Creatine Supplement Speeds Depression Recovery
Creatine is frequently associated with muscle building as a dietary supplement. Within the body it is a naturally occurring amino acid that provides the body with the fuel needed during periods of high-energy output, as when running or exercising. Recent findings suggest that women suffering with major depression who augment their daily antidepressant with just 5 grams of creatine, respond twice as fast and experience remission at twice the rate of women who take antidepressants only.
Three South Korean universities in collaboration with the University of Utah were involved in the research trials. At the start of the trial, 52 South Korean women aged between 19 to 65 years and diagnosed with major depression, had the severity of their depression measured using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale. Women were reassessed at two, four and 8-week intervals and the study was conducted over a period of eight weeks. All the women were taking the antidepressant Lexapro.
Women were assigned to one of two groups, with 25 receiving creatine in addition to Lexapro and 27 who received a placebo supplement in addition to Lexapro. By the end of the trial, 50 percent of the creatine group were free from depression compared with one-quarter of those in the control group. The creatine group also experienced fairly rapid improvements at 2 weeks (32%) and 4 weeks (68%) compared with the placebo group (3.7% and 29% respectively).
It is not known how creatine serves to speed the antidepressant effect but its role in energy production is thought to have a bearing. So far the trial has been fairly small and men have yet to be tested. University of Utah researchers also hope to begin testing creatine in adolescent and college-age females who have failed to respond to SSRI medications.
Creatine is produced naturally in the liver, kidneys and pancreas, but foods such as red meat (game particularly) and fish (especially tuna, salmon and herring) also contain high levels. Fish of course contains less cholesterol than red meat making it a healthier alternative. As an energy supplement it is relatively cheap to buy, but anyone, whether or not they are taking antidepressants, is only advised to take supplements of creatine under the supervision of a doctor.
University of Utah. (2012, 08 06). Supplementing antidepressant with muscle-building creatine vastly improves response time, quality of recovery. Retrieved from http://healthcare.utah.edu/publicaffairs/news/current/08-06-2012_Renshaw_Creatine_Recovery_Depression.html