Creatine supplements are often used by body builders, and there's some evidence they help increase muscle mass. Could these supplements help maintain muscle in older people? One new study indicates the answer is yes. Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan studied 33 men aged 60 to 84 who had similar lifestyles and muscle tone. All the men began the same weight training program. Half were given creatine and half were given placebos. Creatine is produced by the body and contributes to muscle growth, but our natural levels decline as we get older.
At the end of the 12-week study, the elderly men who exercised and took creatine had more leg strength, endurance, power, and lean tissue mass than the men who just exercised. The study did not look at how long the benefits lasted or whether people would need to keep taking creatine supplements indefinitely.
The news is promising for all of us as we age. Most of us, of course, have no desire to be geriatric body builders. But increased muscle mass and strength would help us maintain our independence well into old age.