British Journal of Nutrition

Full Papers

Human and Clinical Nutrition

Brain creatine depletion in vegetarians? A cross-sectional 1H-magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) study

Marina Yazigi Solisa1, Vítor de Salles Painellia2, Guilherme Giannini Artiolia1, Hamilton Roschela1a2, Maria Concepción Otaduya3 and Bruno Gualanoa1a2 c1

a1 Division of Rheumatology, School of Medicine, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil

a2 Laboratory of Applied Nutrition and Metabolism, School of Physical Education and Sport, University of Sao Paulo, Av. Prof. Mello de Moraes 65, Sao Paulo, SP 05508-030, Brazil

a3 LIM44, Division of Magnetic Resonance, School of Medicine, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil


The present cross-sectional study aimed to examine the influence of diet on brain creatine (Cr) content by comparing vegetarians with omnivores. Brain Cr content in the posterior cingulate cortex was assessed by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS). Dietary Cr intake was assessed by 3 d food recalls. Vegetarians had lower dietary Cr intake than omnivores (0·03 (sd 0·01) v. 1·34 (sd 0·62) g/d, respectively; P= 0·005). However, vegetarians and omnivores had comparable brain total Cr content (5·999 (sd 0·811) v. 5·917 (sd 0·665) IU, respectively; P= 0·77). In conclusion, dietary Cr did not influence brain Cr content in healthy individuals, suggesting that in normal conditions brain is dependent on its own Cr synthesis.

(Received April 17 2013)

(Revised September 30 2013)

(Accepted October 01 2013)

(Online publication November 29 2013)

Key Words:

  • Brain metabolism;
  • Brain creatine;
  • Central nervous system;
  • Cognition


c1 Corresponding author: B. Gualano, fax +55 11 3813 5921, email


  Abbreviations: Cr, creatine