We are very pleased to have this edition of Albion’s Research Notes written for us by Dr. Lorrie Brilla, Professor, Western Washington University, Center for Fitness Evaluation and Adult Fitness Program, Bellingham, Washington.
The use of creatine as a sport supplement gained widespread popularity in the early 1990s. The Exercise Physiology Laboratory at Western Washington University entered into agreement with Albion Laboratories to conduct the three research studies, one each in 2001, 2006, and 2009 on the Creatine MagnaPower® (magnesium creatine chelate) supplement. The 2001 and 2006 projects were 2 week supplementation regimens and the 2009 project was 4 weeks of supplementation. A series of tests were conducted pre and post of supplementation, at a level of 5 g creatine and 800 mg magnesium per day, with either the chelate or stacked forms; serial tests were conducted every 2nd day in the 2006 project to attempt to identify a breakpoint when creatine effects might be demonstrated. In 2009, the stacked treatment was replaced with alkaline creatine. A placebo group was included in each study for comparison. All subjects completed dietary and physical activity records to substantiate that there were no changes so that any differences would be attributed to the treatments.
Minerals and trace minerals are all important for the health of all living things. The body can not make its own minerals. They must be ingested one way or another. Each mineral has a variety of functions in the human body. Some like magnesium have several hundred functions via its roles in so many different enzyme systems. Others, like molybdenum are more limited in their number of functions. Often when the various minerals are discussed, however, only the most obvious functions for the mineral being discussed are talked about. Zinc and the immune system, or selenium and its antioxidant impact are examples of this point. However, as mentioned most minerals have multiple functions, and often a mineral has functional effects that although not commonly talked about, are very important to maintenance of a healthy body.
Research concerning the relationship between sports, exercise, and mineral nutrition has been ongoing for a few decades. An idea that is widely held is that strenuous exercise can increase the need for several minerals, which has lead to a perception that mineral supplements may be advantageous for people who engage in strenuous exercise or physically demanding sports. The rationale for the idea that exercise can increase the demand for certain minerals is due to the findings that heavy exercise can lead to an increased rate of mineral loss via urine and sweat, while others have found that exercise increases the metabolic demand for certain minerals. The physical danger for mineral deficiency is further compounded by a couple of other findings.
The interest in the relationship between sports, exercise and mineral nutrition has been the subject of countless research studies, books, and consumer products for many years. Exercise can lead to an increased need for certain minerals in a couple of basic ways. Research has demonstrated that exercise can increase the rate of mineral loss via sweat and urine. In addition, exercise can increase the metabolic demand for certain minerals. The potential health hazard that can come from exercise induced mineral loss is further enhanced by the public’s record for not consuming adequate amounts of many essential minerals. Additional findings have shown that many athletes, and female athletes, in particular, consume diets that have been found to be woefully inadequate for certain key minerals. The combination of strenuous exercise and compromised mineral status ultimately leads to low endurance capacity, depressed immune function, and the development of a variety of disease conditions. Minerals, such as zinc, magnesium, copper, and iron are the minerals most often impacted in the course of exercise, with, as it turns magnesium and zinc being the most prominent. Calcium and chromium have been seen to be affected by exercise, but not to the degree as seen with the others mentioned.
In this issue, we will take a brief look into some items of interest related to findings that can be helpful as we grow older, such as Intestinal Hyperpermeability or leaky gut syndrome (LGS).
There are a wide variety of changes associated with aging. Most of them are quite gradual, and take place at a very slow, but regular rate. Some of them can go unnoticed for a while, but they are happening, as sure as the days are passing. Some changes may be more obvious than others. It is often pointed out that after the age of 20, we start to have a drop off in basal metabolic rate (BMR), and eventually, after age 45 a decline in muscle mass (at a rate of 1% per year) and strength will take place. Other neuromuscular changes will take place, as well, including a decline in cognitive function later on. What can be done to fight against or slow these age related changes? Although, so far, nothing has been found to completely stop the onslaught of age related physical decline, there have been found things that we can do to allow ourselves to show the signs of age at a slower rate, which involve changes in lifestyle, such as exercise and dietary changes.