Creatine and Memory

For sprinters and lifters, creatine has long been one of the most popular supplements, a $200 million market in the US alone. In surprising research, a team led by Caroline Rae of U. Sydney found that creatine supplements resulted in improved performance on memory and analytical tasks.
Forty-five vegetarian university students spent twelve weeks in the trial. In a double-blind test, for one of the six week blocks they received a creatine supplement, for the other a placebo. Vegetarians were chosen since beef-eaters (or if you prefer, cow-eaters) get creatine as part of their diet, so a more pronounced effect was expected.
Creatine is an amino acid and the researchers hypthesize that the improved short-term energy metabolism it supports would aid concentration – which is exactly what they found. Markus Wyss of Roche in Basil points out that the long-term safety of creatine suppements hasn’t been determined, and that it may be problematic in people with diabetes or kdney dysfunction.Nevertheless an interesting an unexpected result. (Reported in Science News vol. 164, original research to be published in P. Royal Society of London B.) (8/30)

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