Ergogenic Aids

Creatine Monohydrate

  • Made from amino acids Arginine, Glycine, Methionine
  • Joins with phosphorous to make active form Phosphocreatine (PCr) which serves as storage depot for muscular ATP
  • ATP is high energy fuel used in high-intensity activity: delays fatigue
  • Supplementing 20g per day for 5-7 days increases muscle PCr by 50%
    • Benefits anaerobic portions of endurance activities and strength gaining during beginning of resistance weight training
    • Supplementing for up to 7 days should be followed by equally long break
    • Creatine storage also causes retention of water and weight increase
  • Preformed creatine can be sourced from meat but cooking break down the polypeptide in well done meats: reduce cooking time or temperature of meats
  • Carbohydrate / calorie intake should be addressed before supplementing


  • Excess above 1.5g per kg or intake with insufficient carbohydrate likely to be broken down for energy use or stored as fat
  • As energy source produces nitrogenous waste that must be excreted leading to water loss and increased chance of dehydration: ensure sufficient water intake


  • Assists people who are unaccustomed to consumption: people easily adapt thus more is needed to ensure same effect. Best to abstain from use for 7 days prior to event to enhance benefits of use
  • Acts to increase availability of Free Fatty Acids (FFA’s) in blood for use as fuel in low intensity endurance exercise. Also stimulates central nervous system delaying mental fatigue. Best to time intake for end of endurance event
  • Unlikely to benefit during high-intensity exercise
  • Triggers release of stress hormones and stored glycogen. If blood glucose not used
    • Insulin is released leading to fat storage and inhibited fat metabolism
    • Hyperinsulemia and reactive hypoglycemia may be triggered leading to sugar cravings
    • Cortisol release leads to muscle catabolism
    • Tolerance may develop and metabolic resistance to stress hormones may result
    • Best to have before exercise accompanied with high protein / high fiber food

Carnitine (L-Carnitine, Beta-Hydroxy Butyrate)

  • Amino that transports long-chain fatty acids into mitochondria of cells for metabolism
  • Increases blood flow by improving fatty acid oxidation in artery walls
  • Detoxifies ammonia from protein breakdown that is associated with fatigue
  • Made from Lysine and Methionine and found in meats and dairy
    • Deficiency unlikely except for vegetarians
    • Synthesis requires vitamin C, vitamin B3, vitamin B6 and iron as enzymatic cofactors.
  • May spare muscle glycogen breakdown and decrease lactic acid production and evidence of benefit in high-intensity activities when supplemented (with L-Carnitine form) just before activity or for several days before

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

  • Reduce muscle soreness especially in people beginning exercise training / are untrained
  • Improved blood flow and oxygen and nutrient delivery by reducing red blood cell stickiness
  • Improved release of somatropin (HGH) in response to normal stimuli: sleep, exercise, hunger which may have anabolic effect and improve recovery time
  • Reduced inflammation from muscular fatigue and over-exertion, leading to faster recovery
  • Not to be taken when injured: may result in reduced blood clotting and excess bleeding

Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs)

  • From Coconut and Palm oil
  • Shorter length and water solubility leads to them being metabolized differently
  • Muscles and Liver metabolize them directly for energy
    • Muscles do not need L-Carnitine (other fats do for delivery to mitochondria)
    • Provide quick source of energy
    • Help mobilize body fat stores for energy
    • Increase metabolic rate
    • Spare lean body mass (muscle)


  • May reduce fatigue when used for endurance sports by increasing oxygen delivery


  • Polyphenol found in olives, olive oil, onions, apples, red wine, tea and capers (highest content)
  • Anti-oxidant and may prevent ROS damage which may enhance cell metabolism leading to continuation of intense activity. May also increase mitochondrial content of cells
  • Intense activity causes increased oxidative stress due to increased ROS production which alter cell structure and function and poses increased risk of cancer and early fatigue
  • Regular intake necessary to obtain benefit and supplement not advised


  • May increase aerobic fitness and lead to sustained endurance
  • Anti-cancer and lowers blood sugar
  • Anti-inflammatory potential is more effective than aspirin and ibuprofen
  • Present in grape skin (fermenting to wine doubles content of grape juice), cocoa, peanuts


Sourced from:

  • D. (2012). Advanced Sports Nutrition (2nd Ed).  Champaign, Il: Human Kinetics
  • Teta, J., Teta, K. (2009). The New ME Diet. New York, NY: Harper Collins

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