Creatine: Counteracts Cachexia and Supports Methylglyoxal


Creatine  is a nitrogenous organic acid that occurs naturally in vertebrates and helps to supply energy to all cells in the body, primarily muscle. It is produced in the human body from the amino acids glycine and arginine.

Creatine supplements are widely used by athletes, bodybuilders, wrestlers, sprinters, and others who wish to gain muscle mass, and recently, it has been emerged as a treatment to several diseases, including those characterized by skeletal muscle loss and dysfunction – creatine supplementation is able to increase skeletal muscle strength in fibromyalgia patients and to mitigate the decline of skeletal muscle function during aging. (Ref.)

creatineI was shortly researching Creatine  due to its supportive role in the treatment using Methylglyoxal, as it seems to strongly support that: “Amazingly, when creatine was added in combination with methylglyoxal plus ascorbic acid the tumor mass reduced to the size of contralateral normal leg muscle indicating total regression of tumor (Fig. 3).” (Ref.)

However, next to its supportive role for the Methylglyoxal treatment, Creatine seems to also have some anti tumor properties and maybe even more important for some, it has serious anti chachexia properties and as a result it was recently proposed as a nutritional supplement to counteract cancer cachexia (Ref.).

Therefore, supplementation with Creatine increases strength, power, and muscle mass and may counteract cancer cachexia while also possibly having antitumor properties and furthermore support the anti cancer effect of Methylglyoxal.

Note that Creatine supplementation may counteract the side effects of glucocorticoid administration on skeletal muscle


There are several reports of the anticancer effect of creatine and cyclocreatine, and different explanations such as inhibition of glycolysis, generation of acidosis were proposed. However, in a recent report it has been suggested that tumor tissue supplemented with creatine might sequester significant amount of ATP that is necessary for any growth-oriented cells such as malignant cells. Nevertheless, the anti cancer effect of creatine is not yet clear. Various potential mechanisms have been discussed in teh following reference:

Here is a good review on Creatine and Creatinine Metabolism:

Dose and Administration:

Administrated orally as capsules or powder.

Extensive research has shown that oral creatine supplementation at a rate of 5 to 20 grams per day appears to be very safe and largely devoid of adverse side-effects (Ref.) I would anyway, probably take about 2-3g/day.

Safety and Toxicity:

There were no side effects reported throughout the animal or human studies (Ref.1, Ref.2) It is widely used in humans and its safety profile is very good.


Creatine is endogenously synthesized or ingested from diet (mainly meat). In addition, creatine can be ingested as a supplement, mainly in the monohydrate form.

It is widely and commercially available at online shops such as this one:


Inhibition of rate of tumor growth by creatine and cyclocreatine.

An overview of amines as nutritional supplements to counteract cancer cachexia

Cancer cachexia is a complex multifactorial syndrome characterized by loss of skeletal muscle mass (with or without loss of fat mass) that cannot be fully reversed by conventional nutritional support and leads to progressive functional impairment. Recently, some amino acids and other amine dietary supplements have been highlighted in medical field due to positive effects upon diseases evolving skeletal muscle atrophy. Therefore, the aim of this brief review is to discuss the putative application of amines as dietary supplements to counteract skeletal muscle wasting on cancer cachexia. Specifically, we focus in two nutritional supplements: (1) branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and (2) creatine. Both BCAAs and creatine may attenuate proteolysis and enhance proteins synthesis in skeletal muscle. Although more experimental studies and clinical trials are still necessary to elucidate this therapeutic application, several evidences have demonstrated that amines supplementation is a promising coadjuvant treatment to cancer cachexia.

A short review on creatine–creatine kinase system in relation to cancer and some experimental results on creatine as adjuvant in cancer therapy

The creatine/creatine kinase (CK) system plays a key role in cellular energy buffering and transport. In vertebrates, CK has four isoforms expressed in a tissuespecific manner. In the process of creatine biosynthesis several other important metabolites are formed. The anticancer effect of creatine had been reported in the past, and recent literature has reported low creatine content in several types of malignant cells. Furthermore, creatine can protect cardiac mitochondria from the deleterious effects of some anticancer compounds. Previous work from our laboratory showed progressive decrease of phosphocreatine, creatine and CK upon transformation of skeletal muscle into sarcoma. It was convincingly demonstrated that prominent expression of creatine-synthesizing enzymes L-arginine: glycine amidinotransferase and N-guanidinoacetate methyltransferase occurs in sarcoma, Ehrlich ascites carcinoma and sarcoma 180 cells; whereas, both these enzymes are virtually undetectable in skeletal muscle. Creatine transporter also remained unaltered in malignant cells. The anticancer effect of methylglyoxal had been known for a long time. The present work shows that this anticancer effect of methylglyoxal is significantly augmented in presence of creatine. On creatine supplementation the effect of methylglyoxal plus ascorbic acid was further augmented and there was no visible sign of tumor. Moreover, creatine and CK, which were very low in sarcoma tissue, were significantly elevated with the concomitant regression of tumor.


This site is not designed to and does not provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services to you or to any other individual. Through this site and linkages to other sites, I provide general information for educational purposes only. The information provided in this site, or through linkages to other sites, is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not use the information in place of a visit, call consultation or the advice of your physician or other healthcare provider. I am not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or product you obtain through this site. This is just my own personal opinion regarding what we have learned on this road.

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11 thoughts on “Creatine: Counteracts Cachexia and Supports Methylglyoxal

        1. Hi Johan,

          Thank you – this is very helpful. It almost looks like cancer cells eat everything. Yes, phenylbutyrate is a good one. 5 years ago I could only buy it from China at an affordable price. Have you heard of any affordable source in Europe or US?

          Hepamertz (l-Ornithine l-aspartate) is another option for ammonia lowering. It can be found at German pharmacies. In the past it was also available intravenous, but now I see they only produce it for oral administration. Most German clinics used for liver protection.

          Kind regards,

          1. Hi Daniel, indeed it’s sad it costs so much. This is a drug that by now could/should have been part of a standard protocol in cancer, especially in cancers that are addicted to glutamine, sadly it’s not the case. I’m still hoping antineoplastons will get FDA approval at some point, they’ve been able to put that on hold now for decades. Hepamertz is new to me, thanks for mentioning this.

  1. Thanks for the link J! My husband took creatine when he was on ADT to help maintain muscle mass and for energy, and he continues to take it. The methylglyoxal post also discusses its protective role for cardiac mitochondria against methylglyoxal. It is great to see this recent research on another mechanism!

  2. Shanti, it is amazing how numerous are the mechanisms and interactions of cancer with our bodies!
    Cancer mechanisms appear to span the entire range of human biology.
    It is nearly endless.

    The protocol that was used with MG which added in vitamin C, creatine and others did not make a great deal of sense to me.
    What was the creatine doing? The article I cited might offer insight into this.Turbo-charging T-cells with a simple supplement
    would seem a very good anti-cancer strategy. In fact, I would have to think that this would be a very good cancer preventative strategy. Think of all those cancer patients who might have stage 3 cancer (for example, the hundreds of thousands who have learned through the TailorX study that their chemo was not helping them). What would they be able to do for all those years in which their cancer was dormant, though possibly waiting to regrow? Creatine does not seem like a bad choice to have on the shelf. There was some talk about how it might also feed cancer cells, though cycling creatine would still seem a reasonable treatment.
    Will be interested to see whether mice research supports creatine as a cancer preventor.

    1. Yeah, I’m not sure if creatine phosphate helps cancer with energy requirements, the research on that seems mixed, with the Creatine Kinase enzyme showing some impact on regulating cell division.

      There were some concerns with creatine supplements increasing heterocyclic amines, that was pretty much debunked here:

      Then there was a study implicating creatine in testicular cancer., but it is retrospective and doesn’t distinguish creatine impact from other ingredients in muscle building supplements, poorly done and not indicative of an issue, in my opinion.

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