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Does creatine improve cognition?

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Creatine supplementation's impact on cognitive function has been extensively studied, with varying results. Here are some key findings:

  1. Improvement in Short-Term Memory and Intelligence/Reasoning: Creatine supplementation may enhance short-term memory and intelligence/reasoning in healthy individuals. However, its effects on other cognitive domains such as long-term memory, spatial memory, and attention are less clear (Avgerinos et al., 2018).

  2. No Significant Improvement in Young Adults: In non-sleep deprived young adults, six weeks of creatine supplementation did not show improvement in cognitive processing or psychomotor performance (Rawson et al., 2008).

  3. Potential Benefit in Conditions with Brain Creatine Deficits: Creatine supplementation might be beneficial for cognitive processing, especially in conditions characterized by brain creatine deficits, such as acute stressors or chronic pathologic conditions (Roschel et al., 2021).

  4. Varied Response Based on Dietary Habits: Vegetarians responded better than meat-eaters in memory tasks after creatine supplementation (Avgerinos et al., 2018).

  5. No Improvement in Brain Creatine Content or Cognitive Performance in Youth: A 7-day creatine supplementation protocol did not elicit improvements in brain creatine content or cognitive performance in healthy youth (Merege-Filho et al., 2017).

  6. Positive Impact on Cognitive Function in Specific Populations: Creatine supplementation showed positive effects on cognitive function in specific populations, like young women and fatigued healthcare professionals (Skelton & Dellis-Leeper, 2012; Skelton & Giamo, 2013).

  7. Potential Role in Neuroprotection and Cognitive Enhancement: Creatine may have neuroprotective and cognitive-enhancing properties, especially under conditions of oxygen deprivation or in neurodegenerative diseases (Turner et al., 2015).

In conclusion, while creatine supplementation may improve certain aspects of cognitive function, particularly in short-term memory and intelligence/reasoning, the overall effects are mixed and may vary based on age, health status, and dietary habits. Further research, especially in diverse populations and under various conditions, is warranted.