Posted on Dec 28, 2010, 11 a.m.
The cognitive performance of vegetarians may benefit from supplementation of the pre-protein creatine.
Previous studies have suggested the role of creatine. a pre-protein compound found primarily in animal meats, in cognitive performance. Typically, vegetarians have lower muscle levels of creatine. David Benton, from University of Swansea (Wales, United Kingdom), and colleagues enrolled 121 young women, both vegetarians and omnivores, in a study in which each subject was randomly assigned to receive either a daily creatine supplement (creatine monohydrate, 20 grams per day), or placebo, for five days. The team conducted standardized cognitive tests on all subjects, both before and after the five days of study. Memory improved by about 40% in the vegetarians consuming the creatine supplements, compared with placebo. Additionally, creatine supplements also reduced the variability of the women’s in the responses to a choice reaction-time task in both vegetarians and omnivores. The researchers posit that creatine in the form of phosphocreatine, a compound that acts as a reservoir of high-energy phosphate, serves a role in neurotransmission and thus may be the mechanism underlying the cognitive performance improvement.
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David Benton, Rachel Donohoe. “The influence of creatine supplementation on the cognitive functioning of vegetarians and omnivores.” British Journal of Nutrition, December 1, 2010; doi:10.1017/S0007114510004733.