Does Creatine Benefit Schizophrenia?

Creatine is a type of acid naturally manufactured by our liver, pancreas and kidneys. One of its primary roles in the body is to provide energy for muscle activity and growth. While over 90% of it is stored in muscle tissue, the brain also contains a small percentage. Creatine is also created in laboratories for use as a dietary supplement.

Creatine plays a significant role in the metabolism of energy in the brain. In individuals with schizophrenia, brain energy metabolism is believed to be abnormal. A 2007 study was conducted in which several schizophrenic individuals were given either a placebo or 5 grams of supplemental creatine daily. The results of the study indicated that the patients who received the creatine did not experience an improvement in their symptoms 1. However, the potential use of creatine in the treatment of schizophrenia continues to be researched.

While primarily used by bodybuilders and athletes who want to improve their performance, creatine has also been researched regarding the treatment of a variety of medical conditions, including congestive heart failure, Parkinson’s disease, certain diseases of the eye, elevated cholesterol, and various neuromuscular disorders. There has also been research done regarding the use of creatine in the treatment of depression and bipolar disorder.

In addition to man-made supplements, creatine can be found naturally in fish and red meat. Supplements typically come in the form of a powder to be mixed with water or other liquids.

Use of creatine can potentially lead to muscle and/or stomach cramps, nausea, increase in weight, and diarrhea. Used in excess, creatine can damage the liver and kidneys. It can also affect insulin production so should be used with caution by anyone with a personal or family history of diabetes.

References

  1. "Lack of efficacy of 5 grams daily of creatine in schizophrenia: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial," Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 2007.

Written By: Dr. Cheryl Lane, PsyD
Photo: Pixabay

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