Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Creatine Serum or Liquid Creatine

One question I am getting over and over again is about Liquid Creatine, also known as Creatine Serum. Manufacturers of liquid creatine products make many claims saying that creatine in their special serum form is superior to other forms such as creatine ethyl ester HCL or creatine monohydrate. I have been getting numerous emails asking questions about these liquid forms of creatine, whether they truly are superior to other creatine supplements, and whether liquid creatine serum is effective at all.

The main issue surrounding creatine serum is that, like so many other muscle building supplements, there have been little or no independent studies performed. Because of this, the only "evidence" we have to rely on are biased studies performed by the manufacterers themselves, anecdotal evidence, and scientific theory.

Due to the extremely biased nature of the studies performed by the maufacturers, I will completely discount those. No company is going to produce and market a body building supplement and publish a study stating that it is ineffective and/or unsafe. It just won't happen.

Anecdotal evidence is tough. If enough people tell you that something works, you may start to believe it. However, you rely much more on evidence from people you know, trust, and respect. Still, it can be tough for the person telling you that liquid creatine works to seperate the effect of the creatine serum vs. the effects of other factors, such as working out and the placebo effect.

Finally, let's take a look at what the science says is "likely" to be true. Creatine, in any form, is known to be unstable when placed in a liquid. We all know that very little of the creatine we ingest, in any form, is absorbed and used by the body. This is also why, if you take a creatine powder, it is important to drink the creatine mixture immediately after stirring in the creatine.

With that in mind, it is very difficult to see how a "liquid creatine" or a "creatine serum" could possibly remain stable. It is very likely that much of the original creatine has been broken down into the waste product creatinin. For my money, I would stick to monohydrate or, better yet, ester creatine.

Still, many users do report seeing results from taking creatine serum. If you think liquid creatine will for work for you, then go ahead and try it, it won't hurt. At worst, you will be out a little bit of money. However, you should be wary of claims that liquid creatine is instantly absorbed, etc, as those specific claims are just not true.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

How to Take Creatine Properly

Whether you are taking creatine monohydrate or creatine ethyl ester, you need to take it properly in order to see the maximum benefits and gain the most muscle. However, many, many creatine users continue to take creatine in the wrong way. With bodybuilding supplements and nutritional supplements in general, there is no doctor or pharmacist to prescribe the proper dosage to you. So, today we will teach you how to take creatine the correct way, so that you can get the maximum benefits of creatine ethyl ester or creatine monohydrate.

Should You Cycle Creatine Use?

One of the most common questions about creatine is whether or not you should cycle on and off of it. Whether you are taking monohydrate or CEE, you ABSOLUTELY SHOULD cycle on and off your creatine use. If you constantly take creatine day after day for months or years, your body will become desensitized to its effects. Your body will build up a tolerance and you will no longer gain any benefit from creatine use.

For this reason, you should cycle on and off of creatine. The most effective method is to use creatine for four weeks, and then quit for four weeks. After abstaining for four weeks, you start taking creatine again for another four weeks. This helps you avoid building up a tolerance and allows you to keep seeing benefits from taking creatine. You will also save money by not having to buy creatine constantly!

Loading Phase and Maintenance Phase

The four weeks of taking creatine (in the "on" cycle) should be broken down into two phases: a loading phase and a maintenance phase. The very first week is the loading phase. During this phase, you should take about twice the normal amount of creatine per day. Break this up into two or three dosages per day. The goal during this loading phase is to help your body build up it's creatine stores as quickly as possible. Still, there is no point in taking more than 2 to 4 times your normal creatine dosage during this phase. Anything more simply will not be absorbed by your body, and may cause increased bloating, cramping, dehydration, and diarrhea.

The final three weeks in the "on" cycle make up the maintanence phase. You have built up the stores of creatine in your cells during the loading phase. Now, you are simply keeping the stores full at their maximum capacity. Take a normal dosage of creatine daily during these three weeks (probably half to a quarter of what you were taking during the loading phase). After these three weeks are up, completely stop taking creatine for four weeks. Then, repeat the cycle again, beginning with the loading phase.

By taking creatine in this manner, you are getting the maximum benefit while reducing the risk of building up a tolerance. It is important to follow the cycle whether you are taking monohydrate or creatine ethyl ester.