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From Austin, Texas, USA:

I am a 17 year old male, diagnosed with type 1 at age 13. I lift weights and was wondering if there is any big risk with taking creatine. I recently became a vegetarian and have lost about 10 pounds and want to add the weight back. It's hard balancing the vegetarian diet along with my diabetes diet and come out benefiting my weight-lifting routine. Are there any supplements I can take without sacrificing my health diabetes wise?


There are some common misconceptions out there about creatine, especially with regard to building muscle mass. Creatine in the body has a natural role in energy production as a "high energy phosphate". It is particularly important in bursts of all-out exercise for approximately five to eight seconds. Many athletes take creatine supplements in the hopes of improving their energy output and performance. In combination with a high-power, high-intensity training regimen, it may contribute to this improvement. It cannot however, build muscle by itself. Sufficient protein intake is an important part of the muscle building equation. Eating a vegetarian diet just means a bit more thought on your part to ensure that you are getting the right amount of protein, and having diabetes, you will need to consider kidney function issues before you dramatically increase your protein intake.

The difficulty with creatine, like other herbal and non-pharmaceutical supplements, is that we do not typically have a strong safety or efficacy record on these. Nutritional supplements are not subject to the same rigorous research studies that pharmaceuticals are, and so their role in both health and disease is not always clear, nor is there a lot of information out there on the relationship between creatine and diabetes. To my knowledge, creatine itself should not directly affect glycemic control. However, you will need to know the carbohydrate and protein content of the format in which is it packaged (for example, a creatine drink, food bar, powder, or pill form), as these may affect your insulin requirements.

I encourage you to speak to your personal physician, dietitian, and/or pharmacist regarding the safe use of creatine or other supplements in your particular situation.


Original posting 26 Dec 2000
Posted to Meal Planning, Food and Diet


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