Month: October 2020

How creatine can support emotional wellbeing.

Creatine for emotional wellbeing.

Depression may be improved by creatine supplements. Preliminary studies are showing it to have protective effects against, as well as an ability to treat, the symptoms of depression. This might be due to the fact that it increases Adenosine triphosphate or ATP. This is an indication of how well brain cells are working or metabolizing energy. In short, creatine speeds up cellular metabolism within brain cells. Studies show that after taking creatine the brain is better able to use primary brain fuel oxygen (45), so it functions better. This is important as there is a growing body of scientific evidence that depressed people’s brains don’t metabolize energy in the same way that non-depressed people’s brains do (28). Studies using functional brain imagine (positron and single photon emission tomography or PET scans) have shown that the brains of depressed people often have diminished blood flow and metabolism. Specifically, in the frontal lobes and the basal ganglia. In one study of depression and creatine, which used measures of creatine in spinal flued, it was found that those subjects who were depressed, and expressed a desire to commit suicide, also had lower levels of creatine in their spinal fluid (28).

Regarding anxiety, in a study of people suffering from generalized anxiety disorder or GAD, but no childhood trauma, it was found to have reduced levels of total creatine in the cerebral white matter or brain tissue (28). A similar level of low creatine was found in a study of people who experienced panic attacks, but this time in the right amygdalohippocampal region of the brain. And, another study of panic disorder found creatine levels to be asymmetrical, with more phosphocreatine in the right frontal lobe than the left (28). In an animal study, using both male and female rats, those rats on creatine, regardless of sex, exhibited less anxiety than animals not given it (46).

Creatine is proving to be an adjunct or alternative treatment PTSD: it is now being investigated as a potential treatment for post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD combined with depression. Further, in studies of PTSD, using a control group, it was found that subjects diagnosed with PTSD had reductions of creatine in both the right and left hippocampal brain regions. Preliminary studies on creatine for PTSD are showing some success. A study of PTSD, where subjects were treatment resistant (drug resistant), found supplements improved symptoms in both men and women. The greatest response was in those subjects who had PTSD and depression. So, there is some proof that creatine can be therapeutic for PTSD. Regarding anxiety disorders specifically, there are few studies at this point. One case study, on a 52-year-old female who suffered from depression, fibromyalgia, and PTSD, found that the subject had abnormally low levels of phosphocreatine and ATP. She was unresponsive to medications before creatine supplements were introduced. After daily supplementation of creatine there was a reported improvement on measures of depression and fibromyalgia, and a 30% improvement on an overall quality of life scale (28).

When it comes to creatine doses for phycological problems, it is suggested that using lower doses (5 g) of creatine may be better and have more bioavailability, in comparison to higher (10 g) doses. This is as larger doses may slow the absorption of creatine. Smaller doses usually absorb in about two hours. And larger doses can cause the saturation of target sites in the body, resulting in a downregulation of, or lowering of priority of, creating in the cells. Tissues that are lower in creatine before supplementation show greater accumulation of it after supplementation. Keep in mind that it takes about four weeks for creatine supplements to build up in the brain and muscle tissue (28). An example is an experiment in which people given 5 g of creatine a day for four weeks found that the subjects experienced a significant increase in total brain creatine. This was especially true of the following brain areas: thalamus, cerebellum, white matter, and gray matter (28).

This information is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Please consult a qualified medical practitioner before making any dietary or lifestyle changes.

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Creatine for skin health & appearance.

Creatine improves skin health & appearance.

Creatine supports skin health and protects against, and reverses, age related skin damage. Or, that which is associate with aging is connected to damage to skin cells, especially within the mitochondria and DNA. Mitochondria, found in every cell, converts nutrients from food into energy. Aging is related to dysfunctional mitochondria (102). So, creatine is important in preserving the skin’s (and body’s) cellular energy system. It is turned to phosphocreatine (its phosphorylated form) in the body and, in this way, acts as a pivotal source for high energy phosphates, one of three components of ATP or adenosine triphosphate. The other two are sugar or ribose, and a nitrogen base called adenine. As aging sets in, and oxidative stress does more damage to cells, it becomes more difficult for the body to maintain the creatine system, and so more difficult to maintain the concordant energy storage mechanism in skin, in this way skin is negatively affected by a loss of creatine. The aging of the skin specifically is associated with a deterioration in cellular energy metabolism. This loss of energy is the result of harmful changes in mitochondrial function. This in turn is the result of free radicals created by solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation, called exogenous noxes (103). In short, as skin ages the cells try to counter any loss of mitochondrial energetic capacity by producing extra-mitochondrial pathways like glycolysis or the creatine kinase (CK) system.

A study of creatine metabolism and skin aging showed that aging is associated with a stress related deterioration in the mitochondrial energy supply in human skin (epidermal) cells, which is associated with a reduction in mitochondrial creatine kinase (Ck) activity (103). The same study shows that creatine supplementation is taken up by skin cells, where it is correlated with an increase in mitochondrial CK activity, improved mitochondrial functioning, and provided protection from free oxygen radical stress, or free radicals/oxidative stress (103).

This information is for educational and informational purposes only. Please see a qualified medical professional if you need help.

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Creatine may improve bone health.

1/2 tsp of Creatine powder a day can improve bone density & strength.

Creatine has, according to preliminary studies, the ability to improve bone strength. Currently creatine, and its ability to improve cellular energy, is being investigated for its beneficial effects on the brain, aging, and even bone health (63; 77). Bone health in particular is a primary concern to post menopausal women, as this population is especially vulnerable to weakening bones. This situation can lead to fractures, frailty, and a loss of function on a daily basis (64).

Exercise improves bone density and so is good for both bone strength and tissue health. Small studies of creatine (Cr) are showing it to have the ability to enhance bone mineral density. Bone mineral density is the amount of bone mineral in bone tissue. The more minerals present in the bone, the greater its strength, and the less likely it will be to degenerate or brake/fracture.

Creatine (Cr) supplementation may improve bone health in a multiplicity of ways. Firstly, Cr is used by the bone cells for cellular energy stimulation (7). So, by increasing creatine within the body as a whole, the bones have a better or enhanced access to creatine. The more creatine, the more metabolic activity within the bone cells. this means there is a greater chance that new bone is formed and that more minerals are absorbed, leading to greater bone strength and health (8). Secondly, Cr improves muscle performance (3; 4;5). When muscle vibrates against bone it stimulates bone cell development. The stronger the muscle, the more the muscle stimulates the bone, and the greater the stimulation, the more likely it is that the bone mass density will improve or increase (6). In order to garner the greatest effects from taking creatine for bones, resistance/weight training should be undertaken three times per week (67;71). Creatine should be consumed either during exercise/exertion or shortly before or after it.

Creatine should be combined with weight/load bearing exercise to result in improved bone health. A small placebo-controlled study (9), which also controlled for diet (via food journals), of postmenopausal women (half of whom took creatine for one year) showed that weight training (three times per week) combined with creatine supplements (seven grams) results in: the maintenance of bone mineral density; a mild increase in bone strength; and a mild increase in muscle strength. Conversely, the placebo/sugar pill group lost a significant amount of bone mineral density. The bone tested was the Femur, which is a large leg bone, and often prone to fracturing with age (1;10).

Some research is showing that for older adults it is better to take creatine right before, or during, exercise (11). It is hypothesised that creatine taken at this time increases the blood flowing to the muscles under exertion during exercise. This then results in better, or more, creatine being transported/moved into the muscles and building up or accumulating into the muscles (11). The best option might be to take it just before exercise. This was shown in two studies to increase muscle uptake of creatine, as well as muscle concentration of creatine. Both of these factors can lead to better overall results regarding muscle health and performance (12;13). When choosing a dose of creatine, effective dosing (after the first week of taking the full scoop to get it into the muscle) is approximately three grams or half a tea spoon. In short, creatine in combination with exercise and other dietary proteins is important regarding bone and muscle health during the aging process, especially for postmenopausal women (14).

This information is for educational and informational purposes only. Please see a qualified medical professional if you need help.

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