Creatine makes depression treatment with SSRIs more effective
Depression disappears faster if patients take 5 grams of creatine daily in addition to their regular treatment with an antidepressant. This is according to a human study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
Psychiatrists at Seoul National University in South Korea divided 50 women with severe depression into two groups. The psychiatrists treated both groups with escitalopram, an SSRI. SSRIs are substances that inhibit the reuptake of serotonin in the brain and thereby increase the concentration of serotonin in the brain.
One group received creatine in addition to escilatopram. In the first week of the experiment, the women took 3 grams of creatine per day, in the remaining 7 weeks 5 grams of creatine per day.
The women in the other group took escitalopram and a placebo.
During the experiment, the severity of depression decreased in both groups. However, the decrease was significantly greater in the women who received creatine in addition to escitalopram.
In both groups, subjects dropped out. The researchers saw no significant differences between the groups in this regard, which implies that creatine did not exacerbate the side effects of the antidepressant.
The researchers suspect that creatine supplementation increases the amount of phosphocreatine in the brain. Due to the increase in molecular energy in the brain cells, the depression decreases.
"The present results suggest that creatine, used to augment treatment with the SSRI escitalopram, provides a promising therapeutic approach for major depressive disorder in terms of its superior efficacy, relatively good tolerability, minimal side effects, and easy attainability", write the Koreans.
Am J Psychiatry. 2012 Sep;169(9):937-45.
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