SUBMITTED BY HAO-YI SIM, HUMAN NUTRITIONAL SCIENCES STUDENT
(Please note that this post serves only as a source of information, and should not be considered medical advice. As with any supplement, please see a medical professional, such as a doctor or dietitian about any concerns).
Creatine is a structure composed of amino acids, specifically L-Arginine, Glycine, and Methionine, which come together to form the small peptide. Creatine is primarily stored in the skeletal muscle, and the liver, kidney, and the pancreas (to a limited degree) help synthesize it at a rate of roughly 1 gram per day.
Creatine in the body that is attached to the phosphate group is known as “phosphocreatine”, a molecule that aids in regenerating adenosine triphosphate (ATP) stores. ATP is the vital unit of “energy currency” that when broken down, releases energy that allows muscles to contract and do work.
ATP and phosphocreatine work together in the form of the ATP-PCr energy system, which is responsible for rapidly producing energy for activities requiring intense speed, power, and strength, and lasts for approximately 10 seconds. Activities requiring this energy system include the 100m sprint, or Olympic Weight-Lifting. (Canadian Academy of Sports, 2015)
Some individuals supplement their body with creatine supplementation. That is, consuming external sources of creatine with the goal of increasing their own creatine stores. Creatine Monohydrate is the common oral supplement form that is seen in most markets today.
In order to incorporate creatine for those who have not previously taken it, the recommended standard protocol composes of a week long “loading phase” to saturate the skeletal muscle with increased creatine, followed by a daily “maintenance phase” in order to maintain this increased muscular creatine state.
The standard dosages for the loading phase consists of consuming 0.3g/kg of bodyweight per day, or roughly 20-25 grams a day on average, split into four to five intakes of 5 grams each. Once the weeklong loading phase is complete, the standard dosage for the maintenance phase is 0.03g/kg/day, or roughly 5 grams every day. (Cooper, Naclerio, Allgrove, Jimenez, 2012).
When consumed in proper amounts and combined with resistance training, creatine uptake has been shown to enhance maximum (1 rep max) and endurance strength levels. Additionally, an increase in IGF-1 (an insulin-based muscle growth factor) has been observed, and has been positively correlated with increased insulin and increased lean body mass.These positive increases strength and hypertrophy have been attributed to the fact that athletes, who have an increased creatine pool from supplementation and thus more rapid ATP generation, are able to maintain a higher training intensity and improvement of workout quality.
There has also been research demonstrating enhanced neuromuscular performance over a short duration. In other words, creatine has been shown to increase performance in anaerobic, high intensity intermittent exercises lasting approximately 30 seconds and less. While there is some research for benefits of creatine supplementation in aerobic based activities, there are a similar amount of contradictory studies, and further research is required.
If an athlete is injured or is currently in rehabilitation, there have been some studies to suggest that supplementing creatine can be an effective strategy to reduce the effect of muscle damage post endurance exercise. Further more, the supplement had the potential to aid in reducing the anti-oxidative effects after more intensive resistance training.
In one retrospective study spanning 1-4 years, it was suggested that there were no negative health effects on creatine supplementation. Rather, there appeared to be positive effects in increasing total body water, reducing risk of muscle cramps and dehydration. The body’s ability to produce creatine has shown to not be compromised after a brief period following discontinuation of creatine supplementation. However, long-term studies on creatine are limited, and thus caution should be exercised when using creatine long term.
It should be noted that a majority of studies have focused on the adult population (>18 years), with much less research in children and adolescents. Thus, recommendations for creatine supplementation in children and adolescent are limited, and typically not recommended. However, the ISSN (International Society of Sport Nutrition) proposes that a younger athlete at a serious competitive level, who is past puberty, following a well balanced, adequate diet, with parental approval and supervision by qualified professionals, may consider taking creatine to enhance training and performance.
In summary, creatine supplementation, when combined with intensive exercise and the proper loading and maintenance protocol, particularly heavy resistance training, can help enhance both maximal and endurance strength, as well as hypertrophy. Additionally, there is some research to support enhanced performance in anaerobic, high intensity exercise, as well as aid in the reduction of muscle damage and oxidative stress following exercise.
Please see the following sources used for more detailed information:
Submitted by Brianne Colette, B. Sc, Nutritionist
Combatting dehydration should be an important component to a training program and/or meal plan for athletes for multiple reasons. Dehydration has been shown to negatively affect physical performance and cognitive functioning which are crucial to performing your best! As well, dehydration can lead to uncomfortable headaches, dry mouth, and symptoms of fatigue, which can also further affect athletic performance, training and general day to day activities.
One of the most important questions about dehydration is: How do check if I’m dehydrated? A good place to start is to self-monitor how you’re feeling. If you feeling thirsty or sluggish you may already be dehydrated!! A very helpful trick is to check your urine.
Here is a urine chart to see where you’re at with hydration:
Great! Now you’re ready to drink more water! But - Is there such a thing as over-hydration? Yes, this is definitely something to consider. Training and competing while properly hydrated can be beneficial at performing at your best but over-hydrating, for example by drinking too many fluids, can also be detrimental. Running to the washroom often and feeling too full are real problems that occur with over-hydration. This is why keeping track of your fluid intake before and during an event can help determine the amount of hydration needed instead of overcompensating and drinking too much! The important take-away message here is to be as hydrated as possible to prevent any negative effects on performance while also preventing overhydrating and uncomfortable levels of fluids.
The Power of Chocolate Milk
Submitted By Alyssa Neill, B.Sc, Nutritionist
Chocolate milk isn't just a delicious, sugary drink for kids anymore. It is rapidly becoming a go to choice for athletes of all levels to help aid in the recovery process. It is important to have a snack within 15-30 minutes to replenish nutrients your body needs. Proper recovery allows your muscles to recover and repair faster, and helps maintain a healthy immune system.
There are three “R’s” when it comes to effective recovery:
Why choose chocolate milk after a workout?
Chocolate milk is the ideal beverage for any athlete who is looking to build lean muscle, speed up recovery, and rehydrate effectively. It contains the same amount of protein, vitamins, and minerals as white milk, however, chocolate milk has almost double the amount of carbohydrates as white milk, which means more energy for your body to use. For example, 500ml of chocolate milk gives you up to 55 grams of carbohydrates, 16 grams of quality protein, and essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium, potassium, and vitamin D.
So how does chocolate milk stack up?
Below is a chart showing how different drinks compare in what they provide:
Chocolate milk provides you with all the quality nutrients you need for a quick and effective recovery after a workout or event. Other drinks will be able to give some of what you need, but they would also require additional snacks to match what chocolate milk can provide. Fun fact: It contains the golden ratio of 4:1 (4 grams carbohydrates to 1 gram protein), which is the best ratio to help replenish glycogen stores in muscle quickly!
Meal Prep for Busy Athletes
Submitted by Tenille Sonnichsen, RD
Does your busy schedule interfere with eating healthy balanced meals? Nutrition plays such a key role in optimal sport performance that we need to make sure we are fueling our body properly. A busy schedule, between training, competitions, travel, work, attending school, running errands, et cetera can result in grabbing convenience foods and eating out more often if we don’t plan and prep meals and snacks in advance.
Planning and preparing some meals and snack foods once or twice a week can significantly improve our ability to eat healthy meals made at home, which can have a beneficial effect on our sport performance!
Introducing meal planning and prep!
Spending some time one day a week getting groceries, washing, chopping, batch cooking and portioning into smaller containers will allow athletes to have healthy food during the busiest times of the week, and allow you to save money and meal prep time during the week! This meal planning and prep is key for optimizing nutrition through the week!
A bit of meal planning and preparation can help fuel the body for optimal sport performance. So choose your meal planning time and get started!
Submitted by Janelle Vincent, RD, IOC Dipl Sports Nutr, CSSD
My name is Janelle Vincent, and I have Celiac Disease. I never thought I would say those words. Actually, after finishing my university degree, I vowed to never hear the words Celiac Disease ever again...
Let’s rewind back to January 2011, when it all started. I am one of those with Celiac Disease (CD) who had never experienced symptoms in the past, apart from re-occurring low iron. One night, I woke up with excruciating lower abdominal pain, ten minutes later, it was gone. The next night, same thing, and the next and the next. The pain would come on exactly six hours after my supper meal and last ten minutes.
I was convinced that there was something wrong with my digestive system and after ten days of pain, made an appointment with my doctor. She palpated my stomach, sent a gastroenterology referral and told me to increase my fibre intake. I bought wheat bran.
To my surprise, the stomach noises started following meals, was extremely bloated, and had constant stomach pain. My first thought was: Janelle, you’re a Dietitian, you should have known that when increasing fibre, you need to increase your fluid intake. And so off I went with a new goal of drinking more fluids. The symptoms continued.
Three months later (April 2011), I met with the specialist. He asked a few questions and sent me off for blood work. His nurse called a month later, mentioning that I was Vitamin D deficient.
My first follow-up with the specialist came three months following the initial appointment (July 2011), where I was told that I also tested positive for...Celiac Disease. What??? I was then told to continue eating gluten until the biopsy was completed.
Oct 2011 could not come any sooner. I think the worse part of my journey was knowing I had the CD, but had to continue suffering. Following the biopsy (which I insisted on to ensure that there wasn’t any other damage), I called the specialist, got the go-ahead to change my diet, and in Jan 2012, started to eating gluten free (GF).
The final diagnosis came in March 2012 when I reviewed the biopsy with the specialist. Since then, I have been GF. I remember my first yearly follow-up where the specialist asked if I had cheated from my GF diet. I looked at him and replied NO! His response was, that’s right, you’re a Dietitian, you wouldn’t cheat. But that’s the thing, Dietitian or not, knowing how I physically feel when being “glutened” (yes, that’s a word), I have no desire to eat foods containing gluten. These aren’t seen as forbidden foods, just foods that I have zero interest in.
I regularly have people tell me: you have CD, ohhhh that sucks. The way I see it, there are two ways to look at this diagnosis, feel angry and sorry for myself, or embrace it. I’m a Dietitian, I have a food disease, things could be worse. I have no medications to take, no injections, nothing; all I have to do is slightly modify my food choices. And, with everything that is now available, there is really no product that I haven’t been able to find.
There definitely are still moments of anxiety, mostly during travelling, when eating at a restaurant (will they understand this isn’t a ‘diet’ but a “must”), and when being invited to dine at others’ homes (do they know about cross-contamination and hidden sources of gluten). My type A personality has shinned in these situations and my extreme planning skills have come in handy, as I always leave the house with snacks and/or food in my bag.
This disease has helped me better appreciate what those with severe allergies live with, and also better work with and understand the clients that I see in my daily work. In the end, if getting CD is the worse that happens, then I will be able to live happily ever (gluten free) after!
Submitted by Jorie Janzen, RD, IOC Dipl Sports Nutr, CSSD
In Canada dietitians working in sport may be employed by the Canadian Sport Institute Network, sport medicine clinics, professional sport (NHL, CFL), amateur sport organizations, and many work in private practice specializing in sport dietetics.
Required professional affiliations would be the provincial college/regulatory body for each province. Other affiliations are many which may include Dietitians of Canada’s Sport Nutrition Network (DCSNN), provincial sport medicine and science councils, provincial sport nutrition networks (e.g. Manitoba Sport Nutrition Network Inc.), PINES, CPSDA, SDA and many others.
For those few dietitians working within the CSI-Network, there are annual events in which network meetings are hosted. SPIN Summit (Sport INovation summit) and NSSMAC (National Sport Science and Medicine Advisory Council) is Canada’s symposium for professional development and networking in areas of applied sport science, sports medicine, and innovation. Because there are so few full time and or permanent positions in Canada, many of the dietitians working in sport at some capacity have formed smaller networking groups within their province to facilitate sharing of knowledge and experiences.
Currently in Canada there is no formal certification to be able to wear the title of sports nutritionist/sports dietitian. However, there are standards that have been assumed in the hiring of dietitians within the Canadian Sport Institute Network (CSI-Network) along with the DCSNN.
Once becoming a registered dietitian with the goal of working within the CSI-Network, dietitians are preferred to have a minimum of 2 years experience as a registered dietitian; with most facilities aiming to hire those who have also continued their education either by obtaining a Master’s degree/PhD in a related field and or obtaining the IOC Diploma in Sports Nutrition.
The CSI-Network encompasses 4 institutes and 3 centres (designation is based on number of specific criteria) and has recently collaborated with B2Ten and its Applied Performance Sport Nutrition Mentorship program. This 2-year mentorship program will allow dietitians and nutritionists to be mentored by world-class sports nutritionists. In addition to the mentorship program, the DCSNN has worked closely with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to include what will likely lead to best practice in sports nutrition designation by incorporating the Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) credential. The DCSNN has for several years now worked with SDA in adapting and delivering an intensive 4-day course that is held in Canada every 2 years. ISAK courses have often been attached to the 4-day intensive course, but do occur independent of the course several times throughout a year.
Altogether, the developing networking groups, mentorships, credentials and certifications will allow Canada’s dietitians working in sport to contribute to and further develop leading-edge sport nutrition services that will enhance the profession and therefore the quality of services and skills required to work in high performance sport.
Snacks + Planning
Submitted by Renée Turenne Raban, RD
Planning healthy snacks and bringing them with you is a great way to stay energized for all daily activities, especially in sport. Snacks can also ensure that you get the most from a workout and recover optimally. Unplanned snacks can contribute to quite a few additional calories (some say as much as 40%). Often times these unplanned snacks are high in calories, fat and salt but provide very little in terms of nutrition. Snacking helps tide us over to the next meal preventing us from getting so hungry we end up eating making poor food choices. Healthy snacks don’t have to be complicated or require tons of prep but they do require some planning and thought. Whenever you go grocery shopping, make a list of snack ideas for the week and buy what you’ll need to make it happen. I know I like to keep it simple. Vegetables and fruit are always a safe bet. Apples, bananas, oranges are staple fruits that keep for a long time unrefrigerated and are easy to “grab and go”. Baby carrots & snap peas are great “grab and go” vegetable options. Adding protein to those veggies or fruit will be more satisfying and keep you feeling fuller longer. Some easy protein-rich options include a handful of nuts (almonds, cashews or walnuts to name a few), hummus, cottage cheese, a boiled egg, edamame beans, roasted chickpeas, hard cheese. Healthy grains are also a way to add satiation. A wrap with banana and peanut butter is super easy and delicious! Air-popped popcorn, quinoa, granola in yogurt, homemade granola bars, energy bites or muffins are a few other examples of healthy grain options. What are you bringing for snack today?
Protein Powder & Spiking
Submitted by Hao-Yi Sim, Human nutritional Sciences Student
Protein powder is one of the most common and popular supplements among the fitness population, ranging from gym rats to elite competitors. However, the quality of the protein powder you are purchasing may not be as pure as listed on the label.
There is a phenomena known as “protein spiking” in the industry. For background information, protein in foods is commonly measured with the Kjeldahl method, where a food sample is “digested” by a strong acid. Protein is composed of nitrogenous compounds, so when the food is digested with this acid, it releases a nitrogen gas that can be used to estimate the amount of protein in the food.
The problem is while it measures the nitrogen count of a food sample, it doesn't measure the exact nitrogen compounds themselves. This means that the protein count on a food item may not reflect the “quality” of amino acids you may be getting.
Taurine for example is a sulfuric amino acid that does not significantly contribute to muscular repair and development, but would contribute to nitrogen counts under Kjeldahl methods.
This can become misleading, when companies advertise that their product will give you 30g of the highest quality protein, when in reality you could be paying for cheap, filler amino acids and other nitrogenous compounds. Several 3rd party tests with lawsuits attached allege that several companies “fill the tubs with far cheaper free form amino acids”, misrepresenting company claims and charging customers more money than what they are paying for (Forbes, 2015).
LabDoor has a public database for those who are curious about the quality of protein powder they are interested in purchasing. Labdoor is an independent 3rd party lab testing organization, who buys and tests various health and fitness products, like protein powder, in FDA-registered analytical laboratories. For protein powder, they use a method different from the Kjeldahl method, and evaluate the protein content based on the amino acids, not the overall nitrogen count.
Visit LabDoor: https://labdoor.com/about
Now, this doesn't mean one shouldn't purchase protein powder, rather, it just means one has to be a little critical of whatever supplement they are thinking of purchasing, be it a new vitamin, or a cool looking protein powder at your local store. And of course, at the end of the day, protein powder is just a supplement, and one should always make sure that they’re getting all the nutrients they can from proper, whole foods!
See the full article here:
Recipe for a Great Weekend!
Submitted by Jennie Cowan, RD, IOC DIPL SPORTS NUTR
The Dietitians of Canada Conference host city was Winnipeg this past June. I was able to attend and was inspired by connecting with other RDs across Canada. Some general sport nutrition goals are longer sustained energy and adequate protein for recovery.
This past weekend I was able to try out new recipes and put the slow burning carbs with higher protein lentils to test.
Taking the time to try new ingredients and test out my endurance- a recipe for a great weekend!
Submitted by Tenille Sonnichsen, RD
It’s a New Year! 2016 is a great time to continue pushing towards optimal sport performance
through training and nutrition!
Start off the New Year with these tips:
your training, use the contact form to get in touch with one of MSNN’s sport dietitians!
Manitoba Sport Nutrition Network