Does creatine stimulate cancer cells? According to this study, it doesn't
Alarming reports about the suspected tumor promoting effects of creatine are still circulating on the web. "Creatine stimulates the growth of cancer cells", claim some scaremongers. In 2016 Brazilian sports scientists from the University of Sao Paulo published an animal study that disproves these alarmist claims.
The researchers injected rats with breast cancer cells, and watched the test animals for a period of 40 days. They gave some of the rats also a daily dose of creatine every via the oral route. If the rats had been humans, they would have received 3-4 grams of creatine per day.
The rats in which the researchers had only injected cancer cells [PL] survived as long as the rats who had also received creatine [CR]. CT = rats in the control group. They were not injected with cancer cells, nor did they receive creatine.
In spite of this, creatine did have an effect on the tumor. Creatine supplementation inhibited the growth of the tumors. See above.
In the tumor cells of the rats given creatine, the researchers found more creatine, and an increased activity of the enzyme creatine kinase.
This means that the tumor cells used creatine as a source of energy. The researchers suspect that this caused the tumor cells to sour their environment less quickly. Many cancer types acidify their environment. That weakens the healthy cells around the tumor, and facilitates the growth of the tumors.
"In conclusion, creatine supplementation was able to mitigate tumour growth in rats [...], without affecting survival rate", the researchers summarize. "These findings support the role of creatine as a putative anti-cancer agent as well as help in expanding our knowledge on its potential mechanisms of action in malignancies."
Amino Acids. 2016 Aug;48(8):1993-2001.
Creatine and protein-rich diet combination not dangerous for kidneys 05.07.2013
In vitro study suggests creatine might weaken natural resistance 11.07.2011
Creatine may worsen asthma: animal study 09.07.2010
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