I recently started reading your blog and thoroughly enjoy your wisdom and insight on so many topics. One thing that caught my eye was your supplementation of Creatine. I have used Creatine as a supplement, however, I am not a consistent user of it. If my training is up and more intense and like to use it. Like any supplement, I don`t like to do it all of the time. Anyway, what brand do you prefer? Also, when do you take it? Do you take it before training, after, in the morning? Just curious when you feel the best time to take Creatine is. Any other information you can give me concerning this topic would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for writing to me! I take 3 1000 mg tablets of creatine every morning (3 grams/day), just because morning is when I take the supplements I use. Otherwise I can never remember or make time, so that part is not entirely scientific.
I know creatine has been used in large doses for building muscle mass by weightlifters. I take it in a consistent small, daily dose because vegetarians have lower levels of creatine than people who eat meat, and all of the research I’ve done has pointed to great benefits for supplementing with it in reasonable amounts.
It appears to me that you’re actually better off being vegan and supplementing with creatine than getting larger amounts through meat consumption.
Studies have shown that vegans who supplement with creatine gain increased memory and mental sharpness, even when starting at the same baseline as meat eaters:
“A 2010 study of 121 young women (71 of whom were vegetarian or vegan) had the subjects supplement with either 20 g of creatine per day (four doses of 5 g throughout the day) or placebo for five days (4). At baseline, the vegetarians had similar memory to the meat-eaters, but after supplementation, the vegetarians who supplemented with creatine had better memory than the meat-eaters in either group. This study found that vegetarians were more sensitive to supplementation with creatine than meat-eaters.”
Since I started taking creatine, I can remember all the beta on my projects! 😉
From a training (i.e. climbing!) perspective, it also appears that creatine can help improve strength building “Extensive research has shown that oral creatine supplementation at a rate of five to 20 grams per day appears to be very safe and largely devoid of adverse side-effects, while at the same time effectively improving the physiological response to resistance exercise, increasing the maximal force production of muscles in both men and women.”
So you can remember all the beta on your projects AND do the moves: win!
The wikipedia entry on creatine is very informative, and you can check out all the direct links to the research studies cited.
For similar reasons, I also take eleuthero (also known as siberian ginseng). People have been using eleuthero in the mountains for centuries, but it’s been hard to get “scientific” confirmation of its efficacy until recently. A study was done in Taiwan, with endurance athletes taking eleuthero recording increased endurance of 23%. They found there was an initial loading phase of 8 weeks before seeing results. There appear to be many other positive effects from siberian ginseng as well, but the endurance study is what got me taking it. I take 3/day (at 1200 mg each) just like the creatine.
I’ve been taking creatine for over a year and eleuthero for 6 months. I have noticed improvements in both climbing power and hiking/running/skate skiing endurance since adding creatine and eleuthero to the few supplements I like to use. I don’t like to take a ton of supplements, but when I notice results from something I have the motivation to be consistent with it.
Hope that helps with your research! Steph