Creatine Monohydrate supplementation may outmuscle major depression

November 14, 2012

SSRI drugs are commonly prescribed to treat depression but they take many weeks, four to six, to start to work. But research shows that the sooner an antidepressant begins to work, the better the treatment outcome. Even with the best drug therapy it is difficult to treat major depressive disorder. Creatine Monohydrate (CM) is a supplement commonly used to improve muscle strength in frail people. Research also shows that CM has beneficial effects for the brain improving energy, supporting memory and functioning as a protective antioxidant.

Researchers from the University of Utah and from three South Korean Universities tested the effects of adding CM to SSRI drugs to see if the combination could speed up the anti-depressive effects of the drugs. Fifty-two women with major depression were enrolled in an eight-week state of the art clinical trial. They were treated with Lexapro in addition to 5000mg of CM a day (25 subjects) or with Lexapro plus a placebo (27 subjects). 
Patients on CM augmentation of their medication showed significantly greater improvements in their scores of depression at a faster rate which became evident within the first two-weeks of supplementation compared to placebo. This improvement brought about by the addition of CM was maintained at weeks 4 and 8 of the study. For instance 3.7% of the women who were on the placebo * SSRI had a significant improvement at two-weeks while 32% on CM + SSRI had a significant improvement. At four-weeks 29% of the women on placebo + SSRI had significant improvement but the figure rose to 68% for those on CM + SSRI.  More patients on placebo reported adverse events than on CM. Adding CM to SSRI treatment for major depressive disorder seems to give a more rapid and better response in women. The study is published in the September 2012 issue of The American Journal of Psychiatry.    

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R Ph; It is interesting that more of the patients on placebo had side effects than those on Creatine Monohydrate. Obviously a placebo shouldn’t cause a side effect. Maybe it is possible the Creatine supplementation was decreasing some negative effects of the drug and certainly of depression.