Creatine is a supplement used by body builders and athletes in order to improve muscle function and muscle energy during a workout. However creatine has also been studied for its effects on cognitive function and neurological function.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is an amino acid synthesized by the kidneys, liver and Pancreas. Usually we are able to obtain creatine from natural food sources like meat, eggs and fish, however Vegetarians and Vegans who supplement on creatine can get the benefits without animal cruelty.
Creatine is stored in the body in a storage form called phosphocreatine and is critical for creating an energy molecule ATP (adenosine triphosphate) this ATP is a source of energy that is synthesized by your brain cells in order to generate energy. And if you can generate energy in the brain it helps to boost your thinking. This energy molecule is what keeps us alive and what keeps us going or moving forward.
Without creatine to recharge the ATP out bodies become starved of energy and are unable to recharge their energy functionality. Usually with out busy schedules and workloads the stores of creatine are easy to run out and we end up feeling mentally burnt out and starved.
Should vegans and vegetarians supplement on creatine?
Creatine is not an essential amino acid and is produced by our bodies. However plant material or protein might take longer to regenerate creatine and produce ATP, being vegan does not impair you from making creatine, its more that you need to work harder if you eat plant based foods. Supplementing with creatine is a easy way of obtaining your energy boost from external sources.
With brain activity we tend to loose ATP molecules and the overuse of our brains results in us loosing energy at a faster level. This constant disruption in creatine and energy levels results in worsening neuronal function possibly even promoting neurodegenerative pathologies such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons disease.
Although various studies have been carried out and most research is still variable, however it was demonstrated that creatine supplementation might have some potential beneficial results. One study looking as creatine supplementation in young vegetarian females was performed and noted that 5g supplementation daily showed significant brain memory improvement. This improvement is more prominent in vegetarians than meat eaters.
The level of energy produced was also depended on the quantity of energy we have in our brains, which is effected be creatine supplementation.
Creatine and its role in brain function
Creatine supplementation was shown to be effective at increasing brain performance and hence making us more efficient at working faster and more effectively. One beneficial aspect of creatine supplementation was its effects on the treatment of resistant forms of anxiety and PTSD. Treatment with creatine was show to have beneficial effects in patients with PTSD resistance, improving the symptoms and reducing the severity and also improving sleep patterns and quality.
The animal models that were used also indicate that creatine has a beneficial role on brain function especially on Alzhiemer’s disease and an improved cognitive ability. Creatine has one important benefit that was noted such as reducing the loss of neuronal cells int the brain.