Creatine May Improve Memory & Intelligence

In a recent study sponsored by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council and published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 5 grams of creatine taken daily improved working memory and intelligence, both tasks that require speed of mental processing.

“The level of creatine chosen was 5 grams/day as this is a level that has previously been shown to increase brain creatine levels. This level is comparable to that taken to boost sports fitness,” lead author Caroline Rae, from the University of Sydney in Australia, said in a news release.

The study was conducted using vegetarians because meat eaters obtain some creatine in their diet depending on the type and amount of meat they eat. To get 5 grams of creatine though from eating meat alone would require eating almost a pound of meat a day.

Previous studies have shown that using creatine can increase sports performance. Dr. Rae pointed out that creatine also plays a pivotal role in maintaining energy levels in the brain. “It was a reasonable hypothesis that supplementing a diet with creatine could assist brain function.”

The research study looked at 45 young adult who were given  5 grams of creatine daily for a period of six weeks, then six weeks of none, and then six more weeks of an alternate (placebo) supplement. Creatine had a noticeably positive effect compared with placebo on both working memory, as measured with the backward digit span test, and on intelligence, as measured with the Ravens Advanced Progressive Matrices.

“The results were clear with both of our experimental groups, and in both test scenarios; creatine supplementation gave a significant measurable boost to brain power,” said Dr. Rae. “Increasing the energy available for brain computation increases the power of the brain and this is reflected directly in improving general ability.”

Long term use of creatine may have other potential negative effects, including adversely effecting blood sugar levels, as well as effecting one’s body odor. “To be frank, taking the supplement can make you a considerably less ‘fragrant’ person,” says Dr. Rae.

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Dr. Gnap

Dr. Gnap is a family practice physician and behavioral medicine specialist in suburban Chicago.  Dr. Gnap developed the Inner Control™ Program in 1970 and has worked with thousands of people to improve and correct medical, emotional, behavioral and learning problems including performance.  He started the Inner Control program because so many patients asked, “what more can be done along with traditional treatment methods?”

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