Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder. Children and adults who have ADHD show signs of having lower levels of creatine in their brains. It also helps us build muscle mass, as seen in athletes and bodybuilders. But what does this protein do, exactly? Can creatine really help increase cognitive performance in people with ADHD?

With a closer look at this supplement, we can find out just what it is, what creatine does, and if there are any side effects we should be worried about.

What is Creatine?

Creatine is a nonessential dietary protein-like compound found in meat and fish. It is made of three amino acids, arginine, glycine, and methionine. Don’t get it confused with a steroid. Therefore it is not synthesized, it’s natural. Since our muscles don’t actually make it, they must take it from our bloodstream. It then, donates a high-energy phosphate to create ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP is the bodies energy currency. Our muscles need this for the rapid energy to contract during activities. While creatine is popular among athletes, it can also help brain performance. People who have ADHD have been known to have lower stores of creatine in their brain.

Creatine and ADHD

Those who have ADHD have been known to have lower levels of creatine in their brains. But why should we care if our bodies makes this protein? One reason is that our brain goes through about 20 percent of the energy it needs each day just to keep the ions and synapses working. To get that energy, our bodies need to make ATP for our muscles and brains to properly function. This is where it comes in handy. It will bind to phosphate to make phosphocreatine so we are able to make ATP quicker.

Kind of Amazing Right?

Supplementing with creatine allows our bodies to produce ATP faster by using those phosphate reserves. It improves the symptoms of ADHD and adults with Inattentive ADD. It can help protect the brain and improve function. With supplementation, mental tasks have been known to increase, as well as memory. Since our muscles don’t actually make it, they must take it from our bloodstream. Our muscles need this for the rapid energy to contract during activities, such as weightlifting and sprinting.

By using a creatine supplement, athletes can have gains in strength, power, speed, and muscle growth. While it's popular among athletes, it can also help brain performance, give you a better metabolism, and increase bone mineral density. It also helps with water retention in your muscles, giving them a bigger and fuller appearance. Therefore, creatine can benefit anyone.

Benefits of Taking Creatine

The following are just a handful of the benefits of taking it among athletes;

  • Increases in strength, power, and rate of force development.
  • Improved sprint performance, both faster and greater recovery between sprints.
  • Greater strength improvements in both the back squat and bench press exercises.
  • Improved agility performance.

Using it has also been suggested to improve the following;

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Memory and brain function in the elderly, children and adults with ADHD or Inattentive ADD

Taking creatine may reduce some of these symptoms of the aforementioned diseases, and slow the progression of them. However, more testing would need to be provided among human trials.

When Should Creatine be Taken?

Now that it is no longer a keep-secret-supplement, you have to ask yourself, “when should I take creatine?” Timed-nutrition has become a big topic in the world of health, giving people an edge in the gym for whoever tries it. According to bodybuilding.com; “The timing of carbohydrate consumption can influence important aspects of recovery and growth, such as glycogen replenishment and, to a limited degree, muscle protein synthesis.”

A creatine supplement should be taken 30 minutes to an hour before your workout. Preferably with food. However, if you’re new to taking it , it is suggested to do a “loading phase.” For it to work, your muscles need to be saturated with the protein. Depending on how lean you are, it takes up to 30 days for muscles to be fully saturated with creatine. However, by taking 15-25 grams a day for about five days, you will see muscles saturation faster. After that, your maintenance level should remain about 3-5 grams a day to keep your creatine levels high enough for optimal performance.

Does Creatine Have Side Effects?

There have been a lot of research done on creatine and what type of side effects that it may have. One side effect known is that it has often given some users an upset stomach. It is suggested that this supplement be taken with food to avoid getting an upset stomach. This is about the only side effect that has been reported. Since it is so widely researched, studies have shown that there are no adverse side effects to taking creatine. Here’s a video about covering 3 Myths About Creatine:

Creatine Is Good For You

As you can see taking creatine can help you in a lot of ways. Not only will it improve your athletic performance, it can also improve your muscle definition and brain function. It can be used each day, or when you feel like you should take it. In the elderly, it can help build muscles for more mobility, help reduce certain diseases, as well as improve cognitive functions. Don’t be afraid of this supplement.

With as often as it has been researched, there are no adverse side effects you should be worried about. For those who are living with ADHD or Inattentive ADD, you should consult your doctor and see if this supplement would help you out each day. So, how are you using creatine to your advantage?

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