T Nation

ulceritive colitis and creatine


Hello every one, I was recently diagnosed with a mild case of ulcerative colitis, I haven?t been to the gym for about a month, and prior to my colitis my pancreas was inflamed, resulting to no protein/fat intake. So basically I?m just getting better and want to start training again. I was wondering if it would be ok to take creatine and protein shakes although I have ulcerative colitis, your help would be much appreciated.




I have a medically controlled case of colitis that I've been battling for about 6 years now. I haven't had a flare-up in over 2 years. I'm on sulfasalazine continuously, and take a short course of prednisone for flare-ups.

Over time, you'll figure out what your triggers are. Mine is basically a few nights of way too little sleep. If I get less than 4 hours a noght for 4 nights in a row, I can pretty much guarantee I'll have at least a mild flare-up within 5 days. Once you learn your triggers, it's fairly easy to control.

Current quality of creatine is much better than just a few years ago (when "intestinal distress" was common). You MAY be able to get away with it. But I wouldn't try to start it until you're stable. Then start on low dosages and guage your reactions. If you see ANY signs of smptoms, discontinue immediately.

Protein shakes shouldn't be any problem.


Ask your doctor.

Colitis alone is no reason to avoid protein. But don't go overboard. Protein shakes tend to speed digestive processes, a problem you may already have to deal with.

Lay off the creatine.



Adam, UC may be a bit beyond the scope of the T/N forum. Not that we don't want to help, but UC "triggers" vary from person to person. What one can handle will cause a flare-up in another. Your needs for protein are probably higher than the average athlete because of all the repair and rebuilding going on and also because of transit times during flare-ups. But some protein sources may aggravate your condition rather than help it.

That doesn't mean you should give up, but maybe expand your search and try different things. Mike Mahler uses rice protein to meet protein requirements, if I remember correctly. Some blood types respond well to soy protein. And for people who don't tolerate cow whey well, there's always goat whey.

Re the creatine, like anyone with UC, about all you can do is see how your body responds. But I agree with Brider. Wait until you're in remission; i.e., not in the middle of a flare-up.

Quick note, there has been some research on the anti-inflammatory effects of fish oil on UC. No consensus in medical circles, but it's worth a shot! Once again, start with smaller amounts and work your way up.

Since UC is thought (in some circles) to be triggered by food allergies, I'd strongly recommend that you read, "Eat Right 4 Your Type" and "Live Right 4 Your Type." It's well worth the read.

Good luck to you!!!


BTW -- Julieanne White (ex pro triathlete) has a great site www.semicolon.org that has a lot of good info. Worth checking out. I think there's even some info on fish oil and UC.


Thank you so much for your help, i will definatly check out those sites


well, all i know is that cratine IS a protein and that it's supplementation leaves some sort of nitrogen wastes(azote in french...sorry can't seem to find the translation)in the digestive track. Glutamine is supposed to help eliminate those wastes.So maybe you should think about supplementing with glutamine and creatine.
But don't take my word for it...look it up.

Hope this'll help ya out


I had a nasty case of UC a couple years ago. I had to have the colon removal surgery because it was so bad. I took protein shakes and creatine and I believe it helped retain some weight on me. I think some fish oil might help since it helps control inflammation.


What Tampa-Terry said.

I lived with it for several years like you, brider, and was also on the same type medication as you. Lots of stress triggered my flare-ups, as did a go around with the Atkins Diet.

One spark of hope - most literature will lead you to believe that you have to live with it forever, and that your chances of developing colon cancer may actually increase over the years.

That's not necessarily true. Mine is now completely gone. Last colonoscopy revealed that the entire colon is totally clean with no sign of any type of irregularity, and it's been like that for the last 3 years.

Made me happy...

Oh, 1 T of flax oil taken three times a day with a protein drink really seemed to help me.


Adam: I got hit with UC back around '93. Did the usual regimen of Asacol and Prednisone which was effective in controlling it. Had a couple of flare-ups over the next 2 years or so. (Put into remission each time by drug therapy.) I also used about 8 to 10 grams of glutamine per day. I certainly don't think that glutamine alone can handle an acute stage but, I do think it can be helpful in the long haul. I definitely agree with Mike that stress and emotions can be a big factor.

I maintain a very high nutrient intake (Life Ext. Mix for one), a few grams of glutamine, fish and flax oil , and Low Carb Grow! of course. I use creatine too but don't really know whether it would be contraindicated during the active phase of UC. It would seem that since creatine is so involved in proper cellular function that it might be beneficial but, this is hard to know for sure.

As has already been said, don't despair, you can beat it. I haven't had a recurrence for about 8 years now and don't feel that I ever will be troubled by this again.

Also please check out the Life Extension Foundation's protocols. They're one of the best sources of information including both standard medical treatments and alternative/nutritional approaches.



Just figured I'd pass this along.

"Life Extension Weekly Update Exclusive
Curcumin may be effective treatment for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are inflammatory bowel diseases characterized by abdominal pain, digestive difficulty, diarrhea or constipation and recurrent bowel ulceration. The July 2003 issue of the American Physiological Society journal, Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, published the findings of Canadian researchers that curcumin, a derivative of the common spice turmeric, may be a well-tolerated and effective therapy for these diseases.
The researchers induced inflammatory bowel disease in mice, some of whom had been pretreated with curcumin for five days. Following induction of IBD, the mice were weighed daily for five days, after which their colons were examined. The investigators found that mice that had been treated with curcumin had less weight loss and better intestinal cell function than the untreated mice. Examination of colon wall cells showed greater mucosal ulceration, thickening of the walls and infiltration of inflammatory cells in untreated compared to treated mice.
Previous research has pointed to activation of the transcription factor NF-B in Crohn’s disease, which is involved in the production of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines. The reduction in NF-B DNA binding found in the curcumin treated animals in the current study proved that curcumin inhibits NF- B activation in the colon.
The study utilized a dietary concentration of 0.25 percent curcumin to obtain benefits, yet curcumin’s safety has been demonstrated at levels as high as 10 percent. Although the researchers are uncertain in regard to the mechanism of action of curcumin in IBD, they suggest that a combination of its free radical scavenging ability and its effect on NF-B as well as other activities may be responsible for its benefits. They propose that curcumin may have implications for managing inflammatory bowel disease in humans, which currently afflicts approximately two million Americans."


Snipe, thanks for posting that. There is no source I respect more highly than the LEF. (Not to mention the fact that they have one of the best multi-vitamins I've ever run across!)

The LEF is always coming up with new, cutting edge therapies, and they draw from the best of all possible resources; proven European therapies, traditional, alternative.


T-T, I agree with you 100% regarding LEF. I know you've mentioned them frequently as have I.

I hope people realize that not only is the Life Extension Foundation a terrific source of information but, has been at the forefront in the longtime battles against the FDA and governmental restrictions of our supplement freedoms.