After thoroughly examining the effects of creatine and the
literature surrounding it, there appears to be conclusive evidence
that creatine supplementation has a significant positive effect
on human performance. These improvements from creatine supplementation
are seen through increased lean muscle mass, increased strength
and power, improvements in speed and single effort sprint performances,
as well as anaerobic endurance. It also appears that creatine
when combined with either beta-alanine or HMB has the greatest
positive impact on markers of physiological performance. Although
creatine is considered a safe form of supplementation there may
be a concern for people with pre-existing kidney issues, as well
as though who are taking ephedra or caffeine products (13). However,
there has been very little scientific evidence to back up these
warning claims. There also appears to be no signs of toxicity
from supplementation with creatine when moderate to slightly
higher doses are used.
There are two scientifically proven ways to supplement with creatine.
The first is through a loading phase, in which 20 grams is taken
for 5-7 days, followed by a maintenance phase of 3-5 grams a
day for periods of 2-3 months at a time. The second form of supplementation
is a simple protocol. That is to supplement with 3-10 grams of
creatine per day for a period of 2-3 months with no loading phase.
It is generally recommended to take at least 1-2 weeks off from
creatine supplementation in order to maintain a proper response
mechanism in the body.
There are also current rumors among many bodybuilding professional
that cycling creatine, such as 20 grams daily for a period of
three days immediately followed by three days of non supplementation
may be the most effective form of creatine supplementation. This
process is continued for 8-10 weeks. This ensures that the cells
in the body do not down-regulate and grow immune to creatine's
presence in the body. However, greater research is needed to
justify this cycling protocol. Creatine should also be taken
with 20-90 grams of simple sugars along with large volumes of
water for more rapid absorption into the muscle tissues. Lastly,
consuming a small dose of creatine immediately before and after
the workout may be the most appropriate times for supplementation.
On off days, morning and mid-day are recommended.
According to consumerlab.com (13) and other valid sources some
of the best creatine products on the market include: Muscletech
Cell-Tech, BSN Cell Mass, EAS Phosphagen, Everlast Nutrition
Premium Creatine, Phosphate Complex, GNC Pro Performance Creatine,
and ISS Complete Creatine. Liquid forms of creatine should generally
be avoided due to the breakdown that may occur when in this state
for excess time. Creatine cocktails (creatine products combined
with other cell volumizing compounds) have also received a great
amount of hype and publicity due to numerous claims of extreme
effectiveness. However, there has been very little research on
these products. Some of the more well noted creatine cocktails
are NxLabs Anavol, BSN NO-Xplode, Controlled Labs Green Magnitude,
and Muscletech NanoVapor.
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