Your Brain on Creatine: Key Things You Should Know
Creatine, along with whey protein and amino acids, is undoubtedly one of the world’s most popular sports supplements. Its effects on the body and the brain are so well documented that the bro-scientists floating around on the internet have all but been muted. There are many posts on bodybuilding forums that make wild claims, most of which, completely unsubstantiated by scientific research. Some say that creatine makes you bald. Others say that it makes you very aggressive. In this article, we’ll debunk the popular myths surrounding creatine and we’ll share the claims that originate from actual studies done by actual scientists, what you should look for when it comes to creatine effects, and explain some effects on the brain.
What Does Science Show Us?Creatine is a natural organic compound that exists in food and is consumed by humans regularly, but supplementing it has many benefits for people looking to increase muscle mass and performance output. Creatine has a positive effect on your body and musculature. It normally causes a quick increase in weight due to an increase of the fluid in cells. When creatine supplements enter the body, they convert into Creatine phosphate. The additional supplementation of creatine phosphate aids the creation of adenosine triphosphate. Adenosine triphosphate provides the necessary energy that’s used for muscle contractions. In layman’s terms, creatine helps you build muscle and improve your gym performance. It’s in essence the fuel system for short term, repeated bursts of energy. There is also such a thing as brain creatine. Creatine stored in the brain aids cognition, meaning that creatine has a profusely positive effect on cognitive performance. Creatine might also aid brain health by acting as necessary neuroprotection. Supplementing creatine might improve short-term memory capabilities, augment a person’s intelligence, and positively affect their reasoning capabilities. Creatine does not affect testosterone levels in the same way that anabolic steroids do, so the myth that it causes or can increase aggression is completely false.
What Are the Best Studies to Take a Look At?There are many studies available on the internet that debunk all sorts of popular myths surrounding creatine. The issue with this is, an average person doesn’t have the slightest idea of how to find a reputable, reliable, scientific study that they can base their opinion on. Worry not, as we’ve dug through a lot of research to compile a couple of the best creatine studies that show just how beneficial this supplement can be to the body, the brain, and your overall health.
1. Effects of creatine supplementation on cognition of healthy individualsThis is a systematic review of creatine and its effect on the cognition of several healthy individuals who have undergone creatine supplementation.
2. Creatine (Nutrition and Traumatic Brain Injury: Improving Acute and Subacute Health Outcomes in Military Personnel)Unlike the prior research, this one is more general when it comes to creatine’s effects on the body and the mind. It goes over all of the fundamental effects of creatine.
3. The influence of creatine supplementation on the cognitive functioning of vegetarians and omnivoresA significant portion of the fitness world is going meat-free and thus isn’t consuming creatine in their food. This study highlights the effects of creatine supplementation for both vegetarians and omnivores.
4. Creatine as a booster for human brain function – how might it work?In this study, all of the potential effects creatine has on the human brain function are covered in detail.
5. Beyond muscle: the effects of creatine supplementation on brain creatine, cognitive processing, and traumatic brain injuryThat is one of the more interesting and intricate studies on the brain’s creatine effect, which explores everything from cognitive processing to creatine effect on traumatic brain injury recovery.
What to Look for When It Comes to the Effects of CreatineIt would be best if you looked for different things based on why you’re taking the creatine in the first place. A lot of people nowadays don’t take creatine for its benefits in muscle building, rather for its effects on the brain. If you’re considering taking creatine, you should use it for all it has to offer, which includes both the body and brain benefits, respectively. Creatine has, over the years been through numerous iterations with companies attempting to find a ‘superior’ version. Ultimately most of these alternative forms have fallen by the wayside and once again creatine monohydrate remains the champion. When it comes to creatine’s effects, you’ll need to build up the creatine levels in your body first. A lot of people lobby for a loading phase, which doesn’t really have any research to support it. In a nutshell, the proven effects of creatine are:
- Improved athletic performance
- Larger muscular volume
- Augmented cognitive and brain function
- Lowered blood sugar levels
- Decreased DOMS and fatigue