Increase of total creatine in human brain after oral supplementation of creatine-monohydrate

P. Dechent, P. J.W. Pouwels, B. Wilken, F. Hanefeld, J. Frahm

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The effect of oral creatine supplementation on brain metabolite concentrations was investigated in gray matter, white matter, cerebellum, and thalamus of healthy young volunteers by means of quantitative localized proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy in vivo (2.0 T, stimulated echo acquisition mode sequence; repetition time = 6,000 ms, echo time = 20 ms, middle interval = 10 ms, automated spectral evaluation). Oral consumption of 4 x 5 g creatine-monohydrate/day for 4 wk yielded a statistically significant increase (8.7% corresponding to 0.6 mM, P < 0.001) of the mean concentration of total creatine (tCr) when averaged across brain regions and subjects (n = 6). The data revealed considerable intersubject variability (3.5-13.3%), with the smallest increases observed for the two male volunteers with the largest body weights. A regional analysis resulted in significant increases of tCr in gray matter (4.7%), white matter (11.5%), and cerebellum (5.4%) and was most pronounced in thalamus (14.6% corresponding to 1.0 mM). Other findings were significant decreases of N-acetyl-containing compounds in cerebellum and thalamus as well as of choline-containing compounds in thalamus. All cerebral metabolic alterations caused by oral Cr were reversible, as evidenced by control measurements at least 3 mo after the diet. This work demonstrates that excess consumption of Cr yields regionally dependent increases of the tCr concentration in human brain over periods of several weeks.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number3 46-3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain metabolism
  • Diet
  • Magnetic resonance spectroscopy
  • Nutrition

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