This will answer all the questions regarding creatine. If you have a viable coherent question that hasn't been asked/answered I will add it to my FAQ.
What is creatine?
Creatine is an organic acid that is used as the initial energy source for muscles. It provides explosive energy that is the primary fuel while weightlifting and during other activities that require short bursts of energy.
Why supplement with creatine?
When you supplement with creatine basically you are adding extra fuel into the tank. You will be able to get a few extra reps in with exercises which will in turn put more stress on the muscle fibers and ultimately build muscle faster.
What does creatine do for you physiologically?
The only thing creatine does is it allows for you to have a prolonged power output (aka more reps). There are NO magic abilities when it comes to creatine. So that means no pumps, no increase in energy levels, no immediate increases in strength, doesn't directly increase muscle mass, you won't be able to fly or lift a car over your head, etc. If you think you are achieving any of those feats listed then either you have a gimmicky creatine matrix that has other compounds like stimulants packed inside of it or it's all in your head.
Does our body already make creatine?
Of course, on a daily basis we naturally produce about 3g.
What creatine should I buy? Which one is the best?
Well it isn't a trivial task but supplement companies love to pump out garbage on the market and all claims to be the best which can make it difficult for consumers to make a decision. I as many other members would recommend a tub Micronized Creatine Monohydrate. Most economical and smartest choice, no need for precursors, sugars, vitamins, etc.
Is creatine similar to steroids?
No, not at all. Ignorant morons like to use this to their defense as to why they are against its use even though it's blatantly false. Some so called 'experts' who think that they know it all will compare creatine to steroids, he's the same guy who thinks to build big biceps takes doing tons of bicep curls and/or does stability training.
Does creatines effectiveness diminish over time?
Not a chance, this is somewhat intertwined with the argument that creatine is similar to steroids. As I said before it isn't similar to steroids in any way. Creatines effect on the body never changes, your body doesn't adapt to creatine the same way as your body does with certain steroids. You would be dead, life in animals, mammals,etc would be nonexistent without creatine, why adapt to something your body requires to keep functioning.
How should I take it?
Take it every day, on days where you workout take it post workout either mix it in with your protein shake or put a serving size in your mouth (usually 2-5g) and wash it down with your shake. On non workout days take in the morning when your body is in a hypersensitive state. You technically don't need to go off creatine. Your body doesn't adapt to its effects like steroids or other chemicals.
Any benefits of taking with a simple sugar?
The concept is that you spike your insulin with a simple sugar like dextrose, maltodextrin, etc; it makes for a shuttling effect for the creatine. If there is a benefit it isn't significant enough to make a difference. This doesn't hold true for supplemental insulin. The only people I would suggest to take with a simple sugar like that is if they are an athlete who needs as much recovery as possible. Other than that it is a waste, after creatine is loaded all you are doing is maintaining your creatine stores. You don't need much creatine to maintain those levels and the body is very efficient when it comes to recycling what it already has.
What do you think of protein-creatine matrix's out on the market?
Well if you manage to find a matrix that has a high quality whey or casein protein and is mixed with micronized creatine then I'm all for it. Chances of finding that though are next to 0%. Buy a separate tub of creatine and whey, get exactly what you want and is usually cheaper taking that route.
What about taking creatine in pill form?
Sure, if you want to. But my biggest complaints about them would be the fact that you don't find them as micronized creatine monohydrate, the quantity you get per bottle lasts maybe a month or two in comparison with a jug which can last you a year, the price is significantly higher per gram than in bulk powder form. A jug you can get for $30 can last you a year or even longer! So if I was to make a recommendation, go with a bulk powder version of it.
Creatine Monohydrate (CM) vs. Creatine Ethyl Ester (CEE):
CEE is a newer creatine on the market, it is supposedly better than CM since it absorbs better. Well it does absorb better into the bloodstream but the fatal flaw with CEE is that it doesn't assimilate into the muscles any better, it's actually worse than CM. You will reap greater benefits from CM vs. CEE. Another piece of information about CEE is that it is actually a very unstable form of creatine. CEE will rapidly break down in creatinine (a product produced by the breakdown of intramuscular creatine phosphate) when it come into contact with stomach acid. Meaning that it will have a diminished effect towards performance vs CM and a significant chunk of what you ingested will be immediately excreted by the body via kidneys.
Creatine Monohydrate (CM) vs Kre-alkalyn:
Kre-alkalyn is marketed as a pH stable version of creatine monohydrate. The logic behind this is that none of it will convert to creatinine when ingested and while passing through the stomach and intestines, and will only convert after its being used up as a fuel source in the form of creatine phosphate. Well here's the problem with that claim, plain old creatine monohydrate is already 99% stable in stomach acid! Also the only studies that exist that show that it is a worth while product are ones marketed by the company, effectively making those null and void since they aren't an accredited institution for creating plausible data and aren't peer reviewed studies.
I heard that they had a breakthrough and found that Creatine Phosphoglucophagiotydalate is the greatest/best creatine out on the market, what do you guys think?
First off that's not an actual form of creatine, there are many different forms I'm sure we will see many more in the future. None of these other forms have been through the same rigorous testing/studying as CM and haven’t been clinically proven to be any better. The supplement market is not regulated by the FDA which makes for a playground for companies to make any claim(s) they want.
What happens when I come off of creatine?
Nothing! What do you think will happen? Lose all your strength and muscle gains as some retards on websites will report?...NO! Over a period of a couple weeks you will lose several pounds on the scale which is solely water weight due to the depletion of excess intramuscular creatine. It may appear that you loss muscle mass simply due to the fact you lost a bunch of bloat weight, but it's all in your head. No loss of strength or muscle mass, you're an idiot if you think otherwise.
Do I need to load creatine?
NO! Taking 20 grams per day is not only incredibly wasteful but adds unnecessary stress to your kidneys. Go with your serving (normally 5g) of creatine per day and you are set to go. The one downside is it will take longer for your muscles to become fully loaded with creatine but since you will stay on creatine for months at a time you will hit 100% saturation no matter which route you choose. I put a basic chart at the bottom of this post to show my thought process on why it isn't needed.
Do I need to cycle creatine?
NO! Why do people feel the need to have to cycle everything they get? Do you cycle eating some days and not eating other days? Are you going to start cycling your one a day vitamins as well? Like I stated creatines effect on the body never changes so no need to cycle its use. Now if you want the bloat to come off then I'm all game for that but doing it because you think you'll get miraculous gains from going off of it for a month then you are wasting your time.
Mixing Caffeine and Creatine?
Supposedly mixing creatine and caffeine such as taking it with your morning coffee is a poor combination since caffeine counteracts the effects of creatine. The issue with this topic is that it is poorly studied and hasn't been shown to have any conclusive evidence supporting the claim.
None that have been clinically shown but it has been reported where people can get a stomach ache, low leg pain, and most commonly bloating (edema). Supposedly it can cause renal failure but like steroids I'm sure the issue is blown way out of proportion and isn't backed by any data. As a precautionary measure though people who do have kidney disease shouldn't supplement with creatine.
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Vitamin Thread: http://exrx.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=4360
Creatine FAQ: http://exrx.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=7858