Creatine and your Brain: Concussions, Performance, Anti Aging, Sex Differences and Mental Health with Dr. Brian Roy and Jensen Murphy

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“There’s also a lot of work looking at possibly using creatine in depression as well, and there’s been some positive work there, but again that leads us into sex differences because a lot of that work is showing that it seems to be more beneficial in females than in males.” Dr. Brian Roy

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If you’re an athlete, there’s a high likelihood you’re familiar with and may have experience with creatine supplementation. Creatine, which is inherently part of our body’s energy production, has a robust body of evidence backing it, which reaches back decades. Evidence runs deep for creatine’s ability to improve performance in sports with short explosive sub 30s efforts and repeated burst as well as resistance training type exercise.

More recently, creatine research has been focused on new areas including the brain, in relation to traumatic brain injury, anti aging, focus and fatigue resistance as well as other brain related diseases. To learn more about what we know, and where the research is headed, I reached out to speak with two scientists who are currently immersed in research on the neuroprotective effects of creatine monohydrate.

Dr. Brian Roy and Jensen Murphy are both scientists at Brock University in Canada. Dr. Roy is the current Interim Dean for the Faculty of Graduate Studies as well as a Professor in the Kinesiology department. He’s also an accomplished athlete which you’ll hear more about this during the podcast!

Dr. Brian Roy, Interim Dean Brock University Faculty of Graduate Studies, Professor in the department of Kinesiology.
Dr. Brian Roy (third from the front) crushing it at the Toronto International Outrigger Challenge competition.
Photo credit Jeff Holubeshen

Jensen Murphy is completing her Masters research at Brock University in the health sciences department, with Dr. Brian Roy as her supervisor. and shares her personal story with us as far as what drove her decision to research creatine and fuels her desire to become an emergency room physician. Jensen recently completed a very successful varsity hockey career as a goalie, and currently is the goalie coach for the team at Brock University.

Jensen Murphy MSc student Brock University: Researching creatine monohydrate and the brain
Jensen Murphy in action during her 5 years on the Brock Varsity Hockey Team where she is now the goalie coach. Photo Credit: Christian Bender from Ryerson Rams Athletics

As an athlete who has experienced several concussions myself, I was very curious to learn more about the role creatine may or may not play in concussion recovery and prevention. Additionally, as a coach, I am always keen to keep up to date with the latest research on performance, including in the cognitive space where creatine may play a role. Today we dive right in after a brief foundation of what creatine is and what it does in the body.

Creatine Monohydrate

Inside the podcast you’ll learn:

  • How creatine relates to energy production in the body
  • Can you train your body to synthesize more creatine?
  • How does diet impact your creatine levels in muscle and the brain?
  • Can creatine give you a cognitive edge in sport?
  • Can creatine help anti age your brain?
  • Are there sex differences with creatine?
  • How do you measure brain creatine?
  • Is there a dosing regimen for the brain?
  • Is creatine safe?
  • What’s different about getting creatine into muscle versus into the brain?
  • What do we know about creatine and cerebral palsy?

As always I finish my podcast with some deeper more personal insights about imperfect progress and how my guests have navigated their own challenging times on their paths to where they are now. Some great insights and personal stories came up and the end of this episode.

This was a super interesting conversation. Although the research is somewhat in its infancy compared to research on muscular performance, there’s certainly a lot of noise in this space and that’s exciting. Just this week I read two new reviews and I wrote an article on creatine myself here on @Prokit last week. I have a sense some breakthroughs are on the horizon.

Whether you’re an athlete or not, your brain is one of your most precious assets. Personally I’m super keen on keeping mine sharp and firing on all cylinders as long as possible. The question is, will creatine help?

Jump inside and find out.

Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Imperfect Progress. My goal is always to bring you quality information about science and navigating life, in a way that is relatable and practical from the best experts in their fields.

I’d really appreciate if you could visit my podcast on Apple Podcast here and give it a rating and leave a comment. It helps others to find the podcast and that means more people learning from credible sources, which is the goal! Also, your comments and feedback are valuable and appreciated.

To learn more about Dr. Brian Roy and Jensen Murphy as well as read some of the latest reviews on creatine, see the links below.

Follow me on twitter here @guzmannutrition for more on science, mindset and motivation. See you there!

Twitter: Dr. Brian Roy https://twitter.com/DrBri78

Dr. Brian Roy LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brian-roy-1a53b835/

Twitter: Dr. Jensen Murphy https://twitter.com/jensmurphy

LinkedIn Jensen Murphy: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jensen-murphy-735134188/

Recent Creatine Review: https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-021-00412-w

Review of Creatine and Brain Health (Full PDF available within this link): https://read.qxmd.com/read/33578876/creatine-supplementation-and-brain-health

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Anne Guzman

Sport scientist, sports nutritionist, writer, former pro cyclist, life long learner. “See it, feel it and step into it. You're never ready, you just start."
Running, Cycling, Triathlon, Track Cycling, Wrestling
Hamilton, ON

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