Is Creatine Still Effective In 2013?

Image by: Chris Hunkeler
By Will Rand

Creatine supplements have been around for decades, and if you’re a serious weight lifter or athlete you’ve probably considered using creatine at one point. The majority of creatine users and potential users don’t really know much about it besides what they hear from others, “creatine gives you water mass and boosts your energy,” and “it’s a natural supplement because creatine is already produced in your body.”

However, it’s important to know what current researchers are also finding to update the efficacy (effectiveness) of short term creatine supplementation because products always change, and research reveals whether a product is effective or dangerous. Thorough research often can take decades to find valuable and consistent results. So if you’re thinking about putting on bulk or improving your sprint through sheer sweat with a little help of creatine, here is some valuable, current information for you:

Monohydrate vs. Hydrochloride

Various forms of creatine are out on the market. Current research has shown that a third generation form of creatine has the highest bioavailability and performance gain and the least negative side effects compared to creatine monohydrate (a natural form similar to our bodies, and was considered to be the most effective) powder. The third generation form is creatine hydrochloric salt (concentrated form of creatine) which has an increased solubility in water and a 50% higher intake by cells in your body. It also has more than double the shelf life of monohydrate.

Combining Creatine With Other Supplements

The authors of a new study that was recently published showed that combining creatine with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) increased the peak power of sprinters and allowed their peak power to last longer when compared to the control groups that had taken creatine but not sodium bicarbonate, or neither.

Also it’s important to note that studies are still reinforcing the safety of long term creatine use as well, where where the majority of studies don’t find a significant difference in negative health effects after a 12 week period on common misconceptions on kidney functionor the increase of cortisol (the stress hormone).

Other Important Uses

Creatine is also used for non-athletic purposes as a supplement to enhance health in various conditions such as fibromyalgia, congestive heart failure, depression, bipolar disorder, and other diseases that affect muscular and nervous systems. Americans use more than 4 million kilograms of creatine each year, but most don’t know that creatine does not decrease inflammation in these conditions. Instead creatine helps by increasing muscle content in muscular disorders and produces effects on serotonin and dopamine pathways that may help with therapeutic treatment of many mental disorders.