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This past spring the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a phase III clinical trial of creatine and its effects on Parkinson’s disease. Creatine is an over-the-counter nutritional supplement found naturally in the body and in red meat and used by body builders to ‘bulk-up.’

Recruitment is still active in many of the research facilities. The official clinical trial identifier is NCT00449865. You can view the list of facilities involved by following this link.

This is a double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase III study and one of the largest Parkinson’s disease trials to date. It will enroll 1720 people with early-stage Parkinson’s at 51 medical centers in the United States and Canada.

Participants will be in the phase III study for 5-7 years. Patients will be seen by movement disorder specialists.

Previous studies have suggested that it can improve the function of mitochondria, which produce energy inside cells. It also may act as an antioxidant that prevents damage from compounds that are harmful to cells in the brain. In one study genetically designed mice creatine was able to prevent loss of the cells that are typically affected by Parkinson’s disease.