PloS one

The effect of the creatine analogue beta-guanidinopropionic acid on energy metabolism: a systematic review.

PMID 23326362


Creatine kinase plays a key role in cellular energy transport. The enzyme transfers high-energy phosphoryl groups from mitochondria to subcellular sites of ATP hydrolysis, where it buffers ADP concentration by catalyzing the reversible transfer of the high-energy phosphate moiety (P) between creatine and ADP. Cellular creatine uptake is competitively inhibited by beta-guanidinopropionic acid. This substance is marked as safe for human use, but the effects are unclear. Therefore, we systematically reviewed the effect of beta-guanidinopropionic acid on energy metabolism and function of tissues with high energy demands. We performed a systematic review and searched the electronic databases Pubmed, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, and LILACS from their inception through March 2011. Furthermore, we searched the internet and explored references from textbooks and reviews. After applying the inclusion criteria, we retrieved 131 publications, mainly considering the effect of chronic oral administration of beta-guanidinopropionic acid (0.5 to 3.5%) on skeletal muscle, the cardiovascular system, and brain tissue in animals. Beta-guanidinopropionic acid decreased intracellular creatine and phosphocreatine in all tissues studied. In skeletal muscle, this effect induced a shift from glycolytic to oxidative metabolism, increased cellular glucose uptake and increased fatigue tolerance. In heart tissue this shift to mitochondrial metabolism was less pronounced. Myocardial contractility was modestly reduced, including a decreased ventricular developed pressure, albeit with unchanged cardiac output. In brain tissue adaptations in energy metabolism resulted in enhanced ATP stability and survival during hypoxia. Chronic beta-guanidinopropionic acid increases fatigue tolerance of skeletal muscle and survival during ischaemia in animal studies, with modestly reduced myocardial contractility. Because it is marked as safe for human use, there is a need for human data.

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3-Guanidinopropionic acid