July 26, 2000
Meal Planning, Food and Diet
Question from Punta Gorda, Florida, USA:
Can you tell me if creatine is dangerous for a 64 year old male body builder?
I am assuming that you are asking about creatine in relation to diabetes. Creatine in the body has a natural role in energy production as a “high energy phosphate”. It is particularly important in bursts of all-out exercise for approximately five to eight seconds. Many athletes take creatine supplements in the hopes of improving their energy output and performance.
The difficulty with creatine, like other herbal and non-pharmaceutical supplements, is that we do not typically have a strong safety or efficacy record on these. Nutritional supplements unfortunately are not subject to the same rigorous research studies that pharmaceuticals are, so their role in both health and disease is not always clear. There is not a lot of information out there on the relationship between creatine and diabetes. To my knowledge, creatine should not affect glycemic control. I encourage you to speak to your personal physician and pharmacist regarding the safe use of creatine in your particular situation.
Additional comments from Betty Brackenridge, diabetes dietitian:
I have also looked for information on creatine and diabetes without much luck. But, in a sense, learning the effects of creatine on your blood sugars should be no different than figuring out the effects of many things: a change in your exercise routine, eating at a new restaurant, or dealing with an illness or stress. The key is in your meter. If you choose to take the supplement, perform frequent blood glucose monitoring as you begin and establish your level of supplementation, watching for any changes from your usual blood glucose patterns. You don’t mention the type of medicine you take for your diabetes. If you notice any significant changes in your blood sugars after beginning the creatine, you may need an adjustment in the dose of your diabetes medicine, if any, to reestablish control.