Training Nutrition and Supps
You may or may not know, but creatine has a kid brother: glycocyamine, aka guanidinoacetic acid (GAA). And while GAA still has to prove itself in the lab as well as in the gym, it appears to be a promising new performance-enhancing product. In the body, GAA is produced by the kidneys and pancreas and is a natural precursor to creatine production in the liver. Excitement for GAA as a new fitness supplement comes from the fact that it’s essential for energy production in skeletal muscle, has high oral bioavailability and can significantly boost the body’s creatine production. In 2013, a study published in the International Journal of Medical Sciences confirmed the creatine-bolstering effect of GAA, with authors reporting up to a 50 percent increase in fasting serum creatine after six weeks of supplementation. Although research on GAA in unhealthy populations dates back to the 1950s, up until recently there have been no studies investigating its performance-enhancing effects in healthy humans.
A recent study published in the Journal of Investigative Medicine provides some of the newest data supporting the use of GAA as an ergogenic aid. Collaborating researchers from Serbia and the U.S. reported that
❱❱six weeks of GAA supplementation (up to 4.8 grams per day) without a formally prescribed exer-
Although the current study showed that taking DAA for six weeks was safe and didn’t negatively affect liver health, before jumping on the bandwagon you must consider that there are health warnings associated with long-term GAA supplementation taken on its own. DAA causes increases in the body’s homocysteine levels, which over time can promote cardiovascular disease. lne way to safely avoid elevations in homocysteine is to take betaine (aka trimethylglycinef with DAA in a 4:1 betaineTO-GAA ratio.
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Most notable were increases in grip strength and maximum number of repetitions performed during the bench press (to failure). Interestingly, there were no differences in lower-body strength with GAA supplementation versus placebo.
ACTION POINT: This latest study provides novel data illustrating that supplementing with GAA can improve upper-body strength and endurance, perhaps even without training. It will be interesting to see how improvements in strength develop when GAA is taken in combination with a structured resistance-training program. At present GAA is not commonly available, but with this kind of research it may not be long before it is. Stay tuned as more research comes out.