Category: Supplements

The Truth About Supplements

One issue where we all must be careful is when it comes to our health. Extreme caution is necessary about our source of information, the substances that we consume, and our general lifestyle. Many ordinary folks are resorting to the use of supplements to either lose weight or add up some bulk. Yes, some supplements can help achieve your goals but most are a waste of money.

The major disadvantage and hence worrying thing about supplements is that their use is not regulated. What this simply translates to is that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or other government regulatory agencies are not involved in ensuring that the supplements used by the people are safe. It’s up to consumers to let the FDA know that the supplement is NOT safe.

For example, take the case of the supplement ephedra. This product was the best supplement many consumers have seen for many years, as it effortlessly help those who want to shed off excess weights do so without any alteration in their feeding habits and exercise routine. While for other people, what made ephedra great was the burst of energy it provides. But unfortunately, it was discovered that ephedra was very lethal, and so had to join the long list of supplements that were pulled off the market.

Due to the fact that places like GNC and other retail outlets sell health supplements, many folks erroneously assume that the products are safe, because of the widespread belief that such reputable outlets will sell nothing but genuine and safe items. Well if you are in the same boat with these people you are all wrong, the outlets are simply in business and so will put the products on the shelf, thus the reputation of the store does not have anything to do with the safety of the supplements you are purchasing.

Weight lifters who take bodybuilding supplements must also watch it because most of these products are often labeled as “natural” but this always turns out to be false. This is so due to the fact that the FDA has no regulations for the term “natural”, and the effects of these so called natural supplements have on the body could be harmful.

The internet has hundreds of different brands of weight gain supplements for sale. However you need to be cautious about buying supplements online, so carrying out some research about the product is highly recommended. Most supplement websites feature supplement reviews for all their products, so you can see what other users think of a specific supplement. Make sure to also read any credible research studies which have been done.

Biased Research Studies

Have you ever seen a study that says such and such bodybuilding supplement work because control groups have been selected and control group A gained X amount of muscle and control group B gained Y amount of muscle? Ill bet you have. The truth is that individuals do almost all of these studies or research groups whose job is to make slanted studies look like unbiased scientific data. All studies are subject to bias when there is money involved especially big money and the supplement industry has become big money.

A lot of times supplement companies will call the research facilities and tell them that they need certain results on paper by a certain time because the adds have already been laid out. The bottles have already been labeled and the distributors are in place to pawn it off on the dealers who in turn pawn it off on you. And the research is available in the form of charts and graphs (of course) because its pretty and easy to glance at and see there data.

Its no secret that creatine works, the method that it works through is not that complicated. So why have there been over 2000 independent studies done on it? Well everyone has an interest in this supplement from a marketing standpoint. Every company wants you believing that their creatine is better or that there delivery system is superior. The end result is that some thing that should have been simple to start with becomes so unnecessarily complex that you (the consumer) feel that the supplement is so advanced that it is worth all the extra money they are asking for it. Don’t just buy something that has lab tests behind it saying that it works because Creatine that looks like Alka-Seltzer is the latest fad, er what ever!

The fact is that proper nutrition is 70-80% of a natural bodybuilders routine if he wishes to reach peak physical condition but you could spend a hell of a lot less money on your supplementation if you just learn the difference between hype and science! A lot of people looking to pack on muscle are taking pills and powders by the boatload based on these supposed studies that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that this supplement works!

Creatine Monohydrate Guide

A Practical Guide To Using Creatine

One of the few bodybuilding supplements which I can recommend using is creatine monohydrate. Most supplements have no scientific research showing if they work or how safely they work. Creatine is an example of a nutritional supplement with sufficient scientific research to show its safety.

What Are The Benefits of Creatine?

Anyone who wants to develop muscular strength or would like a significant increase in body weight should consider taking creatine supplements. Creatine is a naturally occurring substance which is produced in the human body. This is what makes it a safe supplement. If you take too much creatine then is required, your body will simply convert the substance in to creatinine and excrete it. No known research exists that lead scientists to believe that creatine supplementation would harm the liver or any other bodily organ over a prolonged period of time. That being said, it’s best to urge on the side of caution when using creatine, less is always more.

What Does Creatine Do?

Production of creatine in the body aids in the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP fuels short-term energy output. This is very beneficial when you start lifting weights to build muscle mass. ATP is your body’s source of explosive energy. The increased energy will allow you to lift heavier which will result in greater gains in lean muscle mass. And no! Creatine is not a form of anabolic steroids.

Foods which contain creatine include red meat and fish. However, the creatine concentrations in food such as these food items tend to be small. One kilogram of beef contains only one gram of creatine. So, getting the recommended daily dose of creatine through whole foods proves unpractical. Therefore, taking creatine supplements is an easier way to consume optimal levels of dietary creatine.

Why You Need To Cycle Creatine Monohydrate

Muscles can hold only a finite amount of creatine. Research has shown up to a 50% increase in skeletal muscle creatine content following 5 days of supplementation. It is not known if this is the limit. In fact we know very little about different creatine dosing regimes. Creatine requires a receptor on the surface of the muscle cell to carry it into the cell. As soon as a person starts taking creatine, the body begins to get rid of some of these receptors. Also, the body stops producing its own creatine. This is the body’s way to try to maintain the status quo.

Therefore in the first few days your body will absorb about half of the ingested dose. After a week or so, however, it is likely that most of the creatine you ingest is not absorbed at all. That is why after an initial 5 day loading phase, very little creatine is required to maintain muscle levels. That is why cycling creatine monohydrate might be a good idea. After 6-8 weeks of supplementation you might take 2-3 weeks off and then begin with the loading phase followed by a maintenance dose for another 6-8 weeks. This time off will allow the body to begin to increase the number of creatine receptors and perhaps increase the body’s ability to absorb creatine.

How To Dose Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine is available in tablet, gel capsule and powder forms. The tablets and capsules are perhaps more convenient because determining exact doses is easier. The creatine monohydrate powder, however, is typically cheaper and has no taste. The recommended dose is 15-25 grams (depending on body weight) per day for 5 days followed by 3-5 grams per day for 6-8 weeks. This seems to produce pretty good results in most people. Since creatine monohydrate is virtually tasteless it should be palatable in water.

If the initial loading phase and maintenance dose is not working for you, you can try a new way of taking creatine monohydrate suggested on Muscle Hack, which involves loading and abstinence of creatine every 3 days to help maximize muscle creatine concentrations. There is reason to suggest that a small maintenance dose of about 5 grams per day is next to useless for maintaining high creatine concentrations, so you may want to try this method.

What Happens When You Stop Taking Creatine?

When a person takes steroids (which are actually synthetic forms of the hormone testosterone) the body begins to get rid of steroid receptors and stops producing its own testosterone. Because of this when a person stops taking steroids he may experience unusually low testosterone levels. In addition the receptor downregulation makes his body less responsive to the testosterone his body is producing. This may result in muscle loss. There is no equivalent process for creatine. Although creatine supplementation does cause creatine receptor downregulation, there is no decrease in skeletal muscle creatine content to below normal levels when a person stops supplementation.

Creatine Supplements Are Not The Only Answer

There are no magic bullets or guarantees when taking creatine monohydrate. No supplement will produce good results if you have a poor workout or diet plan. Perhaps you should begin by reevaluating your weight gain program. Supplements such as creatine and whey protein should never be the cornerstone of your overall plan. At best, even a very good “natural” supplement will make only a 20-30% difference in your rate of progress. Also, as with any supplement, individual results may vary.