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Creatine May Improve Small Blood Vessel Functioning

A recent study suggests that taking a creatine supplement may help improve heart health by improving microvascular reactivity and capillary density in healthy people.

Microsvascular reactivity allows the circulatory system to adjust blood flow in the smallest blood vessels such as capillaries and venules. Capillary density is a measure of the number of capillaries present. Reduced capillary density occurs in association with cardiovascular risk factors and coronary heart disease.

Participants in the study included 40 moderately active men with an average age of 27.7. All of them were given 20 grams of creatine every day for one week. The researchers used laser speckle contract imaging to assess microvascular reactivity and intra-vital video microscopy to determine skin capillary density and reactivity.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers observed increases in microvascular reactivity, skin capillary density, and capillary recruitment. The researchers also noted significantly lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels when compared to baseline, as well as a mean blood pressure that went from 92.1 mmHG to 89.8 mmHg.

However, no changes in homocysteine levels were seen, although there was an increase in creatine levels and a drop in uric acid plasma levels. These results contrasted with previous research. The researchers believe this is because the participants in this study were healthy young males with healthy homocysteine levels.

The researchers pointed out that the biggest takeaways from the study were that creatine supplementation was associated with better systemic endothelial-dependent microvascular reactivity and reduced blood pressure.

Researchers from the National Institute of Cardiology, the Laboratory of Cardiovascular Investigation, and the School of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, all in Brazil, conducted the study. It was published on December 15, 2014 in Nutrition Journal.

Creatine is one of the most popular sports supplements in the world, as it helps build muscle mass. It is popular with bodybuilders but may also be beneficial for mature adults who are trying to maintain muscle mass as they age. Creatine can be found in red meat or can be taken in supplement form.

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