Creatine is an amino acid that occurs naturally in your body and is made by your liver. Certain foods, such as meat and fish, contain creatine as well. Creatine plays an important role in energy production, but is also used to treat certain medical conditions as well. If you have been diagnosed with a colon disorder, creatine might be beneficial to your treatment. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of creatine with your doctor to determine if it is right for you.
Creatine is a chemical that occurs naturally in your muscles. The chemical helps you produce energy when you are physically active and is often used in supplement form to improve athletic performance. The substance is also used to help treat heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson's disease, though research is not conclusive about the effectiveness of creatine for any of these. While creatine doesn't do anything extra for a healthy colon, research suggests that creatine might be beneficial for inhibiting colon cancer. Creatine might also be harmful in certain situations.
When healthy colon cells mutate, colon cancer can develop. Precancerous cells, also called polyps, usually develop several years before colon cancer develops. Symptoms of colon cancer include a change in bowel habits, blood in your stool, abdominal discomfort, weakness and unexplained weight loss. If you have been diagnosed with a cancerous colon tumor, treatment usually includes surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or a combination of the three. A 2000 study in the "Physiological Reviews" journal suggests that creatine might inhibit the growth of cancerous colon tumors. Creatine might also help regulate normal cell growth so the cancer does not spread to your entire colon. A similar study from 1999 was published in the "British Journal of Cancer" and also shows that creatine supplements might inhibit colon cancer growth.
Long-term use of creatine might be harmful to your colon. One of the side effects of creatine use is weight gain. According to a 2011 article in the "American Journal of Physiology," an elevated body mass index or obesity can increase your risk of developing colon cancer. While creatine does not cause colon cancer, gaining an unhealthy amount of weight as a side effect of its use might increase your risk. Gastrointestinal problems are another side effect of creatine use. Because your colon is part of your intestinal system, too much creatine might cause discomfort to this area.
Do not take creatine without speaking to your doctor first. If you have colon cancer, your doctor will determine if creatine is an appropriate treatment method for you. If creatine is right for you, your doctor will determine the appropriate dose based on your age and health history. Tell your doctor about any medications, supplements or herbal remedies you take. Certain ones can cause an interaction with creatine.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Creatine
- Medline Plus: Creatine
- Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: Creatine
- British Journal of Cancer: Creatine and Cyclocreatine Treatment of Human Colon Adenocarcinoma Xenografts
- Physiological Reviews: Creatine and Creatinine Metabolism
- American Journal of Physiology: The Intestinal Microbiota, Gastrointestinal Environment and Colorectal Cancer: A Putative Role for Probiotics in Prevention of Colorectal Cancer?