Train­ing Nu­tri­tion and Supps

Muscle & Performance - - Contents - BY JOE WUEBBEN | SUP­PLE­MENTS BY DWAYNE JACK­SON, PHD

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.


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.

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