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Dietary creatine is linked to higher cognitive function in older adults


Recent clinical trials suggest that dietary creatine might prevent age-related cognitive decline in adults. However, these studies were small in scale and recruited community-dwelling older adults, thus having only low validity at the populational level.

The study

This cross-sectional study examined the association of dietary creatine intake and cognitive functioning in 1,340 U.S. adults older than 60 (mean age: 71±8 years), using data from the 2001–2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The researchers calculated daily creatine intake based on the amount of meat-based protein foods participants ate (gathered via dietary recall interviews) and assessed cognitive function using the Digit Symbol Substitution (DSS) score — a common measure of cognitive impairment in elderly people.

Also, the researchers adjusted their analysis for sociodemographic and nutritional variables to account for confounders, such as nutrients associated with improved cognitive function.

The results

The median dietary creatine intake was about 1 gram per day. Participants consuming more than 1 gram of dietary creatine per day had 5–10% higher DSS scores (44–45) than participants consuming less than 1 gram (41–42).

This positive association between dietary creatine and cognitive functioning was still significant after researchers adjusted for sociodemographic and nutritional confounding factors.


The cross-sectional design of this study cannot demonstrate causality between dietary creatinine and cognitive functioning. Still, it may incentivize future research on this topic, such as trials evaluating which specific cognitive domains are affected by creatine intake.

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