Direct antioxidant properties of creatine

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2002 Jan 11;290(1):47-52. doi: 10.1006/bbrc.2001.6164.


Creatine is the most popular supplement proposed to be an ergogenic aid. There is some evidence in the literature that creatine supplementation increases lean body mass, muscular strength, and sprint power. However, the efficacy of creatine has not been consistent, and the potential mechanisms are unresolved. While limited evidence that suggests that creatine could possess an antioxidant effect this has not been tested directly. Because oxidants such as free radicals can affect muscle fatigue and protein turnover, it is important to know whether creatine can neutralize free radicals and other reactive oxygen species. We tested the hypothesis that creatine would remove superoxide anions (O(*-)(2)), peroxynitrite (OONO-), hydrogen peroxide, and lipid peroxides (t-butyl hydroperoxide). We also determined whether creatine displayed a significant antioxidant scavenging capacity (ASC) using 2,2'-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazolamine-6-sulfonic acid) (ABTS+) quenching as a marker. Creatine did not significantly reduce levels of hydrogen peroxide or lipid peroxidation. In contrast, creatine displayed a significant ability to remove ABTS+, O(*-)(2), and OONO- when compared with controls. Creatine quenching of ABTS+ was less than physiological levels of reduced glutathione (0.375 mM). To our knowledge, this is the first evidence that creatine has the potential to act as a direct antioxidant against aqueous radical and reactive species ions.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anions / chemistry
  • Anions / metabolism
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Cations
  • Creatine / metabolism*
  • Creatine / pharmacology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Free Radical Scavengers / pharmacology
  • Free Radicals / metabolism
  • Glutathione / pharmacology
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Lipid Peroxidation
  • Molsidomine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Molsidomine / pharmacology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Superoxides / metabolism


  • Anions
  • Antioxidants
  • Cations
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Free Radicals
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Superoxides
  • linsidomine
  • Molsidomine
  • Glutathione
  • Creatine