Should people facing Huntington’s disease take creatine and other supplements to relieve or prevent symptoms?
I saw HD inexorably destroy my mother’s ability to walk, talk, and care for herself. She died eight years ago this month. I tested positive for HD in 1999 and since then have worried daily about when it will strike.
There is no treatment to slow HD’s devastation of the brain. So I’ve been open to taking supplements that might help.
In early 1996, just shortly after learning of my mother’s diagnosis, I started taking coenzyme Q-10 (Co-Q), a vitamin-like substance found throughout our bodies and seen by researchers as a possible way to help remedy the energy deficits suffered in HD.
In 2004, when Dr. LaVonne Goodman introduced a “treatment now” regimen and clinical trial of safe supplements that had shown promising results in animal testing, I jumped at the chance to participate. I was the only presymptomatic individual in the small, three-year study, run under the auspices of Dr. Goodman’s Huntington’s Disease Drug Works(HDDW).
Starting in 2005, I introduced the supplements into my diet in steps. I worked up to a daily routine in which I took 75 grams of trehalose, a sugar that seems to help the brain clear cellular debris; 600 mg of medical-gradeCo-Q; two g of omega-3 oil; two g of blueberry extract; and ten g of medical-grade creatine. The trial paid for and delivered the supplements.
The trial did not show significant improvement for any of the symptomaticparticipants. “The only thing that appeared to be helpful was trehalose,” Dr. Goodman said in a February 9 phone interview. Today, almost a decade later, the supplements remain medically unproven to affect HD.
Nevertheless, scientists still think that trehalose, Co-Q, and creatine might still provide help in treating HD. Since the end of the HDDW, I have continued to take all of the supplements, spending about $2,000 per year. In fact, several years ago, relying on medical advice, I roughly doubled my daily intake of creatine to about 20 g.
I get semi-annual blood tests to monitor potential kidney damage, which creatine can cause. I also drink plenty of water throughout the day to prevent dehydration, which can occur at doses higher than 10 g. Creatine also can cause weight gain.
Source: At Risk for Huntington’s Disease