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Women who suffer from major depression may benefit from creatine, a muscle building dietary supplement. A new study shows that women who added 5 grams of creatine to their daily depressant responded twice as fast as women who took the antidepressant alone. They were also less likely to experience remission.
Creatine could be an inexpensive way to boost the effectiveness of antidepressants. This is true especially for women who have not responded all that well to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. “If we can get people to feel better more quickly, they’re more likely to stay with treatment and, ultimately, have better outcomes,” said Perry F. Renshaw, MD, PhD, MBA, USTAR professor of psychiatry at the University of Utah medical school.
Creatine is an amino acid. It converts to phosphocreatine which is stored in muscle fibers and converted to ATP, a vital energy source for cells during exercise, which is why it is popular with body builders. It is believed that the phosphocreatine may help patient respond better to antidepressants, but the mechanism is not completely understood.
Antidepressants take four to six weeks to work. If creatine can speed up response, that’s a big plus. “Getting people to feel better faster is the Holy Grail of treating depression,” Renshaw explained. Since creatine only appeared to work on their female lab rats, they can only draw conclusions for females. Still, there is no reason not for men to take it as well. There are no side effects to creatine.
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