Creatine Monohydrate Supplementation in Young, Healthy Vegetarian Adults and Its Effect on Brown Adipose Tissue Activation


Pre-clinical studies indicate that creatine may play a substantial role in diet-induced thermogenesis and may have a profound effect on energy balance. A recent retrospective study of BAT activation on PET-CT scans in humans showed a positive association with the estimated renal creatinine clearance and BAT activation, possibly linking creatine metabolism in humans to BAT activity. In humans, so far little options are available to activate brown adipose tissue. The most potent intervention to activate BAT is via cold, which has previously been shown to have metabolic effects in humans. Provided the potential health benefits of brown adipose tissue activation in humans, and provided the role of brown fat in diet induced thermogenesis, we here aim to determine whether creatine monohydrate supplementation can increase diet-induced thermogenesis and activate brown adipose tissue in humans.

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: Randomized
    • Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Basic Science
    • Masking: Double (Participant, Investigator)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: December 31, 2019


  • Dietary Supplement: Creatine monohydrate
    • 5 grams of creatine monohydrate, four times daily, for 9 consecutive days.

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Active Comparator: Creatine monohydrate
  • Placebo Comparator: Placebo

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • Brown adipose tissue activation
    • Time Frame: Day 10 of protocol
    • SUVmean and SUVmax

Secondary Measures

  • Diet-induced thermogenesis
    • Time Frame: Day 8 of protocol
    • whole body energy expenditure in kJ/kg/min
  • PCr Recovery
    • Time Frame: Day 9 of protocol
    • Halftime

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

  • Male or female;
  • 18 to 30 years of age;
  • Consuming a vegetarian diet;
  • BMI 20-25 kg/m2.

Exclusion Criteria

  • Not meeting all inclusion criteria;
  • Non-vegetarian diet;
  • Excessive alcohol and/or drug abuse;
  • Significant allergies or intolerances concerning the study products;
  • Participation in another biomedical study within 1 month before the first study visit, possibly interfering with the study results;
  • Medication use known to hamper subject's safety during the study procedures;
  • Subjects with contra-indications for MRI and/or PET-CT;
  • Subjects who do not want to be informed about unexpected medical findings;
  • Subjects who do not want that their treating physician to be informed;
  • Co-morbidities to which the intervention or program that may pose as a complicating factor;
  • Inability to participate and/or complete the required measurements;
  • PET-CT scan in the last 12 months.

Gender Eligibility: All

Minimum Age: 18 Years

Maximum Age: 30 Years

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • Maastricht University
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Principal Investigator: Patrick Schrauwen, Prof. Dr. – Maastricht University

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