Yes – you heard that right – creatine isn’t just for muscle building!

Creatine/brain injury/depression/female health

Research has shown that creatine supplementation can improve brain function. As with muscles, the brain uses creatine as a fuel source.

Creatine levels in the brain are affected by aging, depression, schizophrenia, panic disorder and decreased physical activity.

Several studies have shown improved brain function through creatine supplementation. A 2018 systemic review examined 6 of these studies and concluded that creatine can indeed improve short-term memory, intelligence and reasoning.

Creatine has also been shown to be especially helpful in brain injuries such as concussions. During many brain injuries, a cellular energy crisis is triggered and creatine is an important source of energy.

Creatine also supports mental health and helps with depression. In the review article Creatine supplementation in women’s health: a life expectancy – authors point out that “dietary creatine intake is inversely related to the occurrence of depression: with a 31% higher incidence of depression in adults in the lowest quartile of creatine intake.”

The article goes on to point out several reasons why creatine supplementation may be particularly beneficial for women. For example – women naturally only store 10% as much creatine as men!

The article also points out that “creatine supplementation may be of particular importance during menstruation, pregnancy, postpartum, during and after menopause. The menstrual cycle may affect creatine homeostasis due to the cyclical nature of sex hormone regulation.”

Creatine supplementation is especially helpful for those who do not eat meat as it is the primary dietary source of creatine, and this is especially relevant for women as they are twice as likely as men to say they are not eating meat.

The benefits of creatine supplementation in seniors

Another group that can benefit from creatine supplementation are seniors! With increase and inactivity, muscle breakdown and atrophy occurs – especially in rapidly contracting muscle fibers that produce the most force. These are the type of muscle fibers that benefit most from creatine supplementation.

Creatine has been shown to rapidly improve muscle strength when combined with strength training, significantly more than strength training alone.

Since creatine also improves brain function and memory through improved cellular energy, it may have major benefits for seniors.

How Much Creatine To Take For Benefits?

Creatine intake of 5 grams per day is enough to reap the benefits. There is science showing that doing loading doses of up to 20 grams per day can accelerate the benefits, but over time, 5 grams on a consistent basis is enough to get all the benefits.

Creatine Safety

Concerns are often raised about the health of creatine and the kidneys, such as those about protein intake that is harmful to the kidneys. This is a myth that just won’t die despite the scientific facts – creatine in moderate doses (such as 5 grams per day) does NO harm to normal, healthy individuals with normal kidney function. For the full rundown on this myth, see this previous blog post:

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