Creatine and HMB:The Power Team!
by Alfredo Franco-Obregón, PhD
It is now widely accepted by the sports medicine community that creatine supplementationpromotes the production of lean muscle mass and enhances athletic performance in sportingevents encompassing explosive bursts of power
in the majority of athletes who supplement
.Creatine principally acts by increasing the availability of
), thecell’s energy currency, to muscles during exhaustive exercise. The increase in exercise outputafforded by the prolonged longevity of muscle’s ATP reserves then serves as a greater trainingstimulus for subsequent muscle development. In addition, there are also strong indicationsthat the increase in muscle fluid content, a process known as muscle volumizing, thatcommonly accompanies creatine use, may also stimulate the production of new muscleproteins, or protein synthesis. Finally, there are also some indications that creatine buffersmuscle acidity (
delaying the onset of muscle fatigue
), improves insulin-sensitivity (
increasingcellular amino acid and carbohydrate storage
) and possesses antioxidants properties(
protecting against oxidative stress
). Therefore, a large body of scientific evidenceoverwhelmingly supports a role for creatine in stimulating muscle growth and enhancingathletic performance. Because of its positive effect on muscle development, creatine isclassified as an anabolic (tissue building) agent. The mechanisms of action of other nutritionalsupplements are not as thoroughly studied and understood as that of creatine. Nonetheless,the lack of clear scientific support has not dissuaded many supplement manufactures fromflooding the market with utterly bogus nutritional supplements.
utyrate) is one nutritional supplement that has the promiseof being an authentic ergogenic supplement. Although the bulk of the scientific evidencedemonstrating an ergogenic effect of HMB, at least for the moment, is not as compelling as forcreatine, the future appears bright for this intriguing nutritional supplement. Interestingly,HMB appears to exert its particular ergogenic effect by making the muscle cell membranemore resistant to mechanical damage. HMB’s principal mechanism of action appears to bemediated via its ability to sustain cholesterol synthesis. Although cholesterol is a majorstructural component of all cellular membranes, it plays an especially important role instabilizing the membranes of cells undergoing constant mechanical stresses. Of importance tothe topic at hand, muscle membranes deficient in cholesterol will inevitably succumb tomechanical stress of exercise by tearing, thereby collapsing the essential barrier that protectsthe inside of the muscle cell from potentially damaging agents in the extracellular (outside thecell) space. Left unchecked, this leakage pathway could then initiate a proteolytic (
) enzymatic cascade within the muscle cell that will consume existing proteins andmake muscle growth nearly impossible. In fact, under conditions of cholesterol deficiency