BOCHUM, Germany, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Creatine, a supplement used by weightlifters and sprinters, could lend muscle strength to people with muscular dystrophies, says a German study.
Muscle strength increased by an average of 8.5 percent among patients taking creatine, compared to those who did not use the supplement, according to a review of studies published in The Cochrane Library.
Creatine users also gained an average of 1.4 pounds more lean body mass than non-users.
The evidence from the studies "shows that short- and medium-term creatine treatment improves muscle strength in people with muscular dystrophies and is well-tolerated," said lead reviewer Dr. Rudolf Kley of Ruhr University Bochum in Germany.
Creatine is found naturally in the body, where it helps supply energy to muscle cells. Athletes looking for short bursts of intense strength have used creatine in powders or pills for decades, but the supplement became more popular after the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, when sprinters, rowers and cyclists went public with their creatine regimens, according to Kley.