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Creatine for osteoarthritis has no effect

PainSci » bibliography » Cornish et al 2018
Tags: poisoning

One article on PainSci cites Cornish 2018: Vitamins, Minerals & Supplements for Pain & Healing

PainSci commentary on Cornish 2018: ?This page is one of thousands in the bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided wherever possible.

Creatine for osteoarthritis hasn’t been studied much, because it’s not what it’s supposedly good for, not what it “says on the tin.” But these researchers were looking for a link between and ergogenic aid and pain, exactly what this article is all about. They “hypothesized that supplementing with creatine monohydrate for 12 weeks would lower biomarkers of inflammation and cartilage degradation in patients with knee osteoarthritis when compared to placebo.” But they found nothing: not a single difference in anything they measured. Not inflammation, not cartilage condition, not functionality, not strength, and not how the subjects felt about their knees. Absolutely bupkis.

A disappointing result, but kudos to them (and the journal) for just reporting a negative result, without any annoying attempt to spin it as positive (shockingly rare restraint). But someone else did…

A little extra colour: this is a decisively negative study, but that didn’t stop some other researchers for citing it as if it was positive! A particularly extreme example of a bogus citation, in a paper that reads like creatine propaganda, in a journal that might be terrible — probably unethical, maybe outright fraudulent.

~ Paul Ingraham

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

The study purpose was to evaluate the effectiveness of creatine monohydrate supplementation (20 grams/day for 1 week and then 5 grams/day for 11 weeks) on inflammation (C-reactive protein, interleukin-1β, interleukin-6, s100 A8/A9, and tumor necrosis factor-α) and cartilage degradation (serum cartilage oligomeric matrix protein) in patients with knee osteoarthritis. We hypothesized that supplementing with creatine monohydrate for 12 weeks would lower biomarkers of inflammation and cartilage degradation in patients with knee osteoarthritis when compared to placebo. A total of 18 patients with mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis were recruited and randomized in a double blind fashion to either a creatine supplementation group (N = 9) or a placebo (N = 9). At baseline and after 12 weeks of supplementation patients had inflammatory and cartilage degradation biomarkers measured in the systemic blood. Further, patients completed the Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome (KOOS) questionnaire as well as had their isometric thigh strength evaluated using an isokinetic dynamometer at both time points. Results indicated that there was no difference between the creatine and placebo groups at 12 week follow up in the inflammatory biomarkers measured nor was there any difference between the groups for cartilage degradation (all P>.05). No statistical differences were noted for the KOOS questionnaire subscales or total score (all P>.05). Muscle strength testing indicated a main effect of time for both groups where isometric thigh strength at 0° of knee flexion was lowered significantly (P=.047). No other significant differences were found in the strength data. We conclude that 12 weeks of supplementation with creatine monohydrate does not affect inflammatory biomarkers, cartilage degradation, KOOS scores, or muscle strength in patients with mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis.

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