One of the most popular sport supplements, creatine is known for its ability to enhance muscle mass, improve strength, and help the muscles recover more quickly during exercise. Creatine is a natural substance that turns into creatine phosphate in the body. Creatine phosphate helps make adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which provides the energy for muscle contractions. The body produces some creatine but it can also be obtained from protein-rich foods such as meat or fish.
Researchers have been studying whether creatine might be useful for treating certain health conditions caused by weakened muscles such as cardiovascular problems. Now, a recent study shows that creatine may help boost muscle strength in patients with fibromyalgia.
Brazilian researchers at the University of São Paulo School of Physical Education and Sports reported that creatine can improve muscle function and help reduce muscle weakness. The treatment had little effect on other symptoms of the mysterious disorder, such as chronic pain, fatigue, memory loss, depression, anxiety and sleeplessness.
A team conducted a 16-week double-blind, randomized, controlled trial in which fibromyalgia patients daily consumed either creatine or placebo pills. Neither the trial staff nor the patients knew who was getting the real supplement until the study period was complete. At that point, the creatine-supplemented group showed strength improvements. Creatine supplementation can help build muscle and strength in patients, but exercise is also very important for all fibromyalgia patients.
As many as one in 50 Americans suffers from fibromyalgia, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The condition typically strikes in middle age, affects women more often than men and is thought to be triggered by stress.
Most healthy people can take creatine and side effects are rare. If you do take creatine, drink enough water to prevent dehydration. Creatine supplements are available in powder, tablets, energy bars, and drink mixes.
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