Beyond muscles: The untapped potential of creatine

Lisa A. Riesberg, Stephanie A. Weed, Thomas L. McDonald, Joan M. Eckerson, Kristen M. Drescher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Creatine is widely used by both elite and recreational athletes as an ergogenic aid to enhance anaerobic exercise performance. Older individuals also use creatine to prevent sarcopenia and, accordingly, may have therapeutic benefits for muscle wasting diseases. Although the effect of creatine on the musculoskeletal system has been extensively studied, less attention has been paid to its potential effects on other physiological systems. Because there is a significant pool of creatine in the brain, the utility of creatine supplementation has been examined in vitro as well as in vivo in both animal models of neurological disorders and in humans. While the data are preliminary, there is evidence to suggest that individuals with certain neurological conditions may benefit from exogenous creatine supplementation if treatment protocols can be optimized. A small number of studies that have examined the impact of creatine on the immune system have shown an alteration in soluble mediator production and the expression of molecules involved in recognizing infections, specifically toll-like receptors. Future investigations evaluating the total impact of creatine supplementation are required to better understand the benefits and risks of creatine use, particularly since there is increasing evidence that creatine may have a regulatory impact on the immune system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-42
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Immunopharmacology
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Creatine
  • Immune response
  • Immunomodulation
  • Neuroprotection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology


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