WICHITA, Kan.--Older adults who supplement with creatine during a strength training program may enhance their strength and lean mass gains, according to a new study (J Sports Sci Med, 5, 1:60-9, 2006). In a study coordinated at the Center for Physical Activity and Aging at Wichita State University, researchers gave 44 adults aged 55 to 84 years either creatine only (Cr), creatine plus a botanical combination extract of ginseng and astragalus (CrBE), or placebo during a 12-week strength-training program. The program included bench press, lat pull down, biceps curl, leg press, knee extension and knee flexion for three sets of eight to 12 reps three days per week. Rep max, body composition, blood lipids and mood states were evaluated before and after the intervention.
At the end of the study period, researchers found training improved strength and lean mass in all groups, with those participants in the Cr and CrBE groups showing greater gains than the placebo group; there were no differences between the two creatine groups on strength and lean mass increases. CrBE participants also had improved blood lipids and energy, lost significantly more body fat and gained more bench press strength than the Cr or placebo groups. The researchers concluded creatine appears to enhance strength and lean mass gains, with ginseng and astragalus adding additional health and psychological benefits.