A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Crossover Study of Low Dose Creatine on Cognitive Function Before and After High Intensity Exercise

Student Classification


Faculty Mentor

Troy Purdom, Ph.D.


Department of Kinesiology; Pre-Physical Therapy

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2019


Physical Therapy


Purpose: observe low-dose creatine supplementation and high-intensity exercise effect on cognitive function. Methods: Thirteen recreationally trained males (mean ± SD: 20.9±1.3yrs, 79.4±9.9kg, 175.2±6.6cm, 16.4±6.2%BF) completed Stroop Tests (ST) with one minute to correctly select color-word combinations. Demographic information was measured prior to control (CONT) where ST occurred PRE/POST a standardized HIIT training bout. Participants completed two 7dy identical blinded supplement protocols in randomized fashion separated by a 7dy washout period: 1st double-blind (1DB); washout; second (2DB). The DB supplement protocol included prepackaged 4g placebo (PLA) or creatine monohydrate (CRE) morning and night for 7dys. After each DB, participants repeated the exercise and ST separated by a 7dy washout. Separate ANOVAs analyzed cognition per condition: CONT, PLA, and CRE before exercise (PRE), post-exercise (POST), and PRE/ POST exercise per condition. LSD post hoc tests evaluated pairwise comparisons when significance was observed (p < 0.05). Results: Cognition was affected PRE (F1,2 = 16.0, p < 0.002, 𝑛2 = 0.58) and POST (F1,2 =17.0, p = 0.001, 𝑛2 = 0.59). PRE/POST comparisons revealed both PLA and CRE had an effect (PLA: F1,2 =100.6, p < 0.001; 𝑛2 = 0.89) (CRE: F1,2 =112.4, p < 0.001; 𝑛2 = 0.90). PLA and CRE both significantly increased cognition PRE/POST exercise (PLA: PRE 24.2±13.2, POST: 29.3±9.4; p = 0.004) (CRE: PRE 29.4±10.4, POST 34.2±11.6; p = 0.002). Conclusions: Increased ST POST exercise suggest both PLA and CRE increase cognition. Lack of CRE/PLA differences within timepoints (PRE: +16.0% and POST: +12.6%) are likely due to large within group variations.

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