Over the past few decades many stereotypes about creatine monohydrate have pervaded the supplement world and society in general. Almost everyone has heard of creatine as a tool for bodybuilders and athletes to get stronger and bigger; most consider it a tool of bro scientists that are trying to get larger muscles the “easy way”. The reality is far different and most people have no idea about the positive cognitive effects of creatine.
Starting with Creatine Supplements
Getting started with a supplement like creatine can be emotionally difficult and scary for exactly this reason. There is so much bad information on the internet and in the general discourse that it makes it difficult to justify starting the regimen. Nonetheless, taking a research oriented approach to creatine can be a good idea to prevent yourself from physical problems, but it will also make you feel a lot better.
Some people are scared about the creatine monohydrate side effects, but most of these unfounded. The few side effects that do exist are related to bloating, cramping, and in some cases nausea and diarrhea. Most people do not experience any of these if they consume enough water. Make sure you get extra water if you are just starting with a creatine routine.
The best way to take creatine is through the use of either the “loading phase” or an average recommended dosage. The loading phase includes doing 20 grams per day for 5 – 7 days so that you can saturate your cells in the brain and body. If you are experiencing gastrointestinal issues, it might be a good idea to bring it down to the average recommended dosage of 5 grams per day.
Cognitive Advantages of Creatine
Now that you have an understanding of creatine from a very basic perspective, it is time to look at how it can effect your brain. Even though most people consider creatine to be a supplement for physical fitness, it can offer the same advantages for the brain. Creatine is a molecule that is used to improve cellular function by enhancing ATP (energy). This holds true for your body or the cells in your brain.
Studies suggest that creatine can be an effective cognitive enhancer when it comes to mental energy and endurance. During hours of intense mental activity, the difference between getting high quality done towards the end might be enough mental energy. Creatine can also have a profound impact on reasoning skills, which is rare for a smart drug.
For vegans and vegetarians it is even more important to get the right amount of creatine. For people that eat animal products, creatine is present though not optimal; for vegans / vegetarians there is almost no creatine in their diet. Without the natural creatine from food, most of them have mental deficiencies and require some supplementation.
Is Creatine Right for Me?
Before you decide if creatine is a good supplement for you, make sure you consider a few factors. If you are not eating meat it is a good idea to consume creatine supplements even if it is below the 5 gram dosage.
Also, for any athlete or bodybuilder it is a good idea to consume some creatine as well. Making sure that you have the most energy for your particular activity is of paramount importance for your success.