Creatine has been around a long time as a sports performance supplement, and its safety is well-documented. While most of the creatine in the body is made and stored in muscles, it also has important roles in other cells with high energy demands or growth rates, such as intestinal lining cells, photoreceptors in the eye, and skin cells.
While the body makes creatine from protein, for many people this process doesn't work as smoothly as it should, or they simply don't eat enough protein to provide the raw ingredients.
Recent research has looked at creatine's effect on the brain, and found that women experiencing major depression who took creatine for 8 weeks at a dose of 5 grams per day had some relief. Interestingly, one particular study looked at depression among female drug users, and found that their depression and drug use decreased during the study. Also, creatine in addition to anti-depressant medication in teenagers improved the effect with no significant side effects. Studies have been small but promising.
While the placenta synthesizes creatine, the baby appears to rely primarily on the mom's supply. Another line of research is creatine supplementation for pregnant mothers, in order to improve babies' health in the event of a premature birth or oxygen deprivation. Studies in rats in which they deliberately created hypoxia in the young of both creatine-supplemented and non-creatine-supplemented mothers showed that creatine supplementation protected against various injuries to the newborn that would normally occur as a result of oxygen deprivation - specifically, to the kidney, brain and diaphragm - and improved the babies' growth.
Will creatine be the new folate for pregnant moms?