throughout the day, instead of one large dose.


Tony brings up the topic of non-responders to creatine supplementation. Darren explains that non-responders are usually non-responders from a muscle perspective, and there is no evidence to suggest that they are non-responders to other tissues, such as bone and brain. He also mentions that the immune system response to creatine is an evolving area of research.


Darren talks about his personal experience with creatine supplementation, and he takes 10 grams of creatine per day. He recommends increasing the dosage during times of metabolic stress or neurological diseases. He also suggests that a smaller dose might be sufficient for people looking to increase muscle size but that the neck up (brain) might require a higher dosage.The optimal dosage for different tissues and the effects of creatine on the immune system are some of the areas that require further investigation.


The discussion takes a personal turn as Scott talks about his experience with his children taking creatine when they were young, which other parents found odd. Despite the hundreds of studies on creatine, there is still pushback from some physicians, athletic trainers, and dietitians due to concerns about safety and potential effects on growth. However, Darren argues that the safety profile of creatine is among the best in the world, and the argument against giving creatine to children is the same as the argument against giving them protein. Overall, the group highlights the need for more biomarker studies on long-term safety, especially for those under 18. A systematic review of over 35 individual studies has shown that creatine supplementation can be beneficial for both younger individuals trying to gain muscle.


There is substantial research suggesting improvements made in older adults who are dealing with sarcopenia. While there may be some muscle-specific declines in creatine production in older individuals, the lower body seems to improve statistically with creatine supplementation. Therefore, when designing resistance training programs for older adults, it’s important to do more volume for the lower limbs to offset the negative effects of aging. Resistance training is crucial for functionality and withstanding falls and fractures in older populations, and leg press and squats are essential. In females, the concern about bloating is often raised, but the water retention associated with creatine is only during the luteal phase, and it can improve body composition by reducing percent body fat and helping to lose fat mass. Overall, creatine supplementation has many benefits and should be considered in resistance training programs for both younger and older populations.


The experts touch upon the topic of the effect of creatine on people who are on a hypocaloric diet. They suggest that creatine may help to rescue some of the catabolic effects of low energy and lethargy that are often associated with a hypocaloric diet. They also mention the need for more studies to investigate this topic. The experts talk about the timing of creatine intake during training and how it can affect muscle strength. They suggest that taking small amounts of creatine after each set of exercises can significantly increase measures of muscle strength over placebo.


While creatine may not be directly involved in steady-state, moderate-intensity, continuous exercise, it can be beneficial in events that require changes in pace or bursts of activity. It is also mentioned that creatine combined with carbohydrates can bring more glycogen into the muscle, which can be a benefit for endurance athletes. However, the water retention caused by creatine may not be suitable for runners who have to carry their body weight. On the other hand, it may be beneficial for cyclists, rowers, kayakers, standup paddleboarders, and swimmers who do not have to carry their body weight.


The timing of creatine intake for athletes who do both strength power training and endurance training. They suggest that creatine can be taken in the morning, pre-workout, during, after, or before bedtime, as long as it is combined with weight training, which seems to be effective. The experts also mention that creatine does not increase the rates of protein synthesis like protein does and needs to be stimulated and combined with some type of exercise, either aerobic or resistance training.

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