Further Discussions on Creatine and L-carnitine (Editor's Notes):

One needs to understand some of the strong and weak points of the usage of these two products. Matt's findings match well with the findings of professional sports clubs. Creatine is most effective supplying energy for an explosive burst. It is the first energy used by the muscles even before ATP. More than likely it would be exhausted in less than 10 seconds of sustained burst. After Creatine, the body would utilize glycogen for 10 - 50 minutes (there are varying reports) then start converting fats to usable energy.

Studies at Ghent university tend to show that L-carnitine kicks in for pigeons when flight is sustained for 8 to 10 hours. youngbirds races of less than 10 hours might not exhibit positive results from the use of L-carnitine.

Most sports clubs discourage the use of these two products for athletes unless they are recovering from an injury or they are at the beginning of the season and have not reached their peak "fitness level". For the properly trained racing pigeon, little benefit may exist except when entered in races in excess of 10 hours flight time (L-carnitine), or when used as a recuperative after the race (Creatine).

Again, Matt's findings are in agreement with popular sports methodology, and points out that positive athletic performance enhancement for humans do not always translate into positive performance enhancement for our birds.

Humans are not capable of sustained athletic performance for 10 to 15 hours. Whereas, positive results from the use of L-carnitine, might kick in for a human marathon runner after 40 minutes the same effect might not show results in a racing pigeon until the 10th hour of flight. Whereas, a weightlifter, gymnast, or sprinter might show improved performance using Creatine, during 10 seconds of sustained explosive burst, our birds are not called to such short burst of athletics and as such Creatine has little or no positive effect during a racing pigeon event.

Although Creatine may not increase performance in our birds, it may very likely help with recuperation. However, as Matt's little experiment showed, young birds recover quite nicely on their own without the help of Creatine. Possibly, Creatine's usefulness might be best exploited after long hard races or towards the end of a grueling season when our birds seem to recover more slowly from their exhaustion.

One final note. I've been told by a veterinarian student that giving your race birds a little cheese will supply them with Creatine and L-carnitine and a rich source of protein, but of course that is something the sellers of these products don't necessarily want to advertise.

Cheese is also a rich source of "friendly bacteria".