Especially women, but men too, start to lose a little bone mass each year after the age of forty. The pace at which bone breaks down increases with age. Strength training can slow the process down. And using creatine as well can help even more, sports scientists at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada discovered.
The researchers did an experiment with two groups of eighteen post-menopausal women. Their average age was 57.
The women trained three times a week in a gym, training their biggest muscle groups by doing basic exercises like hack squats, hamstrings curls, back extensions, bench press, lat pull-downs and shoulder press. The women did 3 sets of 10 reps for each exercise, with a maximal load of 80 percent of the weight with which they could just manage 1 rep.
One group were given creatine, in a dose of 0.1 g per kg bodyweight per day. The other group was given a placebo.
Before the experiment started and after the women had trained for a year, the researchers did scans to measure the subjects’ bone density.
The decrease in bone mass in the neck of the femur of the women in the creatine group almost came to a halt. In the women who had not taken creatine the bone breakdown continued. This is a relevant finding because people with osteoporosis often break the femoral neck when they injure their hip. Healing is often slow or doesn’t take place.
The effect of bone decay in the femoral neck was the only statistically significant effect on the skeleton that the Canadians found. That’s disappointing, as were other effects that the researchers recorded. The increase in muscle strength was modest in all women, and women in both groups lost lean body mass.
Training three times a week for a year and lean body mass lost? The women can’t have been training very hard.
It might just be the case that the positive effect of strength training on bone mass –with or without creatine – is greater than this study suggests.
Effects of creatine and resistance training on bone health in postmenopausal women.
Our primary purpose was to determine the effect of 12 months of creatine (Cr) supplementation during a supervised resistance training program on properties of bone in postmenopausal women.
Participants were randomized (double blind) to two groups: resistance training (3d·wk) and Cr supplementation (0.1g[BULLET OPERATOR]kg·d) or resistance training and placebo (Pl). Our primary outcome measures were lumbar spine and femoral neck bone mineral density (BMD). Secondary outcome measures were total hip, and whole-body BMD, bone geometric properties at the hip, speed of sound at the distal radius and tibia, whole-body lean tissue mass, muscle thickness, and bench press and hack squat strength. Forty-seven women (57 SD 6y; n=23 Cr; n=24 Pl) were randomized with 33 analyzed after 12 months (n=15 Cr; n=18 Pl).
Cr attenuated the rate of femoral neck BMD loss (-1.2%; absolute change [95% Confidence Interval] = -0.01 [-0.025, 0.005] g/cm) compared to Pl (-3.9%; -0.03 [-0.044, -0.017] g/cm, p<0.05) and also increased femoral shaft subperiosteal width, a predictor of bone bending strength (Cr: +0.04 [-0.09, 0.16] cm); Pl (-0.12 [-0.23, -0.01] cm; p<0.05). Cr increased relative bench press strength more than Pl (64% vs. 34%; p<0.05). There were no differences between groups for other outcome measures. There were no differences between groups for reports of serum liver enzyme abnormalities, and creatinine clearance was normal for Cr participants throughout the intervention.
Twelve months of creatine supplementation during a resistance training program preserves femoral neck BMD and increases femoral shaft superiosteal width, a predictor of bone bending strength, in postmenopausal women.
PMID: 25386713 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]