Creatine supplements are underused for brain and muscle performance


We hear a lot about different mitochondrial boosting supplements like carnitine and coQ10, but I think creatine supplementation is often overlooked and can be very beneficial (and cheap!).

Creatine has many uses including neurological disease, diabetes and cognition.

Creatine is a peptide molecule that the human body can use for energy.
Muscles need fuel to work. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the primary source of energy for cells. ATP comes from a variety of sources, including sugars like glucose.
Some activities, like lifting weights, quickly use up ATP. Exhausted ATP becomes adenosine diphosphate (ADP). Since creatine is stored in the body as creatine phosphate, it can provide a phosphate group for the ADP, which quickly regenerates the ADP into emergency ATP.
Creatine is a good source of energy because it kicks in when your body needs it.

Studies show that it also improves brain performance,

Creatine supplementation is in widespread use to enhance sports-fitness performance, and has been trialled successfully in the treatment of neurological, neuromuscular and atherosclerotic disease. Creatine plays a pivotal role in brain energy homeostasis, being a temporal and spatial buffer for cytosolic and mitochondrial pools of the cellular energy currency, adenosine triphosphate and its regulator, adenosine diphosphate.

In this work, we tested the hypothesis that oral creatine supplementation (5 g d(-1) for six weeks) would enhance intelligence test scores and working memory performance in 45 young adult, vegetarian subjects in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over design. Creatine supplementation had a significant positive effect (p < 0.0001) on both working memory (backward digit span) and intelligence (Raven's Advanced Progressive Matrices), both tasks that require speed of processing. These findings underline a dynamic and significant role of brain energy capacity in influencing brain performance.

Vegetarians are almost always deficient in creatine as well and supplementation is particularly crucial in this population.

The doses used are typically around 5g/day. I don't personally see a need for loading doses that are often recommended by bodybuilders.

If you've tried this, let us know how it went!


A bit of background first. I've tried just about every prescription drug that has been mentioned for ME/CFS. About a year ago I decided that none worked particularly well, had undesirable side effects and after gradually increasing dosages eventually stopped working. I stopped using all drugs, including simple pain medications. My go-to solution was to spend time in bed in a quiet room. I also continue to exercise a lot and maintain a surprisingly high level of activity. In other words, at this point I'm very drug and complimentary therapy averse.

I started taking Coenzyme Q10 (600-1000 mg a day) and creatine (15-20 g a day). I'm still taking them four months later because I believe they work. I have a lot more mental clarity and far more ability to think creatively. I've been consistently able to do small amounts of computer programming after a hiatus of several years. I feel like these supplements have passed my placebo elation distrust.

I don't find it affects me as much physically. I'd say more in terms of having mental energy to get moving, but the physical downtimes haven't changed.

My dosages are definitely far more into the weightlifter loading range. The rationale was

1) Creatine is cheap
2) If there is a consistent ATP deficiency due to anaerobic metabolism kicking in too much, it make sense to use a higher than normal dosage.
3) There doesn't seem to be a toxic limit to creatine, so being above regular dosage (but not crazy) isn't a problem

I wouldn't say my routine has made me anywhere near normal, but I'm in a far better state than I was a year or two ago.

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