Creatine and Brain Fog: Can It Help?

In this blog, we will explore how and whether creatine, a popular supplement, can be used as a potential treatment of brain fog. We will talk about the symptoms of brain fog and the triggers that can result in eliciting brain fog in individuals. Lastly, we will investigate the potential treatment of brain fog and how creatine can be used as a help to reduce brain fog.
Frederika Malichová

Frederika Malichová

Neuroscientist at the University Of Cambridge.

A blue image with text saying "The Role of Creatine in Reducing Brain Fog"

Creatine and Brain Fog

Creatin, a natural substance found in muscle cells, is a popular supplement. It has been shown that creatine can help to improve some cognitive functions. Regular intake of creatine can potentially improve cognitive function, thereby alleviating symptoms of brain fog.

What Is A Brain Fog?

Brain fog is a colloquial term used to a group of symptoms manifesting through cognitive dysfunction [1, 2, 3].

Some of the symptoms of brain fog include problems with focusing, forgetfulness and feeling mentally tired or sleepy. Therefore this term is not only used for describing cognitive dysfunction but also describes mental symptoms [1, 2, 3]. Some symptoms might be similar to those appearing in ADHD

Individuals experiencing brain fog often report cloudy or daydreamy feelings and a sense of disconnection from reality [1, 2, 3].

Brain fog is often associated with conditions like major depressive disorder, COVID19, multiple sclerosis, lupus and even celiac disease [1].

In addition, individuals with narcolepsy or idiopathic hypersomnia can also experience brain fog [1].

It is not exactly clear what causes brain fog. Interestingly, in the context of COVID-19, it has been proposed that brain fog may be linked to high levels of inflammation and immune activity [4]. However, more research needs to be conducted in this area in order to understand the mechanisms behind inducing brain fog.

What Can Trigger A Brain Fog?

Although we do not know the exact mechanism of action and how do the triggers translate into brain fog manifestation.

Some of the triggers that have been detected to induce brain fig include:

  • Chronic stress - Chronic stress can lead to mental fatigue, and difficulties with thinking, reasoning, and focusing [5].
  • Poor sleep - Decreased quality of sleep or reduced number of hours dedicated to sleep may trigger brain fog. To maintain an optimal brain function 8-9 hours of sleep is recommended [5]. Alcohol drinking may influence the quality of your sleep.
  • Hormonal changes - Interestingly, changes in the levels of hormones like progesterone and estrogen (which can happen during menopause or pregnancy) can affect our memory and even cause short-term cognitive impairment [5].
  • Diet - For instance, a deficiency in vitamin B12, which supports normal brain function can lead to brain fog. In addition, if you have a known food allergy, it is recommended to avoid eating the food as brain fog may develop afterward [5]
  • Medication - Certain medications may also elicit brain fog as a side effect. If you notice such a thing, make sure to contact your healthcare provider [5].
  • Medical conditions - In particular medical conditions associated with inflammation, fatigue or changes in the blood glucose level can lead to mental fatigue. Further conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, anemia or diabetes and diseases like Alzheimer’s disease or COVID19 and other autoimmune diseases may lead to brain fog symptoms [5].

Can Creatine Help Us Get Rid Of A Brain Fog?

Creatine is a popular supplement among athletes but also a healthy lifestyle culture.

It has energy-boosting properties and some research has been done to look at its potential cognitive benefits.

From those, it has been suggested that creatine may have neuroprotective effects and could influence cognitive processing [6, 7]. In one study, it was found that creatine supplementation increases the levels of brain creatine, which is believed to be beneficial for cognitive functions [7]. Other studies looking at specific cognitive domains like memory, reasoning, and attention have inconsistent results [8].

For patients with post-COVID-19 fatigue syndrome, also known as long-covid, creatine supplementation significantly improved symptoms in particular concentrations [9]. This is a potential support for the potential of creatine to alleviate brain fog [9].

Importantly, note that the effects of creatine may vary from individual to individual depending on the age and dietary habits. Such that a study found that creatine supplementation improved cognitive function in older individuals aged 66-76 but not in younger ones aged 11-31 [10].

Although there is some evidence suggesting the potential benefit of using creating to alleviate the symptoms of brain fog, the results are mixed and need to be taken with a pinch of constructive criticism.

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Frederika Malichová

Frederika Malichová

Frederika is a postgraduate researcher at the University of Cambridge, where she investigates new biomarkers for Frontotemporal Dementia and other tauopathies. Her research has been published at prestigious conferences such as the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2023. She obtained her BSc in Biomedical Sciences from UCL, where she worked closely with the UK Dementia Research Institute.