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Creatine for Diabetics

by
author image Sarka-Jonae Miller
Sarka-Jonae Miller has been a freelance writer and editor since 2003. She was a personal trainer for four years with certifications from AFAA and NASM. Miller also worked at 24 Hour Fitness, LA Fitness and as a mobile trainer. Her career in the fitness industry begin in 2000 as a martial arts, yoga and group exercise instructor. She graduated cum laude from Syracuse University.
Creatine for Diabetics
A doctor testing a diabetic girl's blood sugar level. Photo Credit Anette Romanenko/iStock/Getty Images

Creatine is a popular supplement for weight lifters and athletes because it may enhance strength and endurance. Creatine is naturally produced from amino acids in the body and delivered by blood to the muscles; the supplements provide additional creatine. They are generally safe for diabetics and exercise is beneficial for diabetes sufferers, though most research in these areas have been done on people with Type 2 diabetes. About 90 percent of people with diabetes have Type 2. Speak with your doctor before beginning any exercise program so he can advise you on precautions to take. Creatine and any other supplements should also be cleared with your doctor.

Creatine and Kidneys

Creatine supplements in low dosages, 5 to 10 grams per day, are beneficial and don't cause any health problems, according to the Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation. The concern that creatine may impair kidney function and thus be dangerous for diabetes sufferers was found to be false in a 2011 study published in the "European Journal of Applied Physiology." The study followed participants taking creatine or a placebo for 12 weeks while on an exercise regime. No adverse effects were noted. The name of the study is "Creatine Supplementation Does Not Impair Kidney Function in Type 2 Diabetic Patients: A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled, Clinical Trial."

Exercise and Diabetes

Diabetes affects the production of the hormone insulin, which allows your body to control blood sugar. People with type 1 diabetes have pancreases that cannot make insulin at all, and people with type 2 diabetes either cannot make enough or their cells ignore the insulin. Exercise helps regulate blood sugar levels, which is why it is recommended for diabetes sufferers. According to an article in "Time" magazine titled "Study: The Best Exercise for Diabetes," a combination of cardio and strength training is best for people with diabetes -- or at least for people with type 2 diabetes. Cardio is aerobic exercise that elevates your breathing and heart rate.

Creatine and Diabetes Study

Not only does exercise help regulate blood sugar, but exercise while using creatine supplements helps diabetes sufferers maintain glycemic control, which refers to levels of blood sugar. The study titled "Creatine in Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Trial" found that the participants who took creatine experienced an increase in Glut-4 translocation, which may be related to the improved glycemic control. Glut-4 is a protein that transports the simple sugar glucose into and out of cells. This study was published in 2011 in "Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise" journal and involved Type 2 diabetes sufferers.

Warnings

Even though studies show that exercise is beneficial for diabetes, this does not mean that people with diabetes do not need to monitor their blood sugar levels. Check your blood sugar levels before and after workouts. Do not exercise when your blood sugar is too high or too low. If you have any questions on how to monitor your blood sugar levels, what is too high or too low for you, or about your personal limitations, speak to your doctor before you begin a program.

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