Creatine – The Well Rounded Supplement That Works
Creatine is proven to increase lean mass, power and strength. Creatine increases HGH and other anabolic hormones too.
It is one of the few supplements that considered to be significantly effective.
This is a highly recommended bodybuilding supplement for all lifters.
Creatine is Anabolic
Creatine has undoubtedly become one of the most valued bodybuilding products on the market, often being cited as one of the supplements that can actually produce notable results.
It works by increasing creatine stores and therefore muscle contraction energy (ATP).
In short, the organic acid is used in bodybuilding to increase muscle strength and size during bulks, maintain muscle volume during cuts and increase recovery from workouts. A less well known ability is that Creatine increase HGH.
The supplement is backed up by scientific evidence, for example it is proven to increase maximum power by 5 to 15% (1).
One study (2) investigated creatines effectiveness on lifters compared to protein and carbohydrate supplements.
This study used 31 recreational male bodybuilders over 10 weeks and compared 3 supplements; one with just protein , one with protein and carbohydrates and one with protein, carbohydrates and creatine
The ceatine mixture was able to significantly increase one-rep max strength in three exercises; bench press, lat pulldown and squats.
In the case of the bench press it even doubled their gains whilst doing a one-rep max.
Participants gained an average of 22kg to their bench press in the 10 weeks.
The users of the supplement with the creatine typically gained an extra 30-40% of lean body mass in comparison to the non creatine supplements users.
Creatine Monohydrate: The Best Form
Creatine Monohydrate is by far the most used form of creatine used in studies and the most popular on the market place.
This is simply because it is the cheapest and most effective.
There are countless brands which use flashy marketing to add a hefty price tag to try and profit from consumers.
When it comes down to it they are mostly the same level of effectiveness as the monohydrate form with some actually being worse.
Other types of creatine include buffered creatine, creatine hydrochloride, creatine citrate, creapure and creatine ethyl-ester. Creatine Monohydrate is the form that you should use if you want cheap and reliable results.
How to use creatine
A typical approach to using creatine comprises of a loading period to saturate the muscle creatine stores, followed by a maintenance dose.
A typical protocol has 2 phases:
- Loading phase: 20 grams across 4 / 5 servings for 5 days
- Maintenance phase: 5 grams a day for rest of duration of use
Creatine can be used indefinitely or cycled as some people prefer. Each time it is resumed a new loading phase must be done.
Safety and Side effects
Extensive studies have been conducted on creatines long term safety with a general consensus that it will not cause adverse side effects.
For example, a scientific review found that 5g daily dose will not cause harm (3) and
Another study found no health marker differences in a 10g daily dose compared to placebo (4).
There are a few side effects to be wary of:
- Weight gain
- Water retention
- Irritated Stomach
- High blood pressure
These are uncommon and mild when they do occur.
Creatine Increases HGH
Creatine is a must have bodybuilding supplement, not only for the benefits listed above but also its ability to assist elevating HGH in both directly and indirectly.
One small study has indicated that creatine increases HGH a acutely following consumption.
A single 20 gram dose was able to show a significant increase average of 80% in HGH levels in 6 healthy male subjects in a resting condition,
A peak occurred between 2 hours and 6 hours after consumption.
A couple of things to note are that the study was small and that there was significant variability in individuals.
That said, given creatines other bodybuilding benefits it is highly recommended for ifters.
Indirectly, creatine increases HGH by improving exercise capacity which in turn increase anabolic hormone production.
It is known that during exercise our bodies release extra hormones in response to resistance and muscle breakdown.
This includes HGH, testosterone and other androgens (male hormones).
If you can increase your workout capacity you will inevitably increase your HGH spike.
Creatine monohydrate is perhaps the best natural muscle building supplement with a an attractive price.
I highly recommend adding this to your supplement stack for the added muscle mass, power and recovery.
Evidence suggest creatine increases HGH a reasonable amount for a supplement.
This is a creatine supplement that is good value:
1.Bird, S. P. (2003). “Creatine Supplementation and Exercise Performance: A Brief Review” (PDF). Journal of Sports Science & Medicine. 2 (4): 123–132
2.Cribb PJ, Williams AD, Hayes A. A creatine-protein-carbohydrate supplement enhances responses to resistance training. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007;39:1960–1968
3.Shao A, Hathcock JN. Risk assessment for creatine monohydrate. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. (2006)
4.Groeneveld GJ, et al. Few adverse effects of long-term creatine supplementation in a placebo-controlled trial. Int J Sports Med. (2005)
5. Schedel JM, et al. Acute creatine loading enhances human growth hormone secretion. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 2000 Dec;40(4):336-42