Creatine-Phosphocreatine (PCR) Shuttle and Infertility
A supplement recently gaining traction online and various fertility discussion groups is Creatine for the treatment of infertility. Creatine is a valuable substrate as a part of the creatine-phosphocreatine (PCR) shuttle for energy production. The enzyme creatine kinase (CK) can help with the conversion of PCR to creatine and vice-versa for the production of cellular energy (ATP).
ATP+ Creatine <----------CK-----------> Phosphocreatine + ADP
Why has it been suggested the creatine is essential for reproductive function?
Sperm cells are particularly resilient in meeting both fluctuating and very high energy demand. The PCR shuttle is hypothesized to be an important contributing factor for the energy (ATP) production inside sperm cells.
In general, there have been various studies observing the impact of dietary choices on sperm-factor fertility. Where the western diet has been associated with reduced fertility and plant-based diets, Mediterranean diet and specific nutrients have been observed to improve sperm-factor fertility.
However, the research behind creatine supplementation to support fertility is still limited. Most of the research is still in vitro or limited to animal studies. Both of which have shown some promising early results. One human trial found that patients who supplemented with creatine tended to have high sperm health parameters.
Should patients with Infertility try Creatine supplements?
The research is insufficient to draw any conclusions on whether supplementing with creating beyond dietary doses is of any significant benefit. However, there are various studies that have established a very high safety profile for creatine supplementation in both short-term and long-term trials (upwards of 5 years with daily supplementation) in already healthy patients.
It is important to speak with your licensed healthcare provider prior to starting any new treatments to confirm safety for your individual care plan.
Ostojic, S. M., Stea, T. H., & Engeset, D. (2022). Creatine as a promising component of paternal preconception diet. Nutrients, 14(586).
This article is being shared as educational content and is in no way a replacement for medical advice or medical care, it is advised that anyone concerned about their Health should speak with their Naturopathic Doctor. Please discuss with your healtcare provider and only make changes to your medications regimen if recommended by your doctor and under their guidance and supervision.