Creatine supplementation gained prestige with sports nutrition due to the benefits shown, related to bodybuilding, increased load, power gain and increased muscle mass. This is all due to its mechanism of action which basically consists of increasing the concentration of free creatine and phosphocreatine in skeletal muscle. Thus, it causes crucial changes in the body, such as increased resynthesis of ATP, the body’s energy molecule. In this scenario, creatine acts by donating a phosphate to the ADP molecule, transforming it back into ATP (an energy-rich molecule that will provide strength to the muscle).
However, creatine is no longer a supplement that has application only for muscle strength. Lack of memory, intestinal dysbiosis, sarcopenia and diabetes are some examples that are related to the applicability of creatine.
Or leaky gut or “intestinal hyperpermeability” is present in most patients who arrive at the nutritionist’s office presenting some intestinal dysregulation. Thus, one study shows that although 90% of creatine supplementation is directed to skeletal muscle, the other 10% go to the intestine. There is a mechanism that increases the efficiency of CKMT, located in the communicating junctions of the intestinal epithelium resulting in a strengthening of the cell barrier, preventing unwanted substances from exceeding it. Therefore, there is greater homeotase and, consequently, improvement in the picture of leaky gut and related symptoms.
The brain is a metabolically “super active” organ and requires high demand for ATP. The increased stock of cerebral creatine promotes an increase in adenosine triphosphate, that is, a process similar to what happens in muscle. In addition, creatine supplementation can mitigate the negative impacts of acute stress on the nervous system as long as we have a sufficient stock of this molecule in the brain.
One study showed that within 28 days of creatine supplementation, the content of phosphocreatine in the brain was increased by almost 15%. Although physiological changes such as memory loss in aging are natural, it is important to know that there are concrete strategies that the nutritionist can act to improve the patient’s quality of life.
The nutritionist can use three protocols for creatine prescription, all of which aim at the loading effect: 20g of creatine in the first 5-7 days, 3g of creatine for 20 days or 3-5g of creatine for 21 days. In the old days, it was believed that the first method was the most effective for skeletal muscle saturation, but today it is known that the 3 forms act for this purpose.
Brain Performance: What Is the Role of Nutrition?
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Article Creatine and brain: Roschel H, Gualano B, Ostojic SM, Rawson ES. Creatine Supplementation and Brain Health. Nutrients. 2021 Feb 10;13(2):586. doi: 10.3390/nu13020586. PMID: 33578876; PMCID: PMC7916590.