Supplement Savvy: More Questions, MOHR Answers - 8-16-04!

In this article I cover studies about the antioxidant effects of vitamin E and determine whether or not creatine blended with mg2+ is more effective than regular creatine.
Vitamin E is often promoted as an important component during the recovery process after running. Because training itself actually results in minor muscular injury, inflammation and increased cellular oxidation, vitamin E is often recommended because of its known antioxidant properties.

Let's take a look to see if this recommendation pans out in the scientific world.


Vitamin E And Immunity After The Kona Triathlon World Championship

The purpose of this particular study was to determine what effects vitamin E supplementation would have on 38 triathletes who competed in the Kona Triathlon World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. The athletes received either 800 iu's of vitamin E or placebo, in a randomized, double-blind fashion for 2 months before the race event.

Blood, urine and saliva samples were then collected (fun job, huh?) the day before the race, 5-10 minutes post race, and 1.5 hours post race. Not surprisingly, race times did not differ among the vitamin E or placebo athletes and plasma levels of alpha-tocopherol (a particular form of vitamin E) were significantly higher in those taking vitamin E.


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However, the surprising results were that markers of both inflammation and immunity were higher in those taking vitamin E versus those taking placebo! This was contrary even to the author's hypothesis.

They also found no significant increases in DNA oxidative stress after the extreme level of exercise.

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Looks like vitamin E may not quite be the immunity booster, powerful antioxidant some claim; more research is clearly warranted.
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Next on the "supplement cutting board" is creatine. Yup, we know it works. However, some of you may have noticed recent products on the market have began using what's called a Mg2+ chelate to facilitate the entry of creatine into cells. So let's take a look at the first study that compared a Mg2+ chelate to regular old creatine.


Mg2+-Creatine Chelate And A Low-dose Creatine Supplementation Regimen Improve Exercise Performance

Thirty-one weight-trained men were randomly assigned in a double-blind manner to a placebo group , creatine group (2.5 g of creatine/day) or a Mg2+-creatine chelate (2.5 g of creatine/day). Baseline data were collected for the bench press 1 repetition maximum (1 RM) and maximal work completed during a fatigue set of 70% of the 1 RM.

Results of this short, 10-day study showed that there were no significant differences between either the creatine or Mg2+ creatine chelate groups; both groups differed significantly from the placebo group.

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These results suggest that there is no difference between the two forms of creatine.
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Moreover, the study also demonstrates that as little as 2.5 g of creatine may be effective at enhancing performance. This is one of a growing number of studies that show that this lower dose of creatine is effective; this may make the 5 grams/day recommended on most bottles obsolete.

Back to this study, however, it appears that the theory that binding creatine with a chelate works better on paper than it does physiologically.


Conclusions

From these two studies we have learned:

    Vitamin E may not be too effective in protecting one from the inflammation and other transient negative side of training and

    Mg creatine-chelate is no more effective than creatine alone.

We also are learning of the emerging evidence that when it comes to creatine, less is actually more and the 5 g/day once popular is unnecessary.