R. M. Hackman, S.Watterson

Department of Nutrition, University of California at Davis, Davis,
Houston Oilers Professional Football team, Houston,


Nutrition supplements have been reported to improve performance in word class and professional sportsmen. Much of the original research on sports nutrition was conducted in Moscow over the past 30 years. New advances in our understanding of sport nutrition suggest that modifications to previous Russian formulations might provide additional benefits beyond formulas used in the past. This is best illustrated for creatine supplementation.

The value of creatine supplementation is well-known to Russian sports scientists, but still relatively new to American, European and Asian scientists and coaches. Indeed, creatine supplementation was used at a highest levels of sport training for former Soviet Olympic teams, and was a closely guarded "sports secret" in Moscow. As Western scientists are just beginning to understand the metabolic dynamics of creatine supplementation, researches in Moscow may have already taken the next step.

An overload of creatine may be hazardous to sportsmen, ultimately causing dehydration, muscle cramping, fatigue cardiac arithmias and possibly sudden death. This phenomenon is best documented in wrestlers. Safer formulations are needed, but these new formulations must have the power to deliver strong benefits to the athlete in order for the practice of overdosing on straight creatine is abandoned.

It is now widely recognized that straight creatine supplementation will increase muscle mass and improve anaerobic performance. New advances in research suggest that better and safer results might be achieved when lower doses ofcreatine and combined with selected amino acids and amino acid metabolites.

The purpose of this study was to test a unique formulation ofcreatine with amino acids and supporting factors on muscle mass and performance. The aim of the study was to find a safer, equally effective supplement to use in place of straight creatine supplementation.


Twelve male athletes were recruited for an eight week study. Six were given the test supplement (Group 1), and six were given an inert placebo (Group 2). At the start of the study, maximum strenght was determined for various muscle groups, and a four-week training schedule was established based upon a progressively increasing percentage of the maximum strength. At the start of week 5, maximum strength for various muscle groups was tested again, and a new four-week training cycle established. Training sessions were held five times per week for 70 minutes per session during the entire eight week program.

Both athlets and coaches were blinded to the experimental procedure, so none knew which athletes were getting the test supplement and which ones received the placebo.

Athlets consumed the formula once daily, 60 minutes before their workout. The formula tested contained the following ingredients: creatine monohydrate, 1500 mg; L-ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate, 500 mg; ketoisocaproate, 200 mg; L-Arginine, 500 mg; L-Leucine, 100 mg; L-Isoleucine, 70 mg; L-Glycine, 200 mg4 L-Valine, 100 mg. Subjects consumed this mixture once daily, in the morning, 30 minutes prior to breakfast.

Pre- and post-test measures were taken for body weight, muscle mass and stranght as determined by maximum weight lifted for the bench press, clean and squat.


The mean body weight for Group I (+supplement) was 83.1 kg. at the start of the study, and 85,7 kg at the start of the study, and 76,8 kg at the and (p<0,05). Mean body weight for Group 2 (placebo) was 83,2 kg at the start, and 83.3 kg. at the end (no significant changes).

The mean muscle mass for Group 1 was 74,9 kg at the start of the study, and 76,8 kg at the end (p<.05). The mean muscle mass for Group 2 was 74.7 kg. at the start of the study, and 75.0 at the end (no significant changes).

Mean changes in bench press, clean and squat were recorded as absolute changes (kg.), as well as calculated as the percentage increase relative to pre-test values. Results are shown below:

Group I (+supplement)

Pre(kg) Post(kg) Change(kg) Change(%)
Squat 116.0 135.1 19.1 16.4%
Bench 88.1 96.8 8.7 9.9%
Clean 72.7 80.2 7.5 10.3%

Group 2 (placebo)

Squat 137.7 141.7 4.0 2.9%
Bench 95.9 96.8 0.9 2.7%
Clean 93.6 95.4 1.8 2.0%

Statistical analysis using linear modeling showed significant differences (p<0,5) for all three strength measures between the two groups. When pre- to post-test differences were assessed, significant (p<.05) differences were found for each of the three strength measures for Group 1, whereas no significant differences were found for Group 2.


Nutrition supplements have been a vital part of elite sports training in Russia for many years. Supplementation by athletes in many countries is increasing at all levels of performance, and systematic research is need to determine optimal use protocols. Recent research suggests that many nutrients may be beneficial for both muscle and mental performance, including creatine (5), the branched chain amino acids: leucine (6), isoleucine, and valine, and the amino acid arginine. Addition of the other naturally-occuring compounds may provide fbrther benefit to sports performance. The most promising studies suggest that omithine (10) and ketoisocaproate (II) are beneficial.

The data above suggests the importance of properly formulated supplements taken during training. It appears possible that many people engaged in moderate to intensive exercise may benefit from high-quality nutritional supplementation.

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Hackman, R.M. Effects of a mixture of creatine, amino acids and accessory factors on muscle mass and stamina among professional athlets / Hackman R.M., Watterson S. // Человек в мире спорта: Новые идеи, технологии, перспективы : Тез. докл. Междунар. конгр. - М., 1998. - Т. 1. - С. 182-183.