This episode is packed with info about CREATINE Supplementation Over 50.
I’ve been asked about creatine. I talked about it at the Flipping 50 April master class series (This topic comes up frequently in our masterclasses the second Wednesday of each month. Watch the banners at top of site or if you’re already on our email subscribers list, you’ll be invited. To join that list link here). I shared that I was testing creatine and would share my results.
First, you may be wondering what does it do and why creatine supplementation might be for you. It is another of those things that we will produce naturally less of as we age. First against muscle loss and frailty it is key in supporting lean muscle gains. It’s been used and questioned for decades as a supplement for body builders and figure competitors. You too may have asked about it if you have teens or young adults hoping to gain size and strength for high school football. These are often times when it comes across your radar, at least in the past.
You may start hearing more about it as we look for ways to boost muscle now for decades ahead. As with anything, research featuring older adults is what we’re exploring here.
The good news:
13:30 The science suggests there aren’t any known negative side effects for older adults and supplementing with this could help avoid sarcopenia.
It is still always wise to consult a physician about any medications you’re taking and any interactions between that and supplements you take to both enhance absorption and prevent interference deeming either ineffective.
Sarcopenia: significant loss of muscle and strength over the lifetime without any strength or dietary interventions to prevent it associated with diseases including but not isolated to insulin resistance (now seen in young adults more and more often), diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and cancer, to name just a few.
To calculate whether you’re sarcopenic:
17:05 Determine if you’re already mildly sarcopenic by looking at your Muscle Mass Index (MMI). Similar to Body Mass Index (BMI), which is antiquated and still overused in doctor’s offices as a measure of health, MMI tells you more about your body composition, even without a scale.
MMI is a measure of your muscle mass divided by your height squared. Input your height and your lean muscle mass in pounds. To find that you’ll need a Smart Scale that tells you (skeletal) muscle mass in pounds, not just everything but fat mass which includes your organs and bone.
To cheat and not have to do math, you can find an online BMI calculator like this one from National Health Institute. [https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm]
Use this for risk evaluation:
Mild sarcopenia = males: 8.51-10.75; females: 5.76-6.75
Severely sarcopenic = males: SMI < 8.51; females SMI < 5.76
My experience with creatine supplementation:
19:40 It’s made strength gains easier, recovery faster, and definition better… without trying harder. In other words it’s the same routine and effort with improved results.
How I take it:
21:23 5 g in a simple shake or smoothie before I train (preference)
If I haven’t had it, say I didn’t have a shake before, then I’ll do it after.
Who is a good candidate?
22:49 If you have been lifting for a period of time optimizing adequate strength training by following the strength recommendations necessary for adequate stimulus often shared here at Flippingfifty.com, you’re a perfect candidate for creatine.
Beginners to strength training are going to already see gains in muscle fiber recruitment in the first 6-8 weeks that will lead first to strength. With additional lifting and adequate protein there will be support for greater number of muscle fiber and size, though size should not be emphasized here as with age it will be difficult to gain great size. For women this statement should also not be a deterrent. It’s very hard, as an older woman, to actually gain hypertrophy (size) in muscle.
Though many women still fear bulk from lifting, they often are:
- Using the wrong protocol
- Eating insufficient protein
- Undereating or overeating carbs and fat causing inflammation
- Not allowing recovery from exercise (again visible inflammation will look like “bulk”)
For a beginning strength trainer, adequate benefits will come from increased overload. Additional benefit is not as likely from adding supplements.
The first step to better results in strength is lifting.
Step two is to be aware of the regular intake of adequate protein at meals (multiple posts on this site go into detail on this). Intake of protein close to weightlifting is key to boosting muscle protein synthesis (build up) and preventing muscle protein breakdown.
To add muscle mass which in turn improves body composition, adequate protein type and timing combined with lifting is important.
From the literature:
Creatine supplementation can augment gains in muscle mass and strength during a period of exercise training in older adults already optimizing adequate strength training to their advantage (as opposed to beginners).
How to start if you’re severely under-muscled or frail:
Research suggests creatine (monohydrate) is generally supplemented in relatively large doses (four times 5 g/d) for a relatively short 5-7 d period to increase skeletal muscle phosphocreatine content. A maintenance dose of 2-5 g of creatine/d is subsequently taken to maintain the elevated muscle phosphocreatine levels.
Additional Candidates for Creatine Supplementation
Vegans, Vegetarians, or anyone avoiding red meat may want to consider creatine. Meat, specifically red meat, are best sources of creatine.
Winning with this
It’s tasteless so it’s an easy addition. I use it daily (recovery days too; you’re building, recovering, or sustaining)
Exercise Nutrition Tips:
- Whole food first
- Check your micronutrient sufficiency, quality protein intake, and overall absorption of the good foods we’re eating.
- “Healthy” isn’t enough. Your healthy foods may not agree with you any more so make sure you’re considering your gut health and use signs of gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea as signs to do something different.
You are not what you eat, but what you absorb.
Your midlife body may need a change to provide you with the rewards you deserve from exercise.
Helpful? Love to hear from you. Please leave a comment.
Devries, M.C., and S. Phillips (2014). Creatine Supplementation during Resistance Training in Older Adults-a Meta-analysis. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 46:1194-1203.
Volpi E, Nazemi R, Fujita S. Muscle tissue changes with aging. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2004 Jul;7(4):405-10. doi: 10.1097/01.mco.0000134362.76653.b2. PMID: 15192443; PMCID: PMC2804956.
Continuous Blood Glucose Monitor: https://www.flippingfifty.com/glucose
Other Episodes You Might Like:
It’s Not Just How Much Protein:
Plant vs Animal Protein: https://www.flippingfifty.com/plant-vs-animal-protein/
It’s Not Just About How Much Protein: https://www.flippingfifty.com/how-much-protein/
The Ultimate Smoothie Guide: https://www.flippingfifty.com/ultimate-after-50-smoothies-guide/
Hot Not Bothered Challenge Boost your MoJo with the right exercise to get started (or reset) your energy and muscle. Waiting list: https://www.flippingfifty.com/hnb-challenge