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Creatine shows promise for treating depression

A recent study suggests that creatine, a supplement commonly used by athletes to help build muscle mass, is a promising treatment for depression.

According to an article in The Atlantic, researchers have previously found that creatine aids in treatment of depressed female rats. It was tested for the first time on depressed women as a booster to standard antidepressant treatment.

The Atlantic says the common antidepressants classified as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors have a number of disadvantages. They can be inexact and slow to work – taking up to eight weeks to make any noticeable improvement. It can also take several periods of trial and error before medical professionals find the optimal drug and dosage.

And a number of studies have linked pregnant women’s use of SSRI antidepressants with potentially dangerous heart and lung defects in newborns. SSRI antidepressants include Prozac, Ocella, and Zoloft.

According to The Atlantic, the 8-week study of creatine involved 52 South Korean women with major depressive disorder, who were treated with an SSRI along with either creatine supplements or a placebo. Every two weeks, researchers assessed the subjects’ depression, and formulated their results based on the 39 women who completed the entire trial.

At two weeks, the women who had taken creatine showed a 32 percent improvement in their symptoms, compared to only 3.7 percent of those taking a placebo. At four weeks, the improvement rates were 68 percent for those who had taken creatine, and 29 percent for those who hadn’t. By the end of the study, half of the women in the creatine group were depression-free, which amounted to twice the success rate of the group that took only the SSRI.

Patients should consult their doctors before making any changes in their medication. A consultation with an SSRI lawyer is also important if there are significant injuries from SSRIs.

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