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October 16, 2007

Behavior, Exercise and Sports

Question from Spokane, Washington, USA:

My son, who is 15 1/2, has not been doing very well at taking care of himself for the past few years. His A1c is above 9. He is big on himself right now and has been lifting weights in school and outside of school. He wants us to buy creatine for him. His friend gave him a sample jug to try and he now has started taking this before I have been able to talk to his doctor. Right on the jug, it states, "If you are a diabetic, consult your health care provider." That doesn't seem to give him a red flag, but it does me, so, if you could, please let me know if this could be dangerous or maybe helpful, thus encouraging him take care of himself better. He is at a hard age not wanting to do pokes and insulin in front of people now that he is in high school and I really want to promote anything that will encourage him to take better care of himself. The jug of creatine says: Nutrex,Vitatgo CGL sugar free,Creatine Glycogen loader. Ingredients: Vitargo (patented sugar free high molecular weight (500.000-7000.000) carbohydrate from Swedish waxy starch), pure pharmaceutical grade creatine monohydrate, natural and artificial flavors, citic acid, Osmosis balancing Electrolytes (dipotassium phosphate, disodium phosphate, dimagnesium phosphate), silicon dioxide, sucralose, FD & c red 40.

Answer:

It is not uncommon for adolescents (or anyone living with diabetes) to have times when they are sick and tired of checking blood sugars. This can be a result of many things, including the stress of too many demands, the negative feedback of numbers that are higher than you expect, the concern about how others may react to numbers they’re not thrilled with, or just being tired of the daily never ending demands of diabetes. No matter what the reason is, it is important to ask your son about his diabetes. What’s annoying? What’s frustrating? What are the parts of diabetes that he’s sure no one else understands? What things can you be doing to help him manage the diabetes so that it’s less stressful for him? This type of conversation may provide very helpful information. It may turn out that he’s gone through a growth spurt, that requires more insulin, but he is not checking often enough to know that the higher numbers are an indication of the need for more insulin for a larger body. Perhaps it would help him if you checked his blood sugars early in the morning and during dinner time, so that he had less of his own checking to do.

JWB
Additional comments from Rick Philbin, sports and exercise specialist:

There are no studies on creatine and diabetes that I know of at this point. I do know that studies have shown an increase of about 8% in performance for strength activities which is significant. Creatine will need to be flushed through the system (i.e., kidneys), especially in high doses which should cause concern. Eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables may bring on the same positive effects that creatine does in athletes.

RP

[Editor’s comment: We have previously answered several questions about creatine. You can find them by searching Ask the Diabetes Team questions.

BH]