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August 17, 2003

Creatine geniuses?

Brawny Brains: Creatine pills may aid memory and cognition says Science News. More over at Google News. I'm not going to comment on it because I think it's a bit early, but, frankly I doubt that most readers of this blog would really benefit that much, at least weighing the possible risks that we might not know about (and the ones we do, problems with diabetics and those with kidney problems).

Posted by razib at 12:56 PM




The author of that study cited those risks with creatine use, but I am frankly dubious that there have been many (any?) solid studies of the subject. I did a pubmed search on the subject and found nothing special. We do know that in conditions like rhabdomyolysis we can see high levels of creatine kinase with ensuing renal impairment. However, I think the jury is still out as to whether your standard doses of creatine supplements are going to significantly increase the risk of diabetes or renal impairment.

People with those aformentioned ailments might do well to take creatine supplements with care though- a basic chem panel with doctor's supervision will show how your BUN/CR level is faring, which is a measure of kidney function.

All that said, I would not, at this point, recommend creatine for memory enhancement on the basis of one study. But, I, like a lot of people who use this stuff for weights, now can have another excuse to keep doing so.

P.S. Let me tell you creatine definitely makes you stronger. I cycle my creatine and right now I am not taking it. My dumbell bench press max went down 20lbs over the past ~1 and a half months off of it.

Posted by: R at August 17, 2003 01:38 PM


"but I am frankly dubious that there have been many (any?) solid studies of the subject."

Agree, I would like to see the studies showing the risks of creatine use.

"P.S. Let me tell you creatine definitely makes you stronger. I cycle my creatine and right now I am not taking it. My dumbell bench press max went down 20lbs over the past ~1 and a half months off of it."

I second that conclusion - i used creatine for 5 years and I was a big time meat eater to boot and I still benefited from it's use.

After a few weeks you pretty much have exhausted your body's ability to store more creatine/water but if you stop taking it, your creatine levels drop back to normal.

I wonder if the diabetes conclusion was based on the advice that is often made in regards to taking creatine with a high Glycemic drink. The theory being that insulin drives more creatine into the muscle cells.

In any case, vegetarians and vegans do definitely benefit more from creatine supplementation.

Posted by: the alpha male at August 17, 2003 03:19 PM


I'd like to see the study repeated with a larger group that *wasn't* all vegetarians. Since those of us who eat meat get some creatine in our diet already, it would be nice to know what benefit if any supplementation would have for someone eating a more typical diet.

Posted by: bbartlog at August 17, 2003 05:44 PM


So this is really proof the a vegetarian diet makes you stupid.

Pass the steak please!

Posted by: Gordon Gekko at August 18, 2003 06:54 AM