No evidence for brown adipose tissue activation after creatine supplementation in adult vegetarians

N.J. Connell, D. Doligkeit, C. Andriessen, E. Kornips-Moonen, Y.M.H. Bruls, V.B. Schrauwen-Hinderling, T. van de Weijer, W.D. van Marken Lichtenbelt, B. Havekes, L. Kazak, B.M. Spiegelman, J. Hoeks, P. Schrauwen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Web of Science)


Creatine availability is known to affect creatine-driven thermogenesis in mice. Here Connell et al. report data from a clinical trial in which daily creatine supplementation, perhaps surprisingly, did not alter thermogenesis in adults with otherwise low dietary creatine intake.Creatine availability in adipose tissue has been shown to have profound effects on thermogenesis and energy balance in mice. However, whether dietary creatine supplementation affects brown adipose tissue (BAT) activation in humans is unclear. In the present study, we report the results of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial (NCT04086381) in which 14 young, healthy, vegetarian adults, who are characterized by low creatine levels, received 20 g of creatine monohydrate per day or placebo. Participants were eligible if they met the following criteria: male or female, white, aged 18-30 years, consuming a vegetarian diet (>= 6 months) and body mass index 20-25 kg m(-2). BAT activation after acute cold exposure was determined by calculating standard uptake values (SUVs) acquired by [F-18]fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography-magnetic resonance imaging. BAT volume (-31.32 (19.32) SUV (95% confidence interval (CI) -73.06, 10.42; P = 0.129)), SUVmean (-0.34 (0.29) SUV (95% CI -0.97, 0.28; P = 0.254)) and SUVmax (-2.49 (2.64) SUV (95% CI -8.20, 3.21; P = 0.362)) following acute cold exposure were similar between placebo and creatine supplementation. No side effects of creatine supplementation were reported; one participant experienced bowel complaints during placebo, which resolved without intervention. Our data show that creatine monohydrate supplementation in young, healthy, lean, vegetarian adults does not enhance BAT activation after acute cold exposure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-117
Number of pages15
JournalNature Metabolism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • accumulation
  • diet
  • energy-expenditure
  • fatty-acid
  • glucose
  • metabolism
  • muscle creatine
  • phosphocreatine
  • skeletal-muscle
  • thermogenesis
  • DIET

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