Wednesday, April 13, 2011

“Secret” Benefits Of Creatine

I’ve been touting the benefits of creatine forever but it seems/feels as though it’s a supplement that’s moved beyond its heyday. This isn’t to say it’s become less effective. It’s because the supplement world is all about the flavor of the day. Never mind that it’s exceedingly rare for any supplement to live up to its initial hype, tried and true simply doesn’t make sexy copy. So I was happy to see a link to an article titled The Secret Benefits of Creatine Revealed in this morning’s mail, even if it began stating what many of us already know.

“When it comes to building muscle, creatine enjoys a relatively rare distinction amongst “performance enhancing” supplements: It actually lives up to its hype. Indeed, a recent review of 22 studies found that, when used in conjunction with weight training, creatine can boost strength gains by up to 8 percent.”

Next, it moved on to the “secrets”:

1 - makes up for lost sleep
2 - combats muscle pain
3 - turns back the clock
4 - recover faster
5 - optimizes a vegetarian diet

Okay, so if you dig a little these are basically variations on the same theme, recovering better, it’s still very topical information. I’m not so sure about the secret part, since the last tip is one we’ve been dishing out to vegetarians for over a decade, but it’s nice to dust off old information that’s still current. And, hey, if you spin it a bit you could say that because creatine’s been off the radar for a while it’s secret to a new generation. Sure, sure, and I’ve got a great deal on a time share to tell you about.

Anyways, even though this article is written in a somewhat over-the-top style that typifies Men’s Health, it’s still educational. And the bullet points are referenced by solid science so a little hyperbole is warranted. Finally, it’s nice to see a supplement still getting good press after more than 20 years of popularity, especially one I’ve been recommending.

8 comments:

postmaster said...

i've heard creatine builds mass. Is it helpful for building muscle without weight gain? Climbing related question. From phone.

Anonymous said...

I'd be interested in your take on cycling vs. not cycling. Specifically:
- do we even need to bother cycling creatine at all?
- if so, is there an "optimal" cycle in terms of # weeks on vs. # of weeks off.

I've seen arguments from both sides of the creatine cycling fence and would like to hear your opinion.

Steve Edwards said...

If you follow the link to the message board post I think it will explain this. It's not a mass supplement per se (it targets the Kreb's Cycle so it's about anerobic muscular endurance) but you do tend to retain water while you're taking it. I recommend cycling it for almost everyone but particularly for climbers.

Steve Edwards said...

There's an FAQ on the Message Boards where I go into some depth. The bottom line is that I don't know and research is conclusive that nobody does. The are pluses and minuses to both. I know Tony Horton used to take it full time (not super high dosage) and said he felt weak when he went off of it. That seems somewhat common for vegetarians. I think in high dosages (10 grm/day or more) cycling makes sense.

InsaneXer said...

I started taking like 1-2 grams a day post workout, seems to help me recover a little not a lot. Lots of red meat works as well :)

Anonymous said...

Will creatine help if your body produces zero HGH?

Steve Edwards said...

Yes it should because it works in a totally different pathway to HGH.

Anonymous said...

What are your thoughts on women using it?