How Creatine Benefits Your Brain

Creatine supplements aren’t just for building muscle. Scientists find that taking it can benefit your brain too. This means being able to keep working hard and making good decisions even when you’re really tired and need some sleep. 

This all natural supplement may also help your brain when you’re tired during a workout or competition and need to be able to think clearly to do your best and win. 

Creatine can also help your brain recover faster from the impact it takes during contact sports like football, boxing, and soccer (heading the ball). 

So whether you are an athlete, start-up entrepreneur, or busy Mom who’s juggling the kids, the house, and a career on a daily basis, creatine supplements can help your brain and body.  

Keep reading to learn more about how it can benefit you, the best way to take creatine, and more!

How Does Creatine Help Your Brain?

creatine monohydrate powder

There appears to be several ways that creatine monohydrate may help your brain. The science is so new so we’re just learning how it provides these benefits. I think over the next 2-3 years we’ll learn even more about how this supplement helps.

Here are several ways creatine monohydrate appears to benefit our brain and its functions.

  • It acts as an antioxidant, vacuuming up and getting rid of harmful compounds.
  • Helps more oxygen get to your brain delaying fatigue during stressful times. 
  • Provides a direct source of immediate energy, the same way it does your muscle.
  • Improve your memory and intelligence, especially if you don’t eat meat. 
  • Helps your brain ‘fire’ to help keep your mood consistent and positive. 

Who Creatine Help The Most?

Science shows it can benefit men and women. Vegetarians and women may benefit a little more. This is probably because both groups tend to not eat creatine rich foods (i.e. red meat, pork, chicken, etc.).

Then again, unless you’re on a total carnivore diet and eating more than a pound of red meat a day, it’s likely you’re not getting enough either. That’s why I and millions of others take a creatine supplement (link).

Like I write above, you’ll get the most brain power from creatine when you’re tired or oxygen deprived from a hard workout. 

Think about the times that you’re working hard, trying to solve a problem at work and your brain literally feels tired. Having enough creatine stored up may help you work longer without feeling fatigued. 

You’ll also find creatine helps during a workout or competition that requires you to make quick decisions while pushing yourself physically. One time this can be helpful is when you have to think quickly like during a long tennis rally or who to pass to as you’re running down the court.

When And How Should You Take Creatine To Better Your Brain?

You don’t need to take it any differently than when your goal is to build muscle and strength. 

According to neurologist and creatine researcher Mark Tarnopolsky, MD you need to fully load your body to see results.

Dr. Tarnopolsky states “The brain is a lot harder to load. If you give somebody 3 g of creatine, the muscle will load, and you’ll get about a 15 to 20% increase in muscle total creatine after a month. In the brain, most studies have shown that you’ve got to go to a fairly high level of intake. Some studies have used 20 g, and others of these 10 g to actually load the brain. It takes a lot longer and the relative increase is less. The brain tends to be more resistant to creatine loading.”

In case you aren’t familiar with creatine loading, it means to first take to fill your muscles up with as much as they can store, as quickly as possible. This takes about 5 days. Then, all you need to do is take a small amount daily to keep seeing benefits. Many experts refer to this as ‘creatine loading’.

Here it is in a nutshell.

  • On days 1-5 – take 20 grams a day in 2-4 evenly divided doses (5-10 grams each).
  • From days 6 on – take a single 5 gram serving (1 scoop) a day.

Mix your creatine in a glass of water, or if you prefer in your protein shakes. What you take it with doesn’t matter all that much. Just focus on taking the right amounts every day, especially during the loading phase.

How Long Does It Take To See Benefits From Creatine?

The latest research finds that it takes at least 5-7 days to start seeing brain-boosting benefits from creatine monohydrate. Like Dr. Tarnopolosky states, the brain is difficult to load with creatine. This indicates it’ll take at least a week to start to see results. Maybe even longer, depending on your circumstances. 

Is Creatine Supplement Safe?

Since it became popular as a sports supplement in the 1990’s, creatine’s safety has been examined from every angle. In hundreds of clinical, peer-reviewed studies. Millions of people have taken it too which gives us even more feedback. 

Results from these studies and personal reports find creatine monohydrate to be very safe when used correctly. You can even take it regularly for several years at a time. 

Creatine monohydrate isn’t just safe but is actually shown to be good for your overall health. 

This includes:

  • Making it easier to train hard in the high temperatures.
  • Suffer from less cramps and muscle strains.
  • Be good for your cholesterol and blood lipids.
  • Functioning as an antioxidant and vacuuming up potentially harmful molecules.

What Creatine Supplement Is Best For Your Brain?

creatine monohydrate powder

You should always make sure of a few things to make sure you buy the best product for your needs.

  • Your supplement only uses creatine monohydrate powder. Other types including liquid creatine (link), creatine ethyl ester (CEE) (link) are shown to not work. At all. 
  • It must be made in the USA. Foreign sources of creatine, especially from China, are found to also have heavy metals, other contaminants.
  • Produced in a GMP certified facility. This guarantees it has what’s on the label and nothing else.
  • Has 5 grams of per serving. This makes getting the right amount convenient. 
  • They’re no added ingredients like sugars, BCAAs, etc. In this case, the small amounts added are nothing more than fillers to boost profits while giving you less than an effective dose.

The product I use every day is Creatine Edge. It meets all the requirements listed above. Plus at 500 grams per container, it’ll last 2-3 months. 

What Do The Experts Say About How Creatine Benefits Your Brain?

Below is a brief video where sports scientist Jose Antonio, PhD details several ways creatine can help your brain function optimally. Check it out, it takes less than 2 minutes to watch.

Is There Anyone Whose Brain Won’t Benefit From Creatine?

It’s not that your melon won’t get a boost from creatine at all times. When you aren’t fatigued or low on energy, the creatine you’ve loaded up on won’t be used to make good decisions or think faster.

Remember that what’s important is to have enough creatine available so when you are tired and stressed but need to keep pushing yourself. 

Plus, since it’s also likely to help you get stronger, do more reps and sets, and add lean mass you’ll be getting additional benefits until your brain needs a shot of instant energy when it’s running low.

Conclusion 

Now you know how creatine can benefit your brain. Give it a try for yourself and let us know what it does for you. 

Sources

Avgerinos KI, Spyrou N, Bougioukas KI, Kapogiannis D. Effects of creatine supplementation on cognitive function of healthy individuals: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Exp Gerontol. 2018;108:166-173. 

Borchio L, Machek SB, Machado M. Supplemental creatine monohydrate loading improves cognitive function in experienced mountain bikers. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2020 Aug;60(8):1168-1170.

Marques EP, Wyse ATS. Creatine as a Neuroprotector: an Actor that Can Play Many Parts. Neurotox Res. 2019 Aug;36(2):411-423. 

McMorris T, Harris RC, Swain J, Corbett J, Collard K, Dyson RJ, Dye L, Hodgson C, Draper N. Effect of creatine supplementation and sleep deprivation, with mild exercise, on cognitive and psychomotor performance, mood state, and plasma concentrations of catecholamines and cortisol. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2006 Mar;185(1):93-103. 

Rae C, Digney AL, McEwan SR, Bates TC. Oral creatine monohydrate supplementation improves brain performance: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial. Proc Biol Sci.

Rae CD, Bröer S. Creatine as a booster for human brain function. How might it work? Neurochem Int. 2015 Oct;89:249-59. 

Rawson ES, Lieberman HR, Walsh TM, Zuber SM, Harhart JM, Matthews TC. Creatine supplementation does not improve cognitive function in young adults. Physiol Behav. 2008 Sep 3;95(1-2):130-4. 

Turner CE, Byblow WD, Gant N. Creatine supplementation enhances corticomotor excitability and cognitive performance during oxygen deprivation. J Neurosci. 2015 Jan 28;35(4):1773-80. 

Watanabe A, Kato N, Kato T. Effects of creatine on mental fatigue and cerebral hemoglobin oxygenation. Neurosci Res. 2002 Apr;42(4):279-85.

Posted on