This is the sixth post in our ongoing creatine series. Click below to read the other articles:
At Earth Fed Muscle, one of the more popular questions we receive from mothers and expecting mothers alike is “is creatine safe to consume during pregnancy and breastfeeding?” In this article we'll be examining the research available today covering creatine supplementation during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
Unfortunately there is very little research on the effect of creatine consumption during pregnancy and breastfeeding. However, all the current benefits of creatine lead us to believe that creatine supplementation would be beneficial for the fetus and newborn as well.
Creatine has been widely studied in both healthy adults and the elderly. The cognitive benefits that elderly subjects and sleep-deprived subjects would most likely show the same benefits in the fetus or newborn child.
Can Creatine Protect the Fetal Brain From Brain Injury?
While creatine has not yet been used on human pregnancy, there have been several successful animal studies showing its positive effects. In fact, the animal research suggests that creatine can protect the fetal brain, diaphragm and kidney from hypoxic insult which leads to brain injury from a lack of oxygen. (2) This leads researchers to think that creatine supplementation could protect the fetal brain from brain injury.
One of creatine's other benefits is its role in antioxidants. It may possibly act as a direct antioxidant with the potential ability to neutralize free radicals. (3) There’s no question that pregnancy adds a nutritional strain to the mother, as pregnancy is a whole heightened state of normal metabolic activity. (1) With research now showing that problems in late pregnancy are the result of inadequate nutrient supply to the fetus, creatine supplementation could improve this process. (4) However, this has yet to be examined.
Creatine supplementation may also have the ability to provide protection to major organs in their transition from fetus to newborn. Research suggests there are many properties of creatine supplementation that could help fetal tissue where vasoconstriction (the narrowing of blood vessels resulting from contraction of muscle), oxidative stress, glutamate toxicity or ATP turnover.
One study concluded by Gualano et al. (5) used animal studies to show no observable changes in maternal physiology, giving us reason to think that human pregnancy and infant breastfeeding would be of similar result.
When looking at fetal rat brains, research suggests that the immature brain may have a greater ability and larger capacity to use creatine from the fetal circulation compared to a more mature brain. (7) In humans, creatine is transported across the placenta and then diffused into fetal circulation. (6)
While studies have yet to be done on human pregnancy, the research that creatine supplementation can help both pregnant and breastfeeding mothers is extremely encouraging.
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