View Full Version : Creatine

Patrick Johnston
08-18-2003, 07:14 PM
I was wondering if anyone could recommend an effective and very digestable (no cramps or farts) brand and/or form of creatine. Any informed opinions (especially Robb's) would be appreciated. Also, is creatine generally recommended? What are the pros and cons? I don't eat much red meat right now (once a month or so) if that makes any difference. Thanks in advance.

Robert Wolf
08-19-2003, 12:05 AM

I really like the company Bioplex, but any pharmaceutical grade product is fine. Shop around as the prices vary incredibly. Bioplex has a plain creatine monohydrate which is good quality and inexpensive...the product with sugar is a waste of money, just go for the plain variety.

Red meat is a good source of creatine, however most fish, poultry etc. will provide ample amounts as well.

David Heyer
08-19-2003, 04:15 AM
Rob knows MUCH more than I do on this subject, but in my opinion you don't need it at all. I'm not much into any supplements. I believe that if you were to have it, it would come in natural food. I also believe that Creatine will cause health problems in the long run if you supplement for long periods of time, or use really high doses.
I work with a young bodybuilder and ex-football player who takes creatine/all other fad supplements. He looks like a stud. But.... not to sound egotistical, he can't keep up with me at any activity.
Forget the supplements, do Crossfit, sleep more and eat right. Your body will reward you!

Robert Wolf
08-19-2003, 09:59 AM

In general I would agree where supplements are concerned however creatine has quite a body of research indicating that it lowers bad cholesterol, raises good cholesterol, decreases the likelyhood of CVA's (stroke) just to list a few benefits. I endorse very few suplements but creatine happenes to be one I do endorse.

It may improve ones athletecism (~ 25% of people using it are non-responders and do not receive significant performance improvement) the health benefits alone are woth the price IMO.

David Heyer
08-19-2003, 02:44 PM
I'm a stubborn s.o.b., so bear with me. It would take a whole lot of proof for me to budge on this one. I also believe that in a few years the damage creatine users/abusers cause to their kidneys will be irreversible! I hope that I'm wrong on that.
I was under the impression that your body could only assimulate a minute amount of creatine. Pretty much the amount in an average steak. So why bother purchasing additional creatine when you eat all you can get/absorb?
Isn't it true that most of the research was/is conducted by or paid for by the companies that produce creatine. I think the point would be to sucker the public to purchase their products.
I would think that a placebo effect also may be the cause for some of the "improvements".
Do you know of any good studies on the internet? Let me know.

Ahmed Moussa
08-19-2003, 04:32 PM
From all that I have gathered about cretine, its an amazing supplement. However, im also taking into account the fact that a good majority of Crossfitters are following reduced carbohydrate eating patterns. The only people that I have seen benefit from Creatine are junk food eating teenagers who drink sodas all day and beer all night. This seems to support the theory by most reports that the best result in uptake for creatine comes from an insulin response. IMO, insulin response is bad, and i would feel like trash if i evoked an insulin response pre workout as the guidelines for creatine ask for. The Natural Hormonal Enhancement site with Ask ROb has a question on there about eating low carb and taking creatine. IMO, its a cheap supplement which works on more than an aesthetic level, its worth trying on paleo. Good luck.


Patrick Johnston
08-20-2003, 07:14 AM
Thanks for all the input. Please keep it coming. Robb, I would love to see some of these studies if you can direct me to any that you think I might find interesting. Also Robb, please drop me an email to let me know how Chico is. How are you, John, the academy, etc. doing? If it is easier, give me a call. I hope all is well and it is not too hot.

Jeff Reiser
08-20-2003, 08:15 AM
Creatine worked for me, but when I quit taking it I lost about 10 lbs. To a man, seeing there body shrink by 10 lbs. was mentally hard. Also, I lost only a little strenght, you know a rep here or there.

Having said that, now I take a multi-vitamin and eat real well, lots of protein, etc., and I am in much better shape now.

Larry Lindenman
08-20-2003, 10:59 AM
There is a large body of scientific studies, some long term, which prove the safety of creatine and no reputable studies which show any harmful side effects. That being said, I haven't used it in about two years, but saw good results when I did. All I could say is try it per the recomendations (10 g / day load X 1 wk 5g / maintain) for a month and report back your results. Non-responders have found taking creatine with a sugery drink increases it's effectiveness. I would disagree that you never want a insulin spike, I believe there is research which shows insulin spikes are anabolic, especially post exercise (hence the post workout Protein / carb drink).

Robert Wolf
08-20-2003, 12:04 PM

Stuborn is good! John Berardi at www.testosterone.net (http://www.testosterone.net) has sifted through much of the research regarding creatine. Give his site a look. Also putting creatine into the Pubmed search engine will give you reems of good research. I apologize for not having more specifics but I'll have to leave to "proving" up to you! Your questions are good. All I can say is no one is getting rich off of creatine and it truely appears to be safe.


Most of the post workout anabolism is actually NOT attributable to insulin but rather to aspects of the neuroendocrine response, specifically the IGF (insulin like growth factor) family. I really like NHE but everything I read about insulin spikes scares me. The post workout window is an environment in which insulin sensitivity is greatly increased. I have been tinkering with moderate carb/protein feedings at this time and making most of my other meals fat protein. I like how I feel and the results I have been achieving. I do not do the carb feeding after every workout...I try to keep some randomness in there. NHE claims a post workout carb feeding will squealch hgH release but this does not appear to be the case.

Ahmed Moussa
08-20-2003, 01:20 PM
the thing about insulin is its two sides. on one hand we have a very powerful anabolic hormone which if creating a spike in the body, post workouit, may be the best time. however, we also have an even more powerful lipogenic hormone which lingers for hours. insulin stays around for a good part of a day when secreted, and theres just way too much evidence supporting against chronically elevated insulin levels. robb, correct if me im wrong, but wouldnt an insulin spike at any time of day also raise your cortisol levels, completely dimishing the efficacy of the spike in the first place?

im really sorry that a creatine question turned to this. im considering going back to trying it out, especially under NHE eating guidelines. it may take around 10 grams to see results but ill tinker and let you guys know. take care.

p.s. robb, i just remebered your comment about insulin sensitivity post workout. if you could explain the state in which the body is in post workout in terms of insulin sensitivity that would be very helpful. thanks.


Patrick Johnston
08-20-2003, 02:28 PM

David Heyer
08-20-2003, 03:21 PM
Robb, I went on www.testosterone.net (http://www.testosterone.net) and the first article on the top 7 creatine myths just re-enforced my bullheadedness. http://t-mag.com/html/10creat.html
Many years ago, I remember reading articles on the positive effects of sodium bicarbonate injestion. They both seem to produce similar results. Obviously, baking soda is a lot cheaper but may be harder on the stomach. What are your thoughts?

Ahmed Moussa
08-20-2003, 03:35 PM
oh sorry, natural hormonal enhancement. three days low carb and two carb load meals on the third day. im sure there was a lot of discussion on this board about the book, definitely worth checking out.


Robert Wolf
08-20-2003, 04:12 PM

NHE-Natural Hormonal Enhancement I will call you this evening after capoeira!

Ahmed- An insulin spike typically occurs in a fed state and it is unlikely to see a cortisol release at this time. We can however see rebound hypoglycemia after an insulin spike and that hypoglycemic state will elicit a cortisol release.

The post workout insulin sensitivity is poorly understood and starts involving cell transport protiens...it gets complex quickly. IGF certianly plays a role and modification of the cell receptors plays a major role. This may seem a cop out but I dont think much is going to be gained from the research going into the exact mechanism involved here. We know exercise (particularly intense & intermitant) improves ensulin sensitivity as does sleep and mono unsaturated fats. Sorry I can not flesh that out further!

Here is the second to closing paragraph from TC Louma's article:

"Hopefully, I haven't caused you to discard your 400-pound, one-month supply of creatine into the local landfill. Creatine is a great supplement; it cosmetically enhances your appearance by making your muscles look more full, and it gives you greater work capacity which, in the long run, will lead to greater legitimate muscle mass and strength."

When it is all said and done he conceeds it will increase work capacity and likely muscle mass as a consequence. He does not mention the studies showing how creatine can prevent ischemic reperfusion dammage or its positive effects on blood lipids. Is creatine the end all supplement? Well...maybe! I say this because it really does something! Most do absolutely nothing. And again it is available for pennies a day. Can one undo the evils of bad diet, little sleep and poor training with creatine? No, but if these paramaters are dialed in I think there is ample evidence to use creatine...aside even from its supposed performance benefits.

Creatine like sodium/potassium bicarb acts as a buffer. If one can buffer the effects of lactate and corbonic acid formation in the blood under extreme conditions performance can be enhanced. Creatines efficacy goes far beyond its utility as a buffer. As an asside most of the challenge with sodium bicarb was in achieveing a therapeutic dose without vomiting. This can be easily avoided using a mix of sodium and potassium bicarb solutions.

I think it is important to keep in mind these items add percentage points. They are not the base of a strength and conditioning program.

David Heyer
08-20-2003, 04:48 PM
I eat my morning cornflakes out of the skulls of creatine users!:angry:
Ahh, I'm just kidding.....I don't eat cornflakes.
Thanks for the information.

Barry Cooper
08-20-2003, 05:43 PM
My two cents: I really think different people react differently to the same things. I also think you have to keep one eye on current biochemical and nutritional research, and the other eye on what works for you. Eye number two needs to maintain a certain distance from all the facts and figures.

I remember back in the eighties when--at least in my circle--"The Pritikin Principle" was the big thing. I don't know if he started the low fat thing, but he was involved. If you read it, you probably remember the Tasajara Indians (I'm not sure I spelled that right, though), and their 100 mile ball kicking contests.

The bottom line is it sounded well reasoned and plausible. I tried the diet, but I never felt right, so I bagged it. I'm not convinced even today that the be-all and end-all diet has been found. Definitely read stuff and try stuff, but we all have to make our own calls.

Rob is a smart guy, so creatine is definitely worth a shot, but if it doesn't work for you, bag it.

As for me, I'll try it some day, but I'm currently on a Kinks-style LOW BUDGET. I'm not even taking fish oil or a multivitamin. Somehow I still feel OK.

Robert Wolf
08-21-2003, 12:34 PM
I totally agree. I usually give my recomendations with the caveat "tinker with it...see how it works." For me evolutionary biology and nutritional biochem, to paraphrase Bruce Lee, "point a way" but they are certianly not THE way. I have recomended three basic dietary protocols on this board: 1) Zone, 2) NHE 3) Massive Eating. All of these I recomend paleo type foods but each one approaches the issues of insulin control in a different way. All work well and may work better for some people than others...which is why I throw them out there and recomend tinkering.

The creatine issue for me is that it is cheap, seems to have broad ranging benefits, and is still consistent with my views of evolutionary biology and what not. As Loren Cordains article shows:

A paleo type protocol is like taking a nutritional supplement...or is just the way we are designed to eat.

Great discussion!

Emil Berengut
09-17-2003, 07:45 AM
Guys, question-once I went through the loading phase and have been taking 5mg a day, do I have to keep taking it daily?What about the days that I don't workout? also, I heard some people cycle it. What are the usually cycle durations?

Robert Wolf
09-17-2003, 10:04 AM
Forget the loading phase...it was a great marketing ploy by Bill Phillips. Once you have been taking the creatine for a wekk or two it is fine to skip a day here and there or so simply dial back to a lower dosage.

Jeff Reiser
09-19-2003, 08:38 AM
To throw a completely different twist to all of this....if Creatine fills the muscle up with water, doesn't it do the same thing to your heart, brain, etc.?

In my opinion that sounds a little scary!

It seems to me that everything should be taken in moderation, too much of one thing can be bad when there isn't something else to counter act it.

Just a few rambling thoughts.