Creatine is widely known as a muscle supplement that assists men in getting bigger and stronger, faster. However new research has revealed it may also assist women who are suffering from depression.

Researchers from three universities in South Korea and the University of Utah, discovered that women who suffer from major depressive disorder responded twice as fast to their daily antidepressant when combined with five grams of creatine.

The study which lasted for eight-weeks, evaluated 52 South Korean women between the ages of 19-65. Twenty-five women combined creatine with the antidepressant Lexapro, while 27 were given a placebo. Researchers interviewed participants at the beginning of the trial, as well as at the two, four and eight week mark. They used three measures to evaluate the severity of depression.

Results demonstrated that women who received creatine displayed a higher improvement rate at the two and four week mark. At the end of the trial, half of the women in the creatine group displayed no signs of depression.

According to senior study author Perry F. Renshaw, M.D., Ph.D, M.B.A, USTAR professor of psychiatry at the University of Utah Medical School, the ultimate goal is getting people to feel better, faster.

Creatine is an amino acid made in the human liver, kidneys, and pancreas. It is also found in meat and fish. Inside the body it is converted into phosphocreatine and stored in muscle. During high physical activity, phosphocreatine is converted into ATP, an important energy source for cells. For this reason, creatine has become a popular supplement among bodybuilders and athletes who are trying to add muscle mass or improve athletic ability.

It can be found in a variety of flavored powders. It also increases the ability for the body to produce energy rather quickly, allowing athletes to train hard and producing faster results.

This study was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.