Yep – you heard that right – creatine is not just for muscle building!
Creatine/Brain Injury/ Depression/Woman’s Health
Research has proven that creatine supplementation can improve brain function. Just like with muscles the brain uses creatine as a fuel source.
Brain levels of creatine are affected by aging, depression, schizophrenia, panic disorder and reduced physical activity.
Several studies have shown improved brain function from 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 useful in brain injury such as concussions. During many brain injuries there is a cellular energy crisis induced and creatine is a key energy source.
Creatine also supports mental health and helps with depression. In the review article Creatine Supplementation in Women’s Health: A Lifespan Perspective – authors point out that “dietary creatine intake is inversely proportional with depression occurrence: with a 31 percent greater incidence of depression in adults in the lowest quartile of creatine intake.”
The article goes on to point out several reasons that creatine supplementation can be especially beneficial for woman. For example – woman naturally store only 10 percent as much creatine as men!
The article also points out that “creatine supplementation may be of particular importance during menses, pregnancy, post-partum, during and post-menopause. The menstrual cycle may influence creatine homeostasis due to the cyclical nature of sex hormone regulation.”
Creatine supplementation is especially useful for people who do not eat meat since this is the primary dietary source of creatine, and this is particularly relevant for woman because they are twice as likely as men to say they do not eat meat.
The Benefits of Creatine Supplementation in Seniors
Another group that can reap benefits from creatine supplementation is seniors! With gaining and inactivity muscle wasting and atrophy occurs – particularly in fast-twitch muscle fibers which produce the most force. These are the type of muscle fibers that benefit most from creatine supplementation.
Creatine has been shown to quickly improve muscle strength in conjunction with resistance training significantly more than just resistance training.
Since creatine also improves brain function and memory through improved cellular energy it can produce big benefits all the way around for seniors.
How much creatine to take for benefits?
Creatine intake of 5 grams per day is plenty to reap the benefits. There is science showing that doing loading doses of up to 20 grams per day can speed up benefits but over time 5 grams on a consistent basis is plenty to get all the benefits.
Concerns are often raised over creatine and kidney health – like those raised about protein intake harming the kidneys. This is a myth that simply will not die despite the scientific facts – creatine in moderate doses (like 5 grams per day) does NOT do any damage to normal, healthy individuals with normal kidney function. For the full low down on this myth see this previous blog post: http://workoutanytime.blogspot.com/2018/10/is-creatine-safe-for-your-kidneys.html