Can Russian Tarragon boost the effectiveness of creatine supplementation?

The market for creatine supplements is vast and for good reason. Since its introduction in the 1990’s, creatine has literally thousands of studies supporting its effectiveness for athletes. Everything from body composition improvements, to strength and power gains and a lot else besides has been supported via a number of studies.

The vast majority of the research done on creatine has been using creatine monohydrate which remains the best selling and most widely used form of creatine. A number of other supplements have been released purporting to improve on the effectiveness of creatine monohydrate. These include some which are nowadays relatively unpopular such as creatine ethyl ester as well as some forms which are highly regarded such as magnesium creatine chelate and creatine orotate.

A recent introduction into the field has been the launch of Athletic Edge Nutrition’s creatine supplement, Creatine RT, which is a combination of creatine monohydrate plus Russian tarragon extract. Unlike regular creatine monohydrate supplements this combination promises that the creatine monohydrate will be effectively absorbed by the body without the need for high GI carbs which can lead to abdominal discomfort in many creatine monohydrate users. As Russian Tarragon was previously studied and shown to exert anti-hyperglycemic effects meaning it helps to lower blood sugar, the study could show whether this effect could effectively lower plasma creatine concentrations.

A recent study looked into whether this combination could have any benefit for users. Researchers led by Jäger (1) examined the effect of Russian Tarragon on plasma creatine levels when co-ingested with creatine monohydrate.

The study group of 11 male subjects were provided a dose of 60mg/kg of creatine monohydrate which was preceded 15 minutes earlier by ingestion of 1g of standardised extract of Russian Tarragon extract. Plasma creatine concentrations were then measured for over two hours after ingestion of the supplements.

Results

Russian Tarragon resulted in a significant reduction in plasma creatine levels at 60,90 and 120 mins in comparison to placebo (fig.1). Th researchers declared the effects as being comparable to that of ingesting creatine monohydrate with protein and glucose (a high GI carbohydrate).

Fig.1 Plasma creatine concentrations. Mean (SD) plasma creatine concentration (micromo/L) following administration of 60 mg/kg bwt creatine monohydrate, preceded 15 minutes earlier by ingestion of 2 × 500 mg capsules of a standardized extract of Russian Tarragon (A) or placebo (B). The inset shows the mean differences (± SD) between treatments in the change from baseline at each time point.

Conclusion

Russian Tarragon extract is shown to lower plasma creatine levels implying greater skeletal muscle uptake of creatine which would lead to greater performance. Of significance, this study showed it can be achieved without the ingestion of extraneous carbohydrate.

References
The effect of Russian Tarragon (artemisia dracunculus L.) on the plasma creatine concentration with creatine monohydrate administration. Ralf Jäger*, Iain P Kendrick, Martin Purpura, Roger C Harris, David M Ribnicky and Ivo Pischel. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2008, 5(Suppl 1):P4 doi:10.1186/1550-2783-5-S1-P4

© 2012, Reggie Johal. All rights reserved.

About Reggie Johal

Reggie Johal is a former Great Britain American Football player and the founder of Predator Nutrition. He has a strong background in strength and fitness coaching with articles published in Flex and other leading online and print magazines.

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