Creatine & Intelligence

Creatine Provides Energy for Proper Brain Functioning

One of creatine’s best understood ergogenic benefits is that it delays the onset of muscle fatigue. Intriguingly, it now appears that creatine supplementation may also combat mental fatigue. One recent study demonstrated that experimental subjects administered creatine exhibited improved short-term memory and were also better able to problem solve under pressure of time (1). Specifically, the creatine group was better able to repeat back long sequences of numbers from memory. In fact, supplemented individuals also exhibited overall higher IQ (Intelligence Quotient) scores.

Quoting directly from the manuscript:

“Supplementation with creatine significantly increased intelligence compared with placebo.”

Who knows, in the future taking a swig of creatine before a big exam may be an accepted practice among university students.

Cited Scientific Reference:

human intelligence.

Selected Scientific References

Other Studies Demonstrating That Creatine Supplementation Improves Overall Cognitive Function

This study indicates that brain creatine levels improves cognitive resilience during mentally fatiguing tasks.

Watanabe A. et al. (2002) Effect of creatine on mental fatigue and cerebral hemoglobin oxygenation. Neuroscience Research, Volume 42, pages 279–285.

Conversely, it appears that lower brain creatine levels compromises cognitive function. That is, mice lacking the brain form of creatine kinase (the enzyme that converts creatine into phosphocreatine) were slower at learning mazes.

Jost, C. R. (2002) Creatine kinase B-driven energy transfer in the brain is important for habituation and spatial learning behaviour, mossy fibre field size and determination of seizure susceptibility. European Journal of Neuroscience, Volume 115, pages 1692–1706.

As the mice were viable (not totally stupid), it was hypothesized that other forms of creatine kinase, not unique to the brain, my partially compensate for the deficit.

View our page discussing how overactivity of creatine kinase in the brain may also induce states of aggression.

Creatine Supplementation Promotes Brain Health by Reducing Serum Homocysteine Levels

Another avenue via which creatine supplementation may improve cognitive function is by reducing serum homocysteine levels. This aspect of creatine supplementation will be of special importance to the elderly and will be accentuated when combined with folic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6.

Read how creatine may help protect against age-related senescence and dementia.

Finally, Ginkgo biloba is another worthwhile nutritional supplement that maintains good brain health in advanced age.

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