Creatine and Cognition
The brain uses approximately 20% of the body’s supply of creatine just to think effectively. Creatine provides the energy the neurons need and helps to increase the amount of available energy to the brain, therefore increasing the power of the brain. It also plays a role in increasing dopamine levels and mitochondrial function – both of which impact cognitive ability. Creatine has been used in studies for neurodegeneration conditions (e.g. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntingdon’s, and ALS diseases) since researchers now believe that cellular energy is key to improving outcomes in these conditions.
Boost Brain Performance with Creatine
There is growing evidence to support that short-term memory and reasoning may be improved by creatine supplementation. Creatine’s main function is to immediately supply energy to tissues with increased energy demands, such as the muscles and the brain. It 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 (ATP) and its regulator, adenosine diphosphate (ADP).
Increasing ATP for Cognitive Performance
The brain requires a significant amount of ATP when performing difficult cognitive tasks. Supplementing with creatine can increase phosphocreatine stores in your brain to help it produce more ATP and thereby function at a higher level. Creatine may also aid brain function by increasing dopamine levels and mitochondrial function.
Abnormal levels of dopamine can lead to a decline in cognitive functions, specifically memory, attention, and problem-solving. Mitochondria help maintain healthy brain function by fueling neuron energy and controlling the balance of potentially toxic byproducts of cellular metabolism. Mitochondria also help to control the synthesis of stress hormones like cortisol. Elevated cortisol is associated with poorer overall cognitive functioning including memory, executive function, and processing speed. Chronic high cortisol may also damage the hippocampus and, overtime, may lead to the development of dementia.
Providing energy to the brain through creatine supplementation can allow individuals to not only maintain their cognitive health, but also to boost performance in memory and reasoning.