Beneficial Effect of Creatine Supplementation in Knee Osteoarthritis

NEVES, MANOEL JR.1; GUALANO, BRUNO1,2; ROSCHEL, HAMILTON1,2; FULLER, RICARDO1; BENATTI, FABIANA BRAGA2; DE SÁ PINTO, ANA LUCIA1; LIMA, FERNANDA RODRIGUES1; PEREIRA, ROSA MARIA1; LANCHA, ANTONIO HERBERT JR.2; BONFÁ, ELOISA1

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: August 2011 - Volume 43 - Issue 8 - pp 1538-1543
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182118592
Applied Sciences

Introduction: The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of creatine (CR) supplementation combined with strengthening exercises in knee osteoarthritis (OA).

Methods: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was performed. Postmenopausal women with knee OA were allocated to receive either CR (20 g·d−1 for 1 wk and 5 g·d−1 thereafter) or placebo (PL) and were enrolled in a lower limb resistance training program. They were assessed at baseline (PRE) and after 12 wk (POST). The primary outcome was the physical function as measured by the timed-stands test. Secondary outcomes included lean mass, quality of life, pain, stiffness, and muscle strength.

Results: Physical function was significantly improved only in the CR group (P = 0.006). In addition, a significant between-group difference was observed (CR: PRE = 15.7 ± 1.4, POST = 18.1 ± 1.8; PL: PRE = 15.0 ± 1.8, POST = 15.2 ± 1.2; P = 0.004). The CR group also presented improvements in physical function and stiffness subscales as evaluated by the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (P = 0.005 and P = 0.024, respectively), whereas the PL group did not show any significant changes in these parameters (P > 0.05). In addition, only the CR group presented a significant improvement in lower limb lean mass (P = 0.04) as well as in quality of life (P = 0.01). Both CR and PL groups demonstrated significant reductions in pain (P < 0.05). Similarly, a main effect for time revealed an increase in leg-press one-repetition maximum (P = 0.005) with no significant differences between groups (P = 0.81).

Conclusions: CR supplementation improves physical function, lower limb lean mass, and quality of life in postmenopausal women with knee OA undergoing strengthening exercises.

1School of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology - University of São Paulo, São Paulo, BRAZIL; and 2School of Physical Education and Sport, Department of Biodynamics - University of São Paulo, São Paulo, BRAZIL

Address for correspondence: Eloisa Bonfa, M.D., Ph.D., Faculdade de Medicina - Universidade de São Paulo -3° andar - sala 3131, Divisão de Reumatologia, Av. Dr. Arnaldo, 455 - Cerqueira César, São Paulo, SP 01246-903, Brazil; E-mail: ebonfa@lim17.fm.usp.br.

Submitted for publication November 2010.

Accepted for publication January 2011.

©2011The American College of Sports Medicine