While we all acknowledge the significant impact of physical activity and diet on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, we sometimes underestimate the value of our brain health. For those of us living in a fast-paced, demanding world with many responsibilities, feeling our sharpest at all times is crucial.
Brain fog and difficulty concentrating on routine tasks are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cognitive impairments that significantly affect our overall well-being. Our brain’s cognitive and mental efforts require energy for our everyday activities, the very same energy that powers our muscles throughout the day!
So, why aren't we treating our brain like the high performance energy-burning machine it truly is?
Creatine has been proven to enhance performance and promote muscle growth, but what is lesser known is its role in brain function. The brain is an incredibly energy-demanding organ, constantly burning calories throughout the day. To perform at its best, our brain relies on a consistent and efficient supply of energy. This requires creatine. In fact, research reveals that creatine is so important to human brain function that the brain even synthesizes its own creatine.
Creatine plays a crucial role in improving the functionality of brain cells by increasing ATP levels.
ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, is the fundamental energy currency for cells, including those in the brain. It’s vital for cognitive processes such as thinking, memory, and decision-making.
When there's a shortage of creatine in the brain, it can lead to impairments resulting in brain fog and fatigue. Creatine supplementation can be especially beneficial in those with acute brain injuries and older populations, or to those with vegetarian/vegan diets as they don’t consume creatine in animal products. A 2023 study showed significant improvement in memory in both elderly and vegetarian participants who supplemented 20g of creatine per day compared to those who were given a placebo.
Loss of creatine in the brain as we age plays a large role in age-related neurological diseases and impairs cognitive processing. By adding creatine to your daily routine, you are not only preventing muscle breakdown and reducing soreness, but also strengthening memory performance and cognition. Instead of viewing creatine merely as a sports performance supplement, let’s recognize it as a cognitive enhancer – ensuring you perform at your peak, whether in the gym or in everyday life!
Stack up your brain power by adding Omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. These heart healthy, anti-inflammatory fatty acids are great for the skin and joints but also boost cognition. Omega-3 fatty acids provide the brain with the vital nourishment it needs. These fatty acids are essential components of cell membranes in the brain, particularly the DHA variety, which accounts for a significant portion of our brain's fatty acids. This structural support not only boosts memory but also enhances cognitive abilities. Omega-3s even play a role in reducing inflammation, which has been linked to cognitive decline.
Full discussion continued in Part 2 of “Maximizing Brain Power.”
Another powerful brain supplement and possibly the hottest new topic in supplement news is NMN, or Nicotinamide Mononucleotide, a molecule that's been gaining attention for its potential role in anti aging and brain health.
NMN acts as a precursor to NAD+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide), a critical coenzyme involved in various cellular processes, including those in the brain. By increasing NAD+ levels, NMN works to improve cognitive functions and potentially address age-related cognitive decline.
Full discussion continued in Part 3 of “Maximizing Brain Power.”
Rawson ES, Venezia AC. Use of creatine in the elderly and evidence for effects on cognitive function in young and old. Amino Acids. 2011 May;40(5):1349-62. doi: 10.1007/s00726-011-0855-9. Epub 2011 Mar 11. PMID: 21394604.
Forbes SC, Cordingley DM, Cornish SM, Gualano B, Roschel H, Ostojic SM, Rawson ES, Roy BD, Prokopidis K, Giannos P, Candow DG. Effects of Creatine Supplementation on Brain Function and Health. Nutrients. 2022 Feb 22;14(5):921. doi: 10.3390/nu14050921.