Whether it’s effective marketing, unreliable sourcing, or ingredients that showed initial promise in the beginning that didn’t pan out, most supplements don’t live up to their hype.

Creatine is an exception. It’s one of the most well-researched, safe, and effective supplements on the market.

From muscle building to recovery, to overall health, creatine has a host of well-known benefits.

As well researched as creatine is, though, emerging research is suggesting that it’s even better than we thought.

Based on a few recent studies, we now know that creatine may even improve mental health.

Associative Study Between Creatine and Depression

In 2020, a study published in the prestigious journal Nature looked at the associative link between creatine and depression.

For context, associative studies aren’t typical scientific studies. It’s when the researchers retroactively look back a pool of data and find links.

Generally, they’re great starting places for more specific research studies.

In this case, the study found that creatine had a negative association with depression. That is, adults who take creatine were less likely to suffer from depression.

The link was even stronger for women.

Correlation or Causation: Why This Isn’t Conclusive

One of the problems with these types of studies, and why they’re generally jumping off points but far from conclusive, is they don’t isolate variables.

For example, those who take creatine are probably more likely to do resistance training, and probably more like to exercise in general. Those also have a negative association with depression and a host of known benefits.

That’s why in science, it’s important to confirm this type of research with controlled studies.

In Women, Creatine Improved Depression Symptoms

This 2012 study is exactly that. In the study, women who suffered from depression were put into two groups: one group that took dietary creatine and the other that took a placebo.

The creatine group saw improved symptoms according to the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, with benefits after 4 weeks and continuing to 8 weeks.

The conclusion is simple: creatine helped depression symptoms.

However, as the study noted, the difference wasn’t enough to take those in the study off of medication.

Depression is Notoriously Complicated, and Medications Are Often Ineffective

As the authors of the study write, “Any means of improving the efficacy of antidepressant medications is welcome in clinical practice.”

That’s because, as noted in this 2010 meta-analysis, antidepressant medications often work no better than a placebo.

Creatine, which seems to show modest but reliable benefits, then becomes a no-brainer.

Regardless, You Should Be Taking Creatine

This is just one more feather in the cap of creatine. As we mentioned, it’s already proven itself over and over for a host of performance and recovery benefits.

It’s inexpensive, it’s proven safe and effective, so it should be on your short list of supplements.

Questions about creatine? Reply in the comments of this post.

For more on supplements that can improve brain function, check out our articles on l-theanine and l-tyrosine.