Creatine supplements during inactivity and immobilization

 Muscle and strength loss occur during periods of physical inactivity and immobilization.

Researchers from St Francis Xavier University, in Antigonish in Canada report the effects of creatine supplementation on upper limb muscle mass and performance after immobilization.

First, the details.

  • Before the study, 17 creatine-naive men were assessed for lean tissue mass, strength, and muscle endurance.
  • Then, the men’s dominant or nondominant upper limb was randomly immobilized using a long arm plaster cast at 90 degrees elbow flexion.
  • Then, the men received placebo (maltodextrin; 4 x 5 grams per day) during days 1-7 and creatine (4 x 5 grams per day) during days 15-21.
  • The cast was removed during days 8-14 and 22-29.
  • Lean tissue mass, strength, and endurance were assessed before and after treatment.

And, the results.

  • During immobilization, lean tissue mass, elbow flexor strength, and endurance, and elbow extensor strength, and endurance were significantly better maintained with creatine supplementation compared to placebo.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “These results indicate that short-term creatine supplementation attenuates the loss in muscle mass and strength during upper-arm immobilization in young men.”

It’s unclear if the rigid assignment of treatment with creatine to the second period of immobilization had an effect on the results.

5/18/09 20:17 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.