Effects of creatine supplementation on exercise performance and muscular strength in ALS

L. Mazzini, G. Mora, C. Balzarini, I. Pastore, C. Sacco, M. Tinivella, R. Colombo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of creatine supplementation on exercise performance and maximal isometric muscular strength in 20 ALS patients. Dynamometric measurement of 12 muscular groups of upper and lower limbs were obtained by using a device developed in our institute which consists of a force transducer and a mechanical structure to counteract movements. A high-intensity, intermittent protocol was also chosen to test fatigue in elbow flexors and knee extensors muscles. All examinations were performed by 2 registered physical therapists at entry and 2 days later to assess the learning effect. All patients completed the protocols after creatine supplementation of 20 g per day for 7 days and after creatine supplementation of 3 g per day for 3 months. ALS- FRS and Norris scale were computed at each control. In the short period, diarrhea was the most common side effect, while in the long term water retention was observed in 10% of patients. A total of 20% of subjects experienced an increase in fasciculations. The maximal peak of strength significantly increased in 25% of patients and fatigue significantly decreased in 40% of patients after creatine supplementation in the short term (7 days). In the other patients we did not observe any changes. No effects were evident in the long term (3 months); in particular, muscular strength showed a linear, progressive decline. No significant correlations were found with clinical and functional variables. We think that, as demonstrated by the research in normal subjects, some patients respond to creatine supplementation, while others can be considered nonresponders. However, further studies in a larger population of patients are needed to verify this data and likely to identify the clinical characteristics of the two groups.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeurological Sciences
Issue number4 SUPPL.
Publication statusPublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology

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