Objective: The effect of creatine supplementation upon plasma levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines: Interleukin (IL) 1 beta and IL-6, Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha (TNFalpha), and Interferon alpha (INF alpha) and Prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)) after a half-ironman competition were investigated.
Methods: Eleven triathletes, each with at least three years experience of participation in this sport were randomly divided between the control and experimental groups. During 5 days prior to competition, the control group (n = 6) was supplemented with carbohydrate (20 g x d(-1)) whereas the experimental group (n = 5) received creatine (20 g x d(-1)) in a double-blind trial. Blood samples were collected 48 h before and 24 and 48 h after competition and were used for the measurement of cytokines and PGE(2).
Results: Forty-eight hours prior to competition there was no difference between groups in the plasma concentrations (pg x ml(-1), mean +/- SEM) of IL-6 (7.08 +/- 0.63), TNFalpha (76.50 +/- 5.60), INF alpha (18.32 +/- 1.20), IL-1 beta (23.42 +/- 5.52), and PGE(2) (39.71 +/- 3.8). Twenty-four and 48 h after competition plasma levels of TNFalpha, INF alpha, IL-1 beta and PGE(2) were significantly increased (P < 0.05) in both groups. However, the increases in these were markedly reduced following creatine supplementation. An increase in plasma IL-6 was observed only after 24 h and, in this case, there was no difference between the two groups.
Conclusion: Creatine supplementation before a long distance triathlon competition may reduce the inflammatory response induced by this form of strenuous of exercise.