Creatine is a natural hormone created in your body in the liver, pancreas, and kidneys. Once it reaches your muscles, it is converted into phosphocreatine (creatine phosphate). This high-powered metabolite is used to regenerate the muscles’ ultimate energy source, ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Creatine Monohydrate (the supplement form of creatine) has been touted as a wonder-drug in helping to make muscle gains, increasing athletic performance, speeding up recovery rates, and it basically helps to create muscle mass.
Creatine is found in all meat sources, so the more meat you eat, the more you’re getting. But if you’re supplementing with creatine monohydrate, there are a couple of things you should add to make it more potent and more effective. Many supplement companies are already keen on this, so if your creatine has other things in it don’t take too much.
Betaine is found in beets. It enhances the body’s ability to produce creatine. So if you take it with creatine, your body will not only be making more creatine, but you’ll also be getting more through the supplement. If you’re not eating beets, which I’m willing to guess you’re not, this is a good supplement to add to your supplementing routine.
Beta-alanine is an amino acid your body creates that, when bonded to histidine, forms carmosine, a dipeptide that increases strength and endurance. This is a great supplement to take on its own, but when you add it to creatine it’s like getting a double dose! Studies have found that people who follow a weight-training program and take both beta-alanine and creatine together gain more muscle than people who just supplement with creatine.
Alpha-lipoic Acid is a powerful antioxidant that boots insulin’s effect on muscle cells. It helps your muscle cells take in more creatine (and carbs). Studies have shown that people who take Alpha-lipoic acid, creatine, and sugar have significantly more creatine in their muscles than people who take creatine and sugar alone. (Creatine is absorbed into your muscle best when taken with sugary drinks.)
Do you supplement your creatine with anything else?