Creatine as a Nootropic Supplement

Pictured above is creatine being measure in a spoon. This is not a recommended way to measure your creatine dosage.

The odds are that you have heard of creatine and its association with athletic performance. Creatine is a popular choice for athletes thanks to its effect on lean muscle mass and its energy-boosting properties.

But did you know that creatine also has nootropic properties? The benefits of creatine are myriad: increased memory, reduced fatigue, improved mood, and even reduced brain fog. Let’s take a closer look at the mental benefits you’ll receive from taking creatine supplement.

Memory Benefits of Creatine

Creatine can be used a nootropic to boost brain power.
Creatine is a proven brain-booster!

Creatine is  known to increase your short-term memory and this increase is one of the most well-documented benefits of the compound. Supporting studies abound: improvements in memory span[1], improvements in working memory[2], and prevention of memory decline [3]. Scientifically, the results are in: creatine is great for improving memory.

So how exactly does a supplement known for its physical benefits do so much for the brain? Creatine primarily works by increasing your synthesis of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP [4]. ATP is a nucleotide that functions as the primary source of energy for cells.

In other words, the more ATP that you’re synthesizing, the more fully and efficiently your cells can transmit information. Think of ATP as the “fuel” for the neurological vehicles taxiing information around your brain. Higher levels of ATP make calling to mind that elusive word or thought that much easier.

Creatine for Fatigue

Creatine’s ability to enhance your production of ATP also ties directly into another one of its main benefits: fatigue reduction. Studies have found that creatine’s abilities to reduce fatigue and boost energy are apparent even at low doses [5]. Since increased ATP boosts cellular performance, creatine is at least partially responsible for this energy boost, but there is more to the picture than that.

After a successful study on creatine’s mental-fatigue-reducing effects, a team of researchers measured an increase of cerebral-oxygenated hemoglobin in the brains of the test subjects. This increase was evidence of increased oxygen use by the brain. In other words, creatine primes your brain for improved performance.

Creatine for Mood

Creatine's nootropic side effects include increased mood.
Creatine can boost your mood.

Studies have found that taking a creatine supplement has mood boosting properties both on its own and synergistically with prescription anti-depressants [6]. This synergy too ties into creatine’s boosted production of ATP. Beyond that, creatine has also been shown to reduce some of the side effects of sleep deprivation, such as irritability [7].

Additionally, boosted energy levels means reduced stress making it much easier for your better moods to shine through. While the exact benefits of creatine for mood are not fully understood, what we know so far seems promising.

Creatine for Brain Fog

One of the bottom lines of nootropics is that, one way or another, you are probably going to deal with brain fog. Some people might be looking to alleviate existing brain fog, while for others brain fog may be caused by a nootropic.

Either way, the verdict is clear: having a gummed-up haze hampering your mental performance is no fun. The great news is that here too a creatine supplement will benefit you. Here is the impressive part: even this benefit is tied to creatine’s ATP production, albeit from a slightly different way. Increased ATP improves your brain’s ability to block negative effects by allowing the brain to more quickly deal with any deficiencies.  A study found that creatine supplementation improved the subject’s fluid intelligence, or their ability to solve problems and derive meaning from abstract knowledge [8]. Or in other words, directly counteract the effects of brain fog.

Bottom Line: Creatine as a Nootropic

Creatine is a harmless amino acid with many benefits for the keen-eyed nootropic user looking for something to top off their stack. As long as you keep your dosing at safe levels, creatine has tremendous potential for improving your mental performance. Not only that, but thanks to the ways a creatine supplement will benefit your mood and fatigue, creatine is an almost sure-fire way to improve your all-around quality of life.

SOURCES:

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14561278
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21118604
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17828627
  4. http://www.researchgate.net/publication/44694983_Dietary_supplementation_of_creatine_monohydrate_reduces_the_human_fMRI_BOLD_signal
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11985880
  6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22864465
  7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16416332
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1691485/

Assault Pre Workout & ON Whey Protein

Musclepharm Assault

The abundance of workout supplements on the market makes it difficult to decide which supplements are the best to take. There are supplements for energy, recovery, stress, relaxation, and so on, and in some instances these supplements are marketed as having benefits in multiple categories.

In order to avoid taking too much or too little of any particular supplement, it is important to know what you are ingesting! This point may seem simple, but you would be amazed at the number of people who blindly take supplements without first doing a little research.

So, in the pursuit of research and bettering your knowledge of workout supplements, I’ve constructed a barebones guide to two of the most popular workout supplements on the market: MusclePharm Assault and Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein, a pre-workout supplement and a post-workout supplement respectively. By using this stack of supplements, you’ll see a marked improvement in many facets of your fitness.

MusclePharm Assault Pre Workout

MusclePharm Assault
MP Assault Pre Workout Ingredient Label

You may have heard of MusclePharm Assault at some point because the brand sponsors many UFC fighters. Assault is a heavily-marketed supplement, but that does not mean that it is lacking in solid ingredients. However, taking a glance at the ingredients label, you may have noticed that there are MANY ingredients—so many ingredients that you may feel overwhelmed.

So here’s a breakdown of what I believe are the most-important ingredients included and what they can do for you as a pre-workout booster:

Muscle Pharm Assault’s Most Effective Ingredients

  • Beta-Alanine supplement: Improves carnosine levels and reduces fatigue
  • Citrulline Malate supplement: Reduces lactic acid build-up
  • Rhodiola Rosea powder: Reduces stress and improves muscular recovery time
  • Creatine monohydrate or HCL: Improves water retention and muscle growth
  • Caffeine anhydrous: Boosts energy levels and improves focus
  • L-Tyrosine: Increases dopamine levels
  • Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs): Improves muscular growth and recovery
  • L-Arginine powder: Improves protein synthesis and libido
  • L-Glutamine supplement: Assists in building muscle mass

While Assault also features other ingredients, I chose to highlight the supplements that I believe are the most useful and important when it comes to a pre-workout supplement. In combination, these supplements will give you an explosive and impressive workout.

And once you’ve completed a grueling workout session courtesy of Assault, you’ll want a high-quality recovery supplement to allow for muscle growth and repair. That’s where Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein comes into play.

Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein

ON Gold-Standard Whey Protein
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey

 

Post-workout recovery supplements are integral to your success as an athlete. Your muscles need protein in order to repair themselves after the beating that you give them during a workout. In my opinion, the best post-workout supplement by far is Whey Protein. And I’ll give my word that Optimum Nutrition makes some of the best Whey Protein that I have ever consumed.

Taking a look at the nutrition label, you can see that this protein is very barebones. And that is a great thing! In a post-workout shake, the less ingredients the better. You don’t want a lot of filler or other crap that is bad for you: you want to actually benefit from the exercise you just completed.

Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein Ingredients

ON Whey ingredients list
ON Whey ingredients list

Optimum Nutrition Whey Ingredients include: Whey isolate, whey concentrate, and whey peptides (plus other ingredients depending on which flavor you choose to purchase).

The blend of different types of whey is a great feature because each type digests slightly differently and at a slightly different pace, thus feeding your muscles over a longer period of time. In addition, some people digest different types of whey better than other types, so having a variety ensures that you are actually receiving the protein that you need.

Using Musclepharm Assault and Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein to get the Most Out of Your Workout

This stack is not only useful, but it is easy to use as the blends are pre-mixed for you. While the price may be higher to buy these pre-made supplements than to buy bulk powders and create your own, the convenience and ease of use makes this pre-workout/post-workout combination a surefire hit in my book.