Purpose: Determine the short-term effects of creatine supplementation on performance of military tasks, thermoregulation, and health risks.
Methods: Male military personnel were randomly assigned to a creatine (CR; N = 8) or a placebo (CON; N = 8) supplementation group. Testing was conducted at baseline, after a 6-day load phase (20 g/d), and after 4 weeks of taking 6 g/d. Measurements included body composition, liver/kidney function tests, core body temperatures during a 10-mile march and 5-mile run, and performance on physical tasks.
Results: Serum and urine creatine increased significantly in the CR group. Body mass and number of pull-ups performed increased significantly in the CR group but not the CON group by week 4. No significant differences between the CR and CON groups were found for other performance measures, body composition, core body temperature, or other biochemical measures.
Conclusion: Creatine supplementation increased body mass and pull-up performance but did not cause acute health problems. Creatine did not increase core temperature compared with placebo under the environmental conditions of the study, and it is unlikely that creatine will enhance the overall readiness or performance of soldiers.