Sports Letters: Banned aid

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The Independent Online
Banned aid

Sir: Mr Graham Williams makes two comments in his letter (16 September) that concern me. Firstly, Mr Williams is quite correct in his comments with regards to creatine being a natural substance, but I must disagree with his point that the effects are to build water retention rather than strength. I must also ask on what evidence does he base his case that creatine is not very effective?

As a divisional powerlifter I have used creatine along with another substance, called HMB, for nearly two years. I use these substances to support my strict diet, extensive rest and recovery programme along with other methods designed to enhance my general well-being (acupuncture, massage and hypnosis).

The effect of taking creatine and HMB in cycles allows more intensive training and more efficient recovery time. The effects of these substances in my opinion produce significant increases in strength and poundage. Naturally, nothing can substitute hard work and positive mental attitude. These substances support my own natural resources that I expose to high amounts of physical and mental stress every week.

I believe that athletes should experiment over an extended period of time in order to obtain the correct balance for themselves. For example I find that the recommended dose contained on the packing is not necessary in my case. I receive more than adequate results on a smaller daily quantity.

Mr Williams secondly concerns me by making a string of self-admittedly unqualified comments to the effect that creatine is expensive, ineffective and possessing possible dangerous side-effects.

I would like to point out that the sports supplement business is becoming more competitive and prices are falling. I purchase enough creatine for three months - 600 grams - for around pounds 35 and do not think this to be excessive. Ineffective they certainly are not, based upon my own strength, and I am yet to experience any dangerous side-effects.

Even though my sport is tested for banned steroids, I am aware that opponents may have been using these banned substances in the weeks before competition. In the war against these drugs it is getting more difficult to detect the signs. Creatine and HMB provide an alternative that allows me to close some of the divide in strength that banned substances provide.

Until the relevant authorities decide otherwise I will continue to use every legal means possible to achieve my own personal goals.


Leyton, London