4 Surprising Benefits of Creatine You Didn’t Know About

Creatine: only good for enhancing athletic performance? Nope. Here are 4 non-sports-related creatine benefits that'll see have you going, "Wha—?"

An stationary fan is blowing powder from a nearby small protein tub on a female athlete in the gym

A creatine supplement helps your body regenerate ATP (i.e., energy) quicker during high-intensity physical activity, boosting your athletic performance — the “holy trinity” of speed, power, and strength — plus endurance.

But you know that already.

What you probably don’t know, however, is perhaps this: the benefits of creatine supplementation aren't just limited to the sports realm.

In this article, we cover 4 strictly non-sports benefits of creatine that’ll have you:

  • Desperately searching for an online retailer who'd ship it to your doorstep ASAP (if you don't already have creatine on hand, that is) and
  • Singing high praises about and recommending creatine to everyone you care about, like your mom, partner, and a select few colleagues (no explanation necessary)

#1: It’s a nootropic

Noo … wha—?

For the uninitiated, nootropics refer to substances (natural or synthetic) that positively influence mental performance, such as focus, learning, clarity, alertness, logical reasoning, and memory recall.

And creatine is one? A nootropic?

Mm-hmm, that’s right. But why? Well, that’s because your brain is a huge ATP drainer. And by huge, we mean it.


Based on oxygen consumption, research shows that your brain could account for up to 20% of your body's energy consumption, despite only representing 2% of its weight.

To put that into perspective, an individual with a total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) of 2,000 calories would have 400 calories — possibly more than you'd burn running for 20 minutes on the treadmill! — allocated to the brain alone.

So, bottom line?

By ensuring your brain has pretty much a “steady supply” of replenishing ATP, creatine helps you stay sharp and focused throughout your day.

In fact, according to a 2003 study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, participants who adhered to a vegetarian diet* experienced a 20% to 50% improvement in specific memory and intelligence test scores after 6 weeks of creatine supplementation.

*More on this later.

#2: Lowers your risk of cognitive disorders

As if enhancing cognitive functions wasn’t impressive enough, studies (both animal and preliminary human studies) also suggest that creatine supplementation could help you ward off neurological disorders, such as ...


Parkinson’s: A brain disorder that causes unintended or uncontrollable movements, e.g., shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination. The condition is characterized by the abnormal impairment or dying of nerve cells in the basal ganglia (the brain area that controls movement), resulting in reduced dopamine production and, thus, movement problems. Interestingly, a 1999 animal study published in Experimental Neurology found that creatine could prevent 90% of the typical drop in dopamine production, potentially stopping the actualization of any movement problems.


Huntington’s: An inherited neurodegenerative disease caused by a genetic abnormality (specifically, in the HTT cell). The affected HTT gene produces mutant huntingtin (mHTT) or, simply, a misfolded protein that accumulates within the nerve cells in the basal ganglia. The result? Similar movement problems to Parkinson's, such as chorea — sudden, unintended, and uncontrollable jerky movements of the arms, legs, and facial muscles. Sadly, there's currently no cure for Huntington's. However, a 2014 clinical trial published in Neurology found evidence that high-dose creatine (up to 30 grams daily) may slow the progression of pre-symptomatic Huntington’s.

Animal studies have also suggested that creatine may improve thinking in Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia.

#3: May improve fertility

In the midst of #TTC?

Yes, creatine could help with your, *ahem* performance and endurance during those baby-making sessions — but that’s not all.

Because … guess who (or what, instead) needs enough energy to survive the harsh expedition through the female reproductive tract? That's right. Those lil’ sperms. And, as it turns out, these fighters contain and make use of creatine to generate energy that fuels:

  • Movement, so they get to the egg, and
  • Conception (the lucky sperm need to penetrate and fuse with the egg), and
  • Other metabolic functions

In fact, research often finds an association between low creatine levels and poor sperm count and/or motility.


All hopeful-fathers-to-be should probably consider creatine supplementation a crucial part of their “paternal preconception diet”.

Oh, and if you’re wondering whether you should continue to work out while #TTC:

Exercising While Trying to Conceive: A Good Idea, or No?
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#4: May lower blood sugar levels

While you don't have to get all — pardon the language — anal about managing your blood glucose levels, ensuring they fall within the "healthy range" most of the time is still a good idea.


Once again, no. Assuming you go for regular health check-ups and know you don't have diabetes or pre-diabetes, you don't have to prick your fingers or buy those fancy continuous glucose monitors (CGMs).

Instead, it may appear all you need is some creatine.


According to a 12-week 2008 study published in Amino Acids, researchers found that participants who combined creatine and exercise reported better blood sugar control than those who only exercised.

Wondering why?

It seems creatine helps increase the function of glucose transporter type 4 (GLUT-4), which, as its name suggests, is responsible for bringing blood sugar into your muscles — lowering blood glucose.

How to use creatine (dosage, frequency, cycling, etc.)

Before you go off thinking creatine is a do-it-all “wonder drug”, here are a few disclaimers.

  • You can get creatine through your diet: If you eat animal foods. Red meat and fish, in particular, are packed with creatine. So, remember how we added that tiny asterisk (*) mentioning individuals following a vegetarian diet experienced an improvement in mental performance post-creatine supplementation? If you eat plenty of red meat and fish, you’d likely have a “good” baseline of creatine levels. Creatine supplementation may not give you the equivalent cognitive boost as someone on a plant-based diet — who has a very low baseline level of creatine — would. That’s not to put you off creatine supplementation in any way; it’s just something worth keeping in mind.
  • Animal studies are not the same as human studies: Just because creatine has been found to prevent a drop in dopamine production in mice with Parkinson’s doesn’t mean it’ll do the same for humans with Parkinson’s. We still need a lot more research.

This bears repeating: the above isn’t to say you should skip creatine supplementation.

Even if you eat animal-based foods, you'll unlikely get the amounts you need to fully saturate your muscles through your diet. Also, creatine is an incredibly well-studied supplement with an impressive safety and tolerability profile.

Point being? You’ll most likely benefit from creatine supplementation — if not the benefits mentioned above, then athletic improvements at the very least.

And if you’re wondering how to use creatine …

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Gualano, B., et al. “Effects of Creatine Supplementation on Glucose Tolerance and Insulin Sensitivity in Sedentary Healthy Males Undergoing Aerobic Training.” Amino Acids, vol. 34, no. 2, Feb. 2008, pp. 245–50. PubMed, https://doi.org/10.1007/s00726-007-0508-1.

Matthews, R. T., et al. “Creatine and Cyclocreatine Attenuate MPTP Neurotoxicity.” Experimental Neurology, vol. 157, no. 1, May 1999, pp. 142–49. PubMed, https://doi.org/10.1006/exnr.1999.7049.

Nelson, A. G., et al. “Muscle Glycogen Supercompensation Is Enhanced by Prior Creatine Supplementation.” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, vol. 33, no. 7, July 2001, pp. 1096–100. PubMed, https://doi.org/10.1097/00005768-200107000-00005.

Ostojic, Sergej M., et al. “Creatine as a Promising Component of Paternal Preconception Diet.” Nutrients, vol. 14, no. 3, Jan. 2022, p. 586. PubMed Central, https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14030586.

Rae, Caroline, et al. “Oral Creatine Monohydrate Supplementation Improves Brain Performance: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Cross-over Trial.” Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol. 270, no. 1529, Oct. 2003, pp. 2147–50. PubMed Central, https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2003.2492.

Raichle, Marcus E., and Debra A. Gusnard. “Appraising the Brain’s Energy Budget.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 99, no. 16, Aug. 2002, pp. 10237–39. pnas.org (Atypon), https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.172399499.

Rosas, Herminia D., et al. “PRECREST: A Phase II Prevention and Biomarker Trial of Creatine in at-Risk Huntington Disease.” Neurology, vol. 82, no. 10, Mar. 2014, pp. 850–57. n.neurology.org, https://doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000000187.

Taylor, Matthew. Creatine to Augment Bioenergetics in Alzheimer’s. Clinical trial registration, NCT05383833, clinicaltrials.gov, 9 Jan. 2023. clinicaltrials.gov, https://clinicaltrials.gov/study/NCT05383833.

Umehara, Takashi, et al. “Creatine Enhances the Duration of Sperm Capacitation: A Novel Factor for Improving in Vitro Fertilization with Small Numbers of Sperm.” Human Reproduction, vol. 33, no. 6, June 2018, pp. 1117–29. Silverchair, https://doi.org/10.1093/humrep/dey081.