Creatine Supplementation Enhances Memory Function In Healthy Adults of All Ages
Source: Exp Gerontology (2018)
Lifestyle Medicine Update (September 22, 2021)
Many young athletic individuals use creatine supplementation to complement their training, as it has been shown to enhance muscle and lean mass development, strength gains, and explosive strength and power development. What is less well known is that creatine is also used by the heart muscle, where it helps the heart generate more energy. As such, creatine supplementation has been used to complement the management of certain heart ailments, such as congestive heart failure. The brain also relies on creatine for energy production and to support and maintain the integrity of brain cells and related nerve cells throughout the body. Some studies have shown that creatine supplementation improves memory function in vegans, who typically ingest less creatine from food than omnivores. As well, individuals with genetic problems, where creatine synthesis is impaired, manifest mental dysfunction, described as global developmental delay, and intellectual disability.
These mental dysfunction problems are reversed if these individuals are provided with daily creatine supplementation. We have also seen that higher brain concentrations of creatine have been proven to enhance performance in cognitive tasks such as recognition memory. In fact, a number of studies in recent years have been undertaken to assess the effects of creatine supplementation on memory function in healthy individuals across various age groups. In July 2018, the journal of Experimental Gerontology published a review paper, which summarized the outcomes of these studies. In total six studies were deemed worthy of being included, which involved a total of 281 individuals. As the researchers stated, “Generally, there was evidence that short-term memory and intelligence/reasoning may be improved by creatine administration. Vegetarians responded better than meat-eaters in memory tasks. Their conclusion included these statements, “Oral creatine administration may improve short-term memory and intelligence/reasoning of healthy individuals.” “Findings suggest potential benefit for aging and stressed individuals.” They went on to remark that creatine supplementation is very safe and that based on these impressive findings more intensive studies examining the effects of creatine supplementation in patients with dementia and early Alzheimer’s disease should be undertaken as soon as possible.
In the meantime, it is encouraging to note that a study published back in 2007 indicated that creatine supplementation helps cognition in the elderly. Elderly subjects in this study took 5-gm supplement (1 teaspoon of creatine powder) 4 times a week before taking spatial and number tests. Their performance was improved. In my view, most adults, and especially older individuals, should consider taking at least 5 gm (1 teaspoon) of creatine monohydrate powder each day to help support and preserve brain and memory function over their lifetime. Creatine supplementation also helps to prevent age-related muscle loss and weakness that catches up with many people as they age, rendering them less functional, and more prone to falls and related fractures and head injuries. Creatine supplementation also helps the heart generate needed energy so it can continue to pump with optimal efficiency. Creatine powder (which, essentially no taste) can be stirred into juice or mixed into a protein shake or smoothy quite easily. I typically have 2 teaspoons of creatine with my morning breakfast shake, 4-5 times per week.
I have included the references for this information in the text below.
1. Avgerinos K.I. Effects of creatine supplementation on cognitive function of healthy individuals: A systemic review of randomized controlled trials. Exp Gerontol, July 2018 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6093191/
2. Creatine and Dementia – Is there a link? READEMENTIA (April 29, 2021) https://readementia.com/creatine-and-dementia/
Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,
Dr. James Meschino
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.