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February 2, 2002

Exercise and Sports

Question from Birmingham, Alabama, USA:

I am a 34 year old female with type 1 diabetes for 13 years who has started weightlifting, with a goal of possibly becoming a body builder. I wear an insulin pump, use Humalog, and have no complications. I would like more information on whether it is safe to take some of the "bodybuilding supplements" (specifically, creatine and HMB). Do you have any suggestions on where to find more information on their use in people with type 1 diabetes?

Answer:

There are short-term studies which show creatine has the ability to improve insulin sensitivity. However, a high-protein diet is not well studied in long-term diabetes. Intuitively, this may have negative effects on kidney function. If someone has type�1 diabetes and decides to do this anyway, I would follow urine tests for microalbumin regularly. In addition, retinopathy of significant proportion can theoretically worsen with heavy weight lifting. Certainly, I would not be in favor of irregular use of anabolic steroids.

JTL

[Editor’s comment: See Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in Diabetes.

You might also contact the Diabetes Exercise and Sports Association for their advice.

SS]