In the last part of my look at the supplement creatine, we hone in on two distinct and great possibilities. Does creatine hold promise for people with Parkinson’s disease? How about those who suffer the autoimmune condition of rheumatoid arthritis? Let’s see.
— Parkinson’s Disease
Roughly one million Americans have Parkinson’s disease. Another two million may have it, but don’t know it yet. Last year, a promising study had 200 patients taking 10 g/day of creatine mixed with 200 mg a day of an antibiotic (minocycline). It came back with good results on creatine’s ability to help with the muscle problems experienced by Parkinson’s patients.
As a result, a government study is well underway with more than 1,700 patients in 51 clinics across the country. Researchers are comparing the effects of creatine on the quality of life, ability to walk, cognitive function, and the ability to carry out activities of daily living.
— Rheumatoid Arthritis
About 2.5 million Americans have rheumatoid arthritis. It’s a chronic kind of joint pain with no great cure. In it, patients lose body cell mass — mostly muscle. The average loss among these patients is between 13% and 15%. Even five percent can affect muscle strength, raise risk of infection, and mess with the use of energy.
The causes of this loss are thought to be fourfold:
1) more inflammatory chemicals causing this destructive joint disease;
2) patients burning through more energy;
3) muscle proteins breaking down in the face of inflammatory chemicals; and
4) reduced physical activity due to joint pain, and thus loss of muscle strength.
Could creatine help? In a Swiss study, 12 patients were treated first with 20 g a day (five days) and then with two g a day (16 days). Creatine resulted in increased muscle strength for eight out of 12 patients, including a rise in blood and skeletal muscle levels. Although promising, this was a small study. Future better-designed, large clinical trials are needed to confirm the positive results in this study.
In all, creatine goes beyond simply helping people bulk up muscle, which it is most known for. People with heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and Parkinson’s disease may also decide to look into this supplement’s powers.