Validation of Measurements of Bone Density and the Roles of Creatine and Exercise in Musculoskeletal Health in Women

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Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

Original languageEnglish
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Award date2016
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Abstract

Osteoporosis is an increasing concern in today’s ageing population. As individuals age, decreasing bone density, muscle mass, and muscle function contribute to low levels of independence, mobility, and quality of life. Therefore, there is an increasing need for interventions to counteract the degradation of bone and muscle. The present thesis sets out to investigate the effects of creatine supplementation, and the augmentation of exercise by creatine supplementation, on musculoskeletal health in adult women.
The studies in the present thesis begin in section 1 by establishing the reliability of the measurement techniques used, and the validity of the measurements of bone density and body composition during periods of oral supplementation with creatine monohydrate. Experimental studies in section 2 then begin by investigating the baseline relationship between physical activity, creatine intake, and musculoskeletal health through a cohort study. Finally, intervention studies investigate the long-term effects of creatine supplementation on musculoskeletal health, and the effects of 12 weeks’ high-intensity exercise augmented by creatine supplementation on musculoskeletal health.
The findings of the present thesis demonstrate a positive relationship between muscle mass and bone density, and between muscle strength and bone density, in adult women. There does not appear to be a significant effect of creatine supplementation on bone density, although there is a significant increase in muscle strength following creatine supplementation. There is no significant effect of exercise on BMD over 12 weeks’ intervention, but there is a significant positive effect of exercise on muscle strength, and on body composition, as seen in increased fat-free mass and decreased fat mass. The effects of exercise on musculoskeletal health were not augmented through creatine supplementation.
In conclusion, there was no significant effect of creatine supplementation on any markers of musculoskeletal health apart from muscle strength. Exercise has a significant beneficial effect on musculoskeletal health, but these effects are not augmented by creatine supplementation in this population. Future research should investigate the effects of higher creatine supplement doses, and longer exercise durations. Future studies should also focus on improving overall musculoskeletal health through improved muscle mass and strength, and the relationship between bone and muscle health, as well as on the possible preferential uptake of creatine into muscle rather than bone tissue.