Is creatine the next potential addition to MREs?

### Congress Considers Adding Creatine to Military Ration Packs

A supplement long used in fitness circles to beef up muscles, creatine, may soon be included in Meal, Ready to Eat (MRE) rations for military personnel. The proposal, included in the fiscal year 2025 national defense policy bill, has passed the House and awaits final approval from the House and Senate before being added to the final defense bill.

### Potential Benefits of Creatine in MREs

The legislation encourages the Department of Defense to consider adding creatine to MREs, citing a broad body of clinical research that shows creatine can enhance muscle growth, physical performance, strength training, post-exercise recovery, and injury prevention. While the measure lacks specifics, proponents argue that incorporating creatine into military rations could provide significant benefits to troops.

### Use of Creatine as a Fitness Supplement

The use of creatine as a fitness supplement has gained popularity in recent years, with fitness influencers on social media frequently endorsing various forms of creatine for muscle building and recovery. Studies conducted on active duty personnel a decade ago found that creatine was commonly used by as many as one in three troops in special operations roles but was less prevalent among the wider military population.

### Existing Fitness Supplements in the Military

In addition to creatine, the military offers other fitness supplements to its troops, such as Performance Readiness Bars fortified with calcium and vitamin D. Protein powders, energy drinks, and occasionally creatine are also available for purchase at base exchanges. The Department of Defense includes creatine in its dietary supplement resource, known as “Operation Supplement Safety.”

### Considerations and Expert Opinions

University of Nevada-Las Vegas professor Brian Schilling believes that incorporating creatine into MREs could help maintain muscle mass in challenging environments. However, he notes that the benefits may be more significant for consistent creatine users than for non-users. The Army recommends that soldiers consult registered dietitians for personalized nutritional guidance.

### Scientific Insights on Creatine Use

According to the Department of Defense, the physical benefits of creatine supplementation can vary among individuals based on factors like diet. While creatine is known to improve strength, power, sprint performance, and muscle mass in athletes engaging in resistance training, its effects on endurance performance are limited. Studies on military personnel have shown mixed results regarding the impact of creatine on physical performance, with the supplement being more beneficial for strength training than endurance activities.

### Marketing and Variations of Creatine

Schilling highlights the marketing tactics in the supplement industry surrounding creatine variations, noting that claims of reduced bloating may not be entirely accurate. He emphasizes the importance of hydration in the field and compares the water retention effects of creatine to carbohydrate loading.

By considering the potential benefits and limitations of incorporating creatine into military rations, lawmakers and military officials aim to enhance the physical performance and well-being of service members in various operational environments.

Original Story at – 2024-07-10 19:02:24

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