Creatine supplements may help you build bigger muscles faster. It improves muscle contractions during a workout and also helps the muscles retain more water for a bulkier appearance. If you're shopping for a creatine supplement to add to your diet and exercise regimen, the dozens of products on store shelves can be confusing. Know exactly what type of supplement to look for before you select a creatine supplement.
Generally, you will find creatine health supplements formulated from five kinds of creatine: creatine citrate, creatine ester, creatine malate, creatine monohydrate and creatine phosphate. The monohydrate form of this supplement has been studied the most, reports the McKinley Health Center, and therefore has the most documented results. Additionally, creatine monohydrate comes endorsed as the "preferred" form of creatine by "Men's Fitness" magazine.
Your dose of creatine can be delivered in three common forms: as a powder, as a chewable tablet or as a capsule. If you plan to mix your creatine with a beverage or other health supplement such as a protein shake, the powdered form may pose as the best choice. For convenience, tablets or pills are best.
When starting your creatine dosages, aim to take 5 g of creatine four times a day for seven days. After this week-long loading phase, switch to just 5 g a day. Anything more than this may create a health risk. Check the dosage sizes on the bottle of the creatine supplement, and avoid any products that recommend taking exaggerated amounts of this supplement.
Addition of Sugar
Some creatine products come enhanced with simple sugars or starch. Taking creatine in combination with carbohydrates helps enhance how your body absorbs this health supplement. If you don't want to trouble yourself with pairing your creatine with carbs such as fruit juice, you may wish to choose a creatine supplement that comes premixed with a carbohydrate.
It's not uncommon to find creatine supplements enhanced with other potentially beneficial substances, including L-glutamine, taurine and vitamins. For some, these may enhance the product's attraction and benefits, especially when comparing two or more different creatine products. Practice caution; to avoid interactions with other supplements or medications that you're taking, or complications with any pre-existing health conditions, consult a physician before adding creatine to your regimen.
- Go Ask Alice!: Creatine Monohydrate Supplement for Strength?; Columbia University Health Services; May 2008
- "Men's Fitness"; Creatine; Lisa Freedman
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Creatine; Steven Ehrlich; June 2009
- "Creatine: The Power Supplement"; Melvin Williams, et al.; 1999