Can creatine help those with Muscular Dystrophy?

Neuromuscular disease: Creatine has been used in clinical trials for several classes of neuromuscular disorder. The neuromuscular disorders with which creatine has been used with some clinical success include Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Becker muscular dystrophy, fascioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, sarcoglycan-deficient limb girdle muscular dystrophy, Mitochondial cytopathies, Gyrate Atrophy, McArdle disease (myophosphorylase deficiency) and Myasthenia Gravis. Creatine has also been used in animal models for Huntington’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, and spinocerebellar ataxia. Obviously, creatine has caught the attention of the medical community and will continue to do so for quite some time. In fact, these applications are what got me involved in the creatine field in the first place.

Interestingly, a common feature of many these neuromuscular disorders is a reduction in muscular phosphocreatine levels. Therefore, although not representing a cure per se, creatine supplementation may improve the quality of life of individuals inflicted with these disorders. In support of this conclusion, preliminary studies have demonstrated that creatine supplementation improves strength and endurance in patients with several classes of neuromuscular disorder.

Physical rehabilitation: Creatine has also been used postoperatively on patients recovering from orthopedic surgery. As a result of the success of these initial trials it is my opinion that creatine use during rehabilitation will become increasingly common.

Neurological disorders: Creatine metabolism has also been implicated in certain neurological disorders. Systemic defects in either creatine synthesis or creatine transport are often characterized by severe mental retardation. Not surprisingly, the neurological symptoms arising from inherited creatine disorders are often more devastating than the corresponding muscular symptoms; clearly indicating that creatine-based energy production plays a major role in the nervous system. Creatine has been used with some success in reversing the neurological symptoms of human patients exhibiting defects in creatine synthesis. Creatine has also been shown to exert a neuroprotective (preventing brain cell death) effect in mouse models of Huntington’s disease, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinson’s disease.

Learn about the ongoing clinical trials investigating the possible benefits of creatine to states of human disease.

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