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WEDNESDAY, Aug. 13, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Creatine, a compound found in meat, can bulk up your brain power, claims an Australian study.
The study says taking creatine as a dietary supplement boosts your working memory and general intelligence. The findings appear in an upcoming issue of Proceedings B, a journal published by the Royal Society.
The Australian researchers monitored the effect of 5 grams per day of creatine supplement given to 45 young adult vegetarians.
"The level of creatine supplementation chosen was 5g per day as this is a level that has previously been shown to increase brain creatine levels. This level is comparable to that taken to boost sports fitness," lead researcher Dr. Caroline Rae says in a news release.
"Vegetarians or vegans were chosen for the study as carnivores and omnivores obtain a variable level of creatine depending on the amount and type of meat they eat - although to reach the level of supplementation in this experiment would involve eating 2 kilograms of meat a day," Rae says.
The study subjects were divided into two groups. One group received the creatine supplement while the other group received a placebo for six weeks. That was followed by six weeks of no intake of placebo or creatine by either group. In the final 6 weeks, the control and placebo group were swapped.
The subjects' memory and intelligence were tested at the start of the trial, the end of the first six-week period, and the start and end of the final six-week period.
"The results were clear with both our experimental groups and in both test scenarios: creatine supplementation gave a significant measurable boost to brain power," Rae says.
The study findings echo previous research showing that increased brain creatine levels correlate with improved memory and reduce mental fatigue.
"These findings underline a dynamic and significant role of brain energy capacity in influencing brain performance. Increasing the energy available for computation increases the power of the brain and this is reflected directly in improved general ability," Rae says.
Here's where you can learn more about creatine.