Creatine, an over-the-counter amino acid supplement popular among athletes, may help to build muscle and increase muscle strength in patients with muscular dystrophy and other neuromuscular disorders. The subjects consumed either a placebo ("dummy" pill) or 10 grams of creatine monohydrate daily for 5 days followed by 5 grams of creatine monohydrate daily for 5 to 7 days. The study showed that patients gained weight during the study. This increase affected the "lean body compartment," that is, muscle rather than fat. There was a greater increase in handgrip and ankle strength in those taking creatine compared with placebo, the researchers report. For example, knee strength increased by 11% in those taking creatine, but only 2.3% in placebo users.
Neurology March 10, 1999;52:854-857.
COMMENT: Last week, it was reported that creatine was helpful in ALS and this week muscular dystrophy. It seems that creatine is clearly a beneficial supplement for many conditions. It would seem reasonable to recommend it for those who are seriously malnourished and in need of muscle mass.