Creatine

Creatine is a naturally occurring organic acid. Long used as a supplement for bodybuilding, recent studies have shown that creatine provides nootropic benefits as well.

Benefits:

  • Improves working memory [8][10][11]
  • Increases fluid intelligence [8][10][11]
  • Prevents cognitive decline and aids cognitive function in the elderly [9]
  • Improves muscle gain and strength [3][4][5][6][12]
  • Enables muscles to retain strength and size after exercise has ceased [7]

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What Is Creatine?

Creatine is a naturally occurring organic acid. It is used by vertebrates to help supply cells with energy. Specifically, it is synthesized in the human body from L-arginine, glycine, and L-methionine. From there it is transported through the blood to different muscles in the body. It can be consumed naturally through high-protein diets. Body-builders and other athletes seeking to gain muscle mass commonly use creatine supplements to help themselves gain muscle mass.

Even though creatine is very well known for its bodybuilding benefits, it also has some very beneficial nootropic benefits that often go unnoticed. Recent studies have shown that creatine has a beneficial effect on one’s IQ and memory.

Creatine Dosage Information

Studies have shown that doses ranging from 5 – 20 grams per day are completely safe and will not cause any side effects.  [13] When people take creatine for muscle building there is generally a “loading phase”. This consists of a high dose from equal to .3 grams for every kilogram of body weight you have for 5 days.

After the “loading phase”, a “maintenance” phase of 2-5 grams per day for up to one month.

Finally, there is a “washout” phase. This consists of a much lower dose of 500mg – 1 gram per day for a month.

For people who are using creatine for nootropic benefits along with bodybuilding benefits, I would suggest you don’t worry about any of these phases. Instead, it is recommended that you take a 750mg dose 2-3 times per day.

It is also important to note that there are two forms of creatine, monophosphate and ethyl ester. The monophosphate form is more reliable and more often used.

How Does Creatine Work?

  • Creatine plays a very important role in energy homeostasis that takes place in the brain. It allows the brain to produce greater amounts of Adinosine Triphosphate. This gives the brain more fuel, making it work more efficiently and at a faster pace. [8]
  • Creatine increases the muscles’ reserves of phosphocreatine (PCr). This allows muscles to resynthesize ATP at a faster rate giving them more energy. [12]

Safety and Side Effects of Creatine

Multiple studies have shown that creatine is perfectly safe for short-term and long-term use. [1][2][3] Creatine is not an abusive steroid. There are no reported side effects of taking creatine.

Creatine FAQ

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about Creatine. If you have a question that’s not on this list, send it to us at [email protected] and we will answer it for you.

Should I Use Creatine?

Creatine does have some great nootropic properties. However, this isn’t the kind of nootropic you will feel 30 minutes after taking it. Studies have proven that it will increase your intelligence and your memory, but it won’t happen overnight. If you are looking for a nootropic to pop really quick right before a study/work session then you should pass on creatine. For those of you wishing to not only improve your intelligence and pack on some extra muscle, purchase creatine right now. It is not a steroid. There are no side effects. You will gain muscle, and you will get smarter. What’s not to like?

Does Creatine Have Synergy With Other Nootropics?

Even though there has been anecdotal evidence saying Piracetam and Creatine may work in synergy, no studies have been performed to verify the claims.

What Are Some Notable Studies on Creatine?

A study conducted in 2006 looked into creatine’s effect on brain performance in 45 young adults. These volunteers were given either a placebo or a 5-gram dose for six weeks. Afterward, they were subject to memory and intelligence tests. The results of the study concluded that the creatine supplementation had a significant positive effect on not only working memory but also fluid intelligence. [8] Another study connected in 2003 examined creatine’s safety for long term use. The study followed 98 college football players over a 21 months period. Each player was administered an average of 5 grams of creatine per day or a placebo. Blood and urine samples were collected to measure a variety of health metrics. Throughout the entire study, the measured metrics were similar for those taking the placebo and those taking the creatine supplement. The conclusion was that long term creatine use has no adverse effect on health markers in athletes. [1]

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Cited Studies

1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12701816 – creatine is safe for long term use

2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12500988 – creatine is safe for long term use

3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15212742?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=4&log$ =relatedreviews&logdbfrom=pubmed – enhances muscle size while being safe

4.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14636102?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=4&log$ =relatedreviews&logdbfrom=pubmed

5.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12131259?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=2&log$ =relatedarticles&logdbfrom=pubmed – muscle strength

6.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19033611?ordinalpos=8&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

7.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19130643?ordinalpos=2&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

8.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1691485/?tool=pmcentrez –improves brain performance

9.  http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/psych/anec/2007/00000014/00000005/art00005

10.  http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200402/brawn-the-brain – the amount used equals 4 pounds of meat per day

11.  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3145223.stm

12.  Spillane, M; Schoch, R; Cooke, M; Harvey, T; Greenwood, M; Kreider, R; Willoughby, DS. “The effects of creatine ethyl ester supplementation combined with heavy resistance training on body composition, muscle performance, and serum and muscle creatine levels”. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 6: 6. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-6-6. PMC 2649889. PMID 19228401. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pmcentrez&artid=2649889.

13.  Bizzarini E, De Angelis L (December 2004). “Is the use of oral creatine supplementation safe?”. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 44 (4): 411–6. PMID 15758854.