Creatine Monohydrate And Membrane Stabilisation

Creatine monohydrate has a number of less well known pharmacological effects in cells. In this regard it is considered that creatine may have the ability to stabilise cell membranes. Creatine accumulates in cells where it can act as a zwitterion (positively and negatively charged molecule) in the form of phosphocreatine. Phosphocreatine has a negatively charged phosphate and positively charged guanidino groups. Studies suggest that phosphocreatine binds to the head group of phosphates in the cell membrane, and thereby decreases membrane fluidity. This may also decrease any loss of cytoplasmic proteins such as intracellular enzymes. Studies on animals suggest that phosphocreatine can reduce the damage to cardiomyocytes during experimentally induced damage due to a stabilisation of the membrane. In studies that have investigated membrane stabilisation for phosphocreatine in exercise induce damage no effect has been found, and so the exact role creatine plays in exercise induce membrane changes is not known. 

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Persky, A. M. and Brazeau, G. A. 2001. Clinical pharmacology of the dietary supplement creatine monohydrate. Pharmacological Reviews. 53(2): 161-176

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Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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