Low-dose creatine supplementation lowers plasma guanidinoacetate, but not plasma homocysteine, in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial1-3

Brandilyn A. Peters, Megan N. Hall, Xinhua Liu, Faruque Parvez, Abu B. Siddique, Hasan Shahriar, Mohammad Nasir Uddin, Tariqul Islam, Vesna Ilievski, Joseph H. Graziano, Mary V. Gamble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Creatine synthesis from guanidinoacetate consumes ;50% of s-adenosylmethionine (SAM)-derived methyl groups, accounting for an equivalent proportion of s-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH) and total homocysteine (tHcys) synthesis. Dietary creatine inhibits the synthesis of guanidinoacetate, thereby lowering plasma tHcys in rats. Objective: We tested the hypotheses that creatine supplementation lowers plasma guanidinoacetate, increases blood SAM, lowers blood SAH, and lowers plasma tHcys. Methods: Bangladeshi adults were randomly assigned to receive 1 of 4 treatments for 12 wk: placebo (n = 101), 3 g/d creatine (Cr; n = 101), 400 mg/d folic acid (FA; n = 153), or 3 g/d creatine plus 400 mg/d folic acid (Cr+FA; n = 103). The outcomes of plasma guanidinoacetate and tHcys, as well as whole blood SAM and SAH, were analyzed at baseline and week 12 by HPLC. Treatment effects of creatine supplementation were examined with the use of the group comparisons of Cr vs. placebo and Cr+FA vs. FA. Results: Plasma guanidinoacetate declined by 10.6% (95% CI: 4.9, 15.9) in the Cr group while increasing nonsignificantly in the placebo group (3.7%; 95%CI:20.8, 8.5) (Pgroup difference = 0.0002). Similarly, plasma guanidinoacetate declined by 9.0% (95% CI: 3.4, 14.2) in the Cr+FA group while increasing in the FA group (7.0%; 95% CI: 2.0, 12.2) (Pgroup difference < 0.0001). Plasma tHcys declined by 23.4% (95% CI: 19.5, 27.1) and 21.0% (95% CI: 16.4, 25.2) in the FA and Cr+FA groups, respectively (Pgroup difference = 0.41), with no significant changes in the placebo or Cr groups (Pgroup difference = 0.35). A decrease in guanidinoacetate over time was associated with a decrease in tHcys over time in the Cr+FA group (b = 0.30; 95% CI: 0.17, 0.43; P (< 0.0001). Conclusions: Our findings indicate that whereas creatine supplementation downregulates endogenous creatine synthesis, this may not on average lower plasma tHcys in humans. However, tHcys did decrease in those participants who experienced a decline in plasma guanidinoacetate while receiving creatine plus folic acid supplementation. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01050556.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2245-2252
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Bangladesh
  • Creatine
  • Folate
  • Folic acid
  • Guanidinoacetate
  • Homocysteine
  • Hyperhomocysteinemia
  • RCT
  • S-adenosylmethionine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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