Category Archives: Creatine

Review: Creatine May Benefit Bone and Muscle


Creatine supplementation: can it improve quality of life in the elderly without associated resistance training?

Introduction: Ageing is associated with decreased muscle mass, strength, power and function, and reduction in bone density and mineral content, leading to reduced independence and increased risk of falls. Creatine supplementation is reported to improve muscular strength and performance with training in younger athletes, and therefore could benefit older individuals. Aims: This review critically appraises the current literature on whether creatine supplementation enhances muscular performance and function, body composition, bone mineral density and content in older adults without the addition of resistance training, and thus determines whether creatine supplementation can lead to an improved lifestyle for the sedentary elderly population. Results: There is conflicting evidence regarding the usefulness of creatine supplementation in older subjects. Generally, however, creatine supplementation, without associated resistance training, seems to enhance muscular strength, power and endurance, increase lean body mass (LBM) and improve the functional capacity of the elderly. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that increased muscle mass due to creatine supplementation can result in increased local bone density. It appears that the effect of creatine supplementation is more beneficial in larger muscles and less effective in smaller muscles, however there are exceptions. The mechanism by which creatine supplementation works requires further research, however it is likely that the effects of creatine are related to creatine kinase activity, providing enhanced energy production for greater muscular contraction. Conclusions: These data indicate that creatine supplementation without associated training in the elderly could potentially delay atrophy of muscle mass, improve endurance and strength, and increase bone strength, and thus may be a safe therapeutic strategy to help decrease loss in functional performance of everyday tasks.

Moon A, Heywood L, Rutherford S, Cobbold C
Curr Aging Sci Dec 2013
PMID: 24304199

Creatine Has No Effect on Bone Mass in Hypertensive Rats


Influence of creatine supplementation on bone mass of spontaneously hypertensive rats.

Recent evidence has suggested that creatine supplementation (Cr) can increase the bone mineral density (BMD) of the femur in healthy growing rats. Nevertheless, studies assessing the efficacy of the Cr supplementation in conditions characterized by bone mass loss are scarce.
To investigate the effect of Cr supplementation on BMD and bone mineral content (BMC) in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs), an experimental model of osteoporosis.
Sixteen 8-month-old male SHRs were randomly allocated into two groups matched by body weight: 1) Pl group: SHRs treated with placebo (distilled water; n = 8); and 2) Cr group: SHRs treated with Cr (n = 8). After nine weeks of supplementation, the animals were euthanized and their femur and spine (L1-L4) were analyzed by use of densitometry (Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry).
No significant difference was observed between the groups regarding either the spine or the total femur measures as follows: spine – BMD (Pl = 0.249 ± 0.003 g/cm² vs. Cr = 0.249 ± 0.004 g/cm²; P = 0.95) and BMC (Pl = 0.509 ± 0.150 g vs. Cr = 0.509 ± 0.017 g; P > 0.99); and total femur – BMD (Pl = 0.210 ± 0.004 g/cm² vs. Cr = 0.206 ± 0.004 g/cm²; P > 0.49) and BMC (Pl = 0.407 ± 0.021 g vs. Cr = 0.385 ± 0.021 g; P > 0.46).
In this study, using the experimental model of osteoporosis, Cr supplementation had no effect on bone mass.

Alves CR, Murai IH, Ramona P, Nicastro H…
Rev Bras Reumatol
PMID: 22641599 | Free Full Text

Creatine May Positively Influence Bone in Rats


Influence of creatine supplementation on bone quality in the ovariectomized rat model: an FT-Raman spectroscopy study.

The influence of creatine (Cr) supplementation on cortical and trabecular bone from ovariectomized rats was studied using FT-Raman spectroscopy. The intensity of organic-phase Raman bands was compared to mineral phase ones. Twenty-one female Wistar rats aged 3 months were divided into three groups (n = 7 per group): ovariectomized (OVX), ovariectomized treated with creatine (CRE) and sham-operated (SHAM) groups. Creatine supplementation (300 mg kg(-1) day(-1)) was provided for 8 weeks, starting 12 weeks after ovariectomy. FT-Raman spectroscopy was performed on the right medial femoral mid-shaft (cortical bone) and third lumbar vertebral body (trabecular bone). The integrated intensities of mineral phase (phosphate and carbonate bands at 959 and 1,071 cm(-1), respectively) and organic phase (amide I band at 1,665 cm(-1)) Raman bands were analyzed. The mineral-to-matrix (phosphate/amide I), carbonate-to-phosphate, and carbonate-to-amide I ratios were analyzed to assess bone quality. The phosphate content on trabecular bone was higher in the CRE group than the OVX group (p < 0.05). No significant changes in mineral or organic phases on cortical bone were observed. A radiographic assessment of bone density was encouraging as the same findings were showed by Raman intensity of phosphate from cortical (r(2) = 0.8037) and trabecular bones (r(2) = 0.915). Severe ovariectomy-induced bone loss was confirmed by FT-Raman spectroscopy. The results suggest that the chemical composition of trabecular bone tissue may be positively influenced by Cr supplementation after ovariectomy.

de Souza RA, Xavier M, da Silva FF, de Souza MT…
Lasers Med Sci Mar 2012
PMID: 21837504

Review: Creatine for Bone Health


Potential of creatine supplementation for improving aging bone health.

Aging subsequently results in bone and muscle loss which has a negative effect on strength, agility, and balance leading to increased risks of falls, injuries, and fractures. Resistance training is an effective strategy for maintaining bone mass, possibly by increasing activity of cells involved in bone formation and reducing activity of cells involved in bone resorption. However, bone loss is still evident in older adults who have maintained resistance training for most of their life, suggesting that other factors such as nutrition may be involved in the aging bone process. Emerging evidence suggests that creatine supplementation, with and without resistance training, has the potential to influence bone biology. However, research investigating the longer-term effects of creatine supplementation and resistance training on aging bone is limited.

Candow DG, Chilibeck PD
J Nutr Health Aging Feb 2010
PMID: 20126964

Low-Dose Creatine Reduces Bone Resorption in Men


Low-dose creatine combined with protein during resistance training in older men.

To determine whether low-dose creatine and protein supplementation during resistance training (RT; 3 d x wk(-1); 10 wk) in older men (59-77 yr) is effective for improving strength and muscle mass without producing potentially cytotoxic metabolites (formaldehyde).
Older men were randomized (double-blind) to receive 0.1 g x kg(-1) creatine + 0.3 g x kg(-1) protein (CP; n = 10), creatine (C; n = 13), or placebo (PLA; n = 12) on training days. Measurements before and after RT included lean tissue mass (air-displacement plethysmography), muscle thickness (ultrasound) of elbow, knee, and ankle flexors and extensors, leg and bench press strength, and urinary indicators of cytotoxicity (formaldehyde), myofibrillar protein degradation [3-methylhistidine (3-MH)],and bone resorption [cross-linked N-telopeptides of type I collagen (NTx)].
Subjects in C and CP groups combined experienced greater increases in body mass and total muscle thickness than PLA (P < 0.05). Subjects who received CP increased lean tissue mass (+5.6%) more than C (+2.2%) or PLA (+1.0%; P < 0.05) and increased bench press strength (+25%) to a greater extent than C and PLA combined (+12.5%; P < 0.05). CP and C did not differ from PLA for changes in formaldehyde production (+24% each). Subjects receiving creatine (C and CP) experienced a decrease in 3-MH by 40% compared with an increase of 29% for PLA (P < 0.05) and a reduction in NTx (-27%) versus PLA (+13%; P = 0.05).
Low-dose creatine combined with protein supplementation increases lean tissue mass and results in a greater relative increase in bench press but not leg press strength. Low-dose creatine reduces muscle protein degradation and bone resorption without increasing formaldehyde production.

Candow DG, Little JP, Chilibeck PD, Abeysekara S…
Med Sci Sports Exerc Sep 2008
PMID: 18685526

Creatine Ups Bone Density in Men


Creatine monohydrate and resistance training increase bone mineral content and density in older men.

Our purpose was to determine the effects of creatine supplementation combined with resistance training on bone mineral content and density in older men. Twenty-nine older men (age 71 y) were randomized (double blind) to receive creatine (0.3 g/kg creatine for 5 d and 0.07 g/kg thereafter) or placebo while participating in resistance training (12 weeks). Bone mineral content and density were determined by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry before and after training. There was a time main effect for whole-body and leg bone mineral density (p < or = 0.05) with these measures increasing by approximately 0.5%, and 1%, respectively in the combined groups. There was a group by time interaction for arms bone mineral content, with the group receiving creatine increasing by 3.2% (p < 0.01) and the group receiving placebo decreasing by 1.0% (not significant). Changes in lean tissue mass of the arms correlated with changes in bone mineral content of the arms (r = 0.67; p < 0.01). Resistance training of 12 weeks increases bone mineral density in older men and creatine supplementation may provide an additional benefit for increasing regional bone mineral content. The increase in bone mineral content may be due to an enhanced muscle mass with creatine, with potentially greater tension on bone at sites of muscle attachment.

Chilibeck PD, Chrusch MJ, Chad KE, Shawn Davison K…
J Nutr Health Aging
PMID: 16222402

Creatine Ups Bone Density and Bend Strength in Rats


Creatine monohydrate increases bone mineral density in young Sprague-Dawley rats.

Creatine kinase, found in osteoblasts, is an enzyme that is upregulated in response to interventions that enhance bone mass accretion. Creatine monohydrate supplementation can increase fat-free mass in young healthy men and women and can reduce markers of bone breakdown in boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
The objective of this study was to determine the influence of supplementation with creatine monohydrate on bone structure and function in growing rats, to establish a therapeutic model.
Creatine monohydrate (2% w.w.) (CR; N = 16) or standard rat chow (CON; N = 16) was fed to Sprague-Dawley rats beginning at 5 wk of age, for 8 wk. Bone mineral density (BMD) and content (BMC) were assessed using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry at the beginning and end of the protocol. The rats were sacrificed, and one femur was removed for the determination of mechanical properties.
The CR-treated rats showed greater lumbar BMD and femoral bending load at failure compared with the CON rats (P < 0.05).
Together, these data suggest that creatine monohydrate potentially has a beneficial influence on bone function and structure; further investigation is warranted into its effect on bone functional properties and its effects in disorders associated with bone loss.

Antolic A, Roy BD, Tarnopolsky MA, Zernicke RF…
Med Sci Sports Exerc May 2007
PMID: 17468579

Creatine Ups Bone Density in Rats


Effects of creatine supplementation on body composition and renal function in rats.

The aim of the present study was to evaluate the long-term effects of oral creatine supplementation on renal function and body composition (fat and lean mass) in an experimental model.
Male Wistar rats were supplemented with creatine (2 of food) for 10 wk in combination with treadmill exercise, 12 m.min(-1), 1 h.d(-1) (CREAT + EX, N = 12) or not (CREAT, N = 10), and compared with exercised animals without creatine supplementation (EX, N = 7) and CONTROL animals, N = 7. Body composition and bone mineral density (BMD) were determined by dual x-ray absorptiometry and glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and renal plasma flow (RPF) were measured by inulin and paraaminohippurate clearance, respectively.
At the end of the study (post), CREAT+EX presented higher lean mass and lower fat mass than CREAT, EX or CONTROL (349.7 +/- 19.7 vs 313.3 +/- 20.3, 311.9 +/- 30.8, 312.4 +/- 21.0 g and 5.7 +/- 2.3 vs 10.0 +/- 3.3, 9.8 +/- 1.5, 10.0 +/- 3.5%, P < 0.05, respectively). Post lean/fat mass ratio was higher than baseline only in CREAT + EX (18.9 +/- 7.2 vs 8.6 +/- 1.8, P < 0.05). Post BMD was significantly higher than baseline in all groups. GFR and RPF were lower in CREAT versus CONTROL (0.5 +/- 0.1 vs 1.0 +/- 0.1 and 1.5 +/- 0.2 vs 2.4 +/- 0.5 mL.min(-1), P < 0.05, respectively).
Creatine supplement in combination with exercise increased the proportion of lean mass more than EX or CREAT alone. The use of creatine alone induced an important and significant reduction of both RPF and GFR.

Ferreira LG, De Toledo Bergamaschi C, Lazaretti-Castro M, Heilberg IP
Med Sci Sports Exerc Sep 2005
PMID: 16177604

Creatine May Stimulate Bone Repair in Rats


Stimulatory effects of creatine on metabolic activity, differentiation and mineralization of primary osteoblast-like cells in monolayer and micromass cell cultures.

The effects of creatine (Cr) supplementation on primary rat osteoblast-like cells cultured as monolayer and micromass were investigated. Cr was added to the medium at concentrations of either 10 or 20 mM. At various time points, the cell cultures were analyzed morphologically, metabolically and biochemically. The degree of differentiation of primary osteoblast-like cell cultures was higher in micromass cultures compared to monolayer cultures, as judged by alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity and extent of mineralization. In both culture systems, Cr supplementation showed positive effects, which were dependent on the organizational level of the osteoblast-like cells in such a way that the cells in monolayer culture showed significantly increased metabolic activity, ALP activity and mineralization in the presence of Cr than without the supplement. In micromass cultures, Cr also significantly enhanced ALP activity and mineralization, without affecting metabolic activity. The effect of Cr on ALP activity was more pronounced at higher concentrations of Cr, but 20 mM Cr already showed some adverse effects on cell viability. In conclusion, chemically pure Cr added to low serum cell culture medium has a stimulatory effect on metabolic activity, differentiation and mineralization of osteoblast-like cells indicating that Cr supplementation could also be used as a potential clinical intervention to stimulate cell growth, differentiation and mineralization during bone repair in vivo.

Gerber I, ap Gwynn I, Alini M, Wallimann T
Eur Cell Mater 2005
PMID: 16025431 | Free Full Text

Creatine: No Bone Benefit in Swimmers


Effects of creatine supplementation on the performance and body composition of competitive swimmers.

The objective of this study was to determine the effect of creatine supplementation on performance and body composition of swimmers. Eighteen swimmers were evaluated in terms of post-performance lactate accumulation, body composition, creatine and creatinine excretion, and serum creatinine concentrations before and after creatine or placebo supplementation. No significant differences were observed in the marks obtained in swimming tests after supplementation, although lactate concentrations were higher in placebo group during this period. In the creatine-supplemented group, urinary creatine, creatinine, and body mass, lean mass and body water were significantly increased, but no significant difference in muscle or bone mass was observed. These results suggest that creatine supplementation cannot be considered to be an ergogenic supplement ensuring improved performance and muscle mass gain in swimmers.

Mendes RR, Pires I, Oliveira A, Tirapegui J
J. Nutr. Biochem. Aug 2004
PMID: 15302082