Creatine is a supplement claimed to increase muscle strength and increase body mass. In addition, it may have a protective effect on nerves. Both of these possible effects are relevant to MS.
Creatine is made in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas. It is involved in generating energy for muscle cells and other cells in the body. Creatine is available as a dietary supplement and may be obtained in the diet by eating meat and fish.
Limited clinical studies have been done on creatine. In healthy people, creatine supplements may improve performance for brief, high-intensity exercises. In one study of 16 people with MS, creatine supplements did not improve high-intensity exercise ability or increase the muscle stores of creatine (11). In people with diseases of the muscles (such as muscular dystrophy), limited studies indicate that creatine may increase strength, decrease muscle fatigue, and improve exercise capacity.
Creatine usually is well tolerated when used in appropriate doses. Rarely, creatine may cause kidney failure, especially in those with known kidney disease. Other possible side effects of creatine include stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, weight gain, dehydration, and muscle cramping.
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