You may be surprised to learn that a proven muscle-building compound can do a lot more than chisel your physique. Emerging science shows that it may also boost your memory and increase general intelligence. And 20 years of human research proves that it is completely safe.
The study that proves this compound’s brain-boosting power comes from Dr. Caroline Rae at the University of Sydney Medical School in Australia. She’s a professor of biochemistry and much of her research focuses on the chemistry of the brain.
“(The compound) gave a significant boost to brain power,” she says.
A Stronger Brain in Six Weeks
This naturally-occurring nutrient is called creatine. It’s found naturally in muscle tissues. You can easily add it to your diet by eating more of the richest food sources of creatine – red meat and fish.
In order to control how much creatine each of her subjects consumed, Dr. Rae designed her study around vegetarians.
She split 45 vegetarians into two groups. Over the course of six weeks, the two groups received either a placebo or five grams of creatine daily.
Each participant took a test that involved memorizing long number sequences. They also took a timed IQ test. Both tests require rapid computing power.
The people taking creatine saw a significant improvement in their ability to remember longer numbers. Prior to taking creatine, they remembered about seven digits. After creatine intake, the group remembered an average of 8.5 digits.
The researchers suggest this improvement in memory is a result of the creatine’s ability to enhance energy production at the cellular level, which improves the brain’s ability to compute.
“Creatine had a significant positive effect on both working memory and intelligence,” Dr. Rae says.
Another study published in the journal Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition supports Dr. Rae’s findings. That study shows that creatine supplementation rapidly improved the mental performance of elderly people. In fact, the research team saw positive results within just one week.
The Best Way to Boost Your Brain Power
Your body produces creatine naturally, but it can only generate about two to three grams each day. While this may be sufficient for some people, studies show that you need at least five grams a day to see the greatest benefit.
You can get more creatine in your body by eating grass-fed beef. But a pound of raw steak has less than one gram. And if you’re a vegetarian, you’re likely not getting any added creatine from your diet.
You can easily order a creatine supplement online. Just be sure to look for a brand with no artificial sweeteners or additives. The best choice is 100 percent creatine monohydrate powder. It’s a little gritty, but completely flavorless and odorless so you can easily add it to plain water.
It’s also perfectly safe. A study out of Baylor University, published in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, looked at creatine use in athletes for 21 months. The researchers say taking 5-10 grams of creatine long-term had no negative health effects.
The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition also conducted a safety review of creatine. Their doctors concluded: “There is no scientific evidence that the short- or long-term use of creatine monohydrate has any detrimental effects.”
If you plan on taking creatine, the key is to cycle it. This is important to remember. You don’t want to take it every day continuously, or your body will stop producing it naturally.
Most nutritionists and sports physicians suggest taking a “loading” dose of about 10 grams daily for about 10 days. Then take a “maintenance” dose of about 5 grams daily for up to two months. Take a few weeks or a month off and then repeat the cycle.
Not only has creatine been shown to dramatically improve memory and intelligence, it can also help you increase strength, energy and muscle mass – even without working out. It’s no surprise that athletes swear by it, but they may be surprised that it’s making them smarter, too!
To your best health,
Managing Editor, NHD “Health Watch”