Creatine QA

Q: Do I have to load effervescent creatine the way I do other creatine products?

A: Yes, you should perform a standard loading phase, using 20 grams of creatine a day for five days, and spread that dosage throughout the day so you get five grams at four different times. If you're using Muscle-Link's Effervescent Creatine Elite, that's four packets a day, which means one 20-packet box will take you through your five-day loading phase.

Q: I eat six meals a day, so how do I load if every dose has to be taken on an empty stomach ?

A: Take your effervescent creatine about 30 minutes before a meal. Also, it's best to use effervescent creatine 1 1/2 hours or more after a meal—preferably a protein drink rather than solid food, as protein drinks tend to leave your stomach faster.

Q: Why does my stomach have to be empty?

A: Effervescent creatine manipulates the pH of your stomach so that it immediately dumps the solution into your small intestine for maximum absorption. If food is present, the pH of your stomach will be impossible to manipulate due to stomach acid, and the creatine solution could remain in your stomach for hours, severely diminishing absorption. When your stomach is empty, on the other hand, it perceives the effervescent creatine as digested food and immediately moves it to the small intestine, where it's almost 100 percent absorbed in about 20 minutes. Compare that to the inefficient 30 percent absorption you get with standard creatine, and you see why effervescent creatine has been shown to produce almost three times the results.

Q: Can I get complete absorption with standard powdered creatine products if I use them on an empty stomach ?

A: No. The primary problem with standard creatine is its inability to dissolve. That's why you see it settle at the bottom of a glass. It does the same thing in your gut, even if your stomach is empty. According to Daniel Gwartney, M.D., what happens after you swallow powdered creatine can be a painful experience: "Cramping, diarrhea and dehydration are typical due to the creatine's being retained in the digestive tract. When the creatine sits in your gut undissolved, water floods the area in an attempt to break up the particles that are irritating the intestines. That may seem like a small problem—until you realize that it can pull in nearly two quarts of water. I don't know about you, but if I'm going for a record squat, I dont want two quarts of water in my bowels."

Q: Can't I just mix powdered creatine with Alka-Seltzer and get the same effervescent effect?

A: That may sound like a plausible plan, but, unfortunately, it doesn't work. Effervescent delivery is specific to the compound or medication that's being administered. In fact, Fortress Systems has a patent on creatine delivery in an effervescent form. That should tell you that the effervescence for delivering creatine is different from the effervescence that delivers the medications in Alka-Seltzer. The delivery system designed for creatine separates the monohydrate, or salt, from the creatine, creating a highly absorbable zwitterion. If you take powdered creatine with Alka-Seltzer, you may get somewhat less stomach distress, but the absorption of the creatine will still be low—probably around 30 percent—because it's still plain old powdered creatine monohydrate, and your intestines will no doubt still react unfavorably to the undissolved granules that irritate its lining.

Q: Can effervescent creatine help improve my weak bodyparts?

A: Yes, in fact, many bodybuilders are using an extra packet of effervescent creatine immediately before training a weak bodypart so they get rapid creatine uptake by that specific muscle group. Remember, effervescent creatine enters your bloodstream fast, in about 10 minutes, so if you take it right before you train a bodypart, as you work and deplete the muscle, it should immediately suck up any creatine that's pumped into it via the circulatory system and repetitious exercise.

For example, say your chest is your lagging bodypart. On chest day simply use an extra packet of Effervescent Creatine Elite about 10 minutes before your first warmup set. As your chest workout progresses,

A number of athletes have reported increases of as much as 30 pounds on their bench press one-rep maxes after only five days and bodyweight gains of 10 pounds in four weeks.

so does absorption of the effervescent creatine, and as your pecs are engorged with each successive set, much of the newly available creatine goes right where you need it, into the muscle cells of the pec major and minor.

O: What kind of results can I expect with effervescent créa -tine?

A: If you use a proven brand, such as Muscle-Link's Effervescent Creatine Elite, you should get an immediate increase in size and strength after the loading phase, even if you've been using standard creatine. A number of athletes have reported increases of as much as 30 pounds on their bench press one-rep maxes after only five days and bodyweight gains of 10 pounds in four weeks.

O: If I'm using standard creatine with no problems and I'm getting decent gains, should I still try effervescent creatine?

A: If you were driving around in a backfiring '74 Volkswagen Rabbit, would you spend a few extra pennies to move up to a precision-tuned Porsche? You'd be riding in greater comfort and getting to where you were going a lot faster. Remember, most people only get about 30 percent absorption with standard creatine, even when using the creatine transports. With effervescent creatine, however, you get almost 100 percent absorption. Imagine how much better your gains will be when you're getting an

Arnold Schwarzenegger Culturismo

entire five-gram dose into your bloodstream as opposed to a meager gram or two. Once you try it, it will be obvious that effervescent créa- r lâCI PICJ "Ln0 tine is the Porsche Carrera of creatine products.

Steve Holman, editor in chief, IRONMAN CPeat I ne I n

O: Are there any study results on Effervescent Creatine Elite vs. liq -uiil creatine? I've read many reports on effervescent creatine vs. area -tine monohydrate, creatine monohydrate plus carbohydrate and a placebo, but nothing about studies comparing it to liquid creatine.

A: The studies that have been completed, as well as the studies that are in progress, compare effervescent delivery of creatine to the unaided absorption of creatine, either with or without a carbohydrate source. The effervescent delivery has been shown to aid in tolerance, compliance, reduction of adverse effects and improved performance enhancement.

Powdered creatine monohydrate as well as creatine-and-carbohydrate blends have been used as the reference groups for two primary reasons:

  1. Both creatine monohydrate and creatine-carbohydrate blends have been extensively studied, and the effects, proper testing methods and reliability have been well established.
  2. Creatine monohydrate powder and creatine-carbohydrate blends represent a very high percentage of the creatine market share.

So-called liquid creatine preparations are not dissolved creatine. They're suspensions of creatine in a gel, typically aloe vera or a glycol base. Suspension is a word that describes particles floating in liquid, whether it be water, glycol, aloe vera or any other fluid. Placing the creatine in liquids other than water doesn't benefit the delivery of creatine because the body will only absorb creatine in the water-soluble form. Failure to split the hydrate salt to free the creatine does nothing for the delivery of the creatine. It's because the creatine is present as a suspension that the directions call for vigorous shaking. In addition, there's concern about the possibility of bacterial growth in many of the liquid creatine preparations.

In a pilot study performed for one of the liquid creatine companies, the liquid creatine preparation was shown to be less effective in terms of performance benefits than powdered creatine (without carbohydrate). Obviously, the company chose not to use the results of that study in any marketing literature. As liquid creatine doesn't represent any benefit over powdered creatine and does not hold a significant market share, there was no justification for including any liquid creatine preparation in any of the studies.

liquids other than water doesn't benefit the delivery of creatine because the body will only absorb creatine in the water-soluble form. Failure to split the hydrate salt tc free the creatine does nothing for the delivery ot the creatine.

O: I just heard about an effervescent creatine with a lot more simple curbs in it than Effervescent Creatine Elite. The company says the sugar makes its effervescent creatine better because you get more in -sulin in your system, and insulin forces more creatine into the mus -

Is there a way o take greater advantage of insulin's creatine-uptake-increasing ability using Effervescent Creatine Elite without derailing the reaction and absorption? You bet! Try chasing Effervescent Creatine Elite with a high-jlycemic-index juice about 20 minutes after you take it.

cles. Is that true?

A: The first thing to realize is that it's probably not real effervescent creatine. A lot of simple carbs will diffuse the reaction and derail absorption. If you're using real effervescent creatine and you want the best effects, you have to take it on an empty stomach so that the solution can shift from the stomach to the intestinal tract immediately and be 100 percent absorbed. A lot of sugar can prevent that from happening, which is the very reason Effervescent Creatine Elite has 18 grams of dextrose, enough to provide insulin output but not enough to derail the effects of effervescence.

The company you're referring to is no doubt selling regular powdered creatine in a fizzy sugar solution and trying to pass it off as effervescent creatine. It's essentially a bubbling creatine transport concoction. In the study done by Jeff Stout, Ph.D., effervescent creatine proved to be almost 100 percent more effective than creatine transports. Keep in mind that with a creatine transport, you're just getting plain old creatine, which is only about 30 to 40 percent absorbed. With Effervescent Creatine Elite you get free-ionized creatine that's almost 100 percent absorbed.

Also, Stout and Dr. Dan Gwartney believe that with powdered creatine, whether it's in a transport mix or not, the compound peaks at about 90 minutes. It takes that long because the creatine granules sit in your stomach as your system attempts to dissolve them—most not getting absorbed. Insulin, on the other hand, peaks at 10 to 20 minutes, so the two peaks miss each other by more than an hour.

If the creatine and insulin peaks miss each other, why do creatine transports, with their insulin-triggering capabilities, work better than standard powdered creatine? Because although you're past the insulin peak when you reach your creatine peak, a bit of insulin remains, so you do get somewhat more creatine into the muscle thanks to its nutrient-shunting ability.

Is there a way to take greater advantage of insulin's creatine-uptake-increasing ability and the awesome power of Effervescent Creatine Elite without derailing the reaction and absorption? You bet! Try chasing Effervescent Creatine Elite with a high-glycemic-index juice about 20 minutes after you take it.

Here's why it works: Once you take Effervescent Creatine Elite, 100 percent of the creatine will be available for absorption at the 20-minute mark. At that point the high-glycemic drink, such as 12 to 16 ounces of grape juice, won't interfere with the reaction or absorption; however, it will give you an insulin surge and peak after another 20 minutes— while all of the creatine is still coursing through your bloodstream and starting to enter your muscle structures. The peaks coincide almost exactly.

Will the extra insulin force more of the free-ionized creatine into your muscles? Insulin does seem to help the creatine transports work a little better than standard powdered creatine, so based on that, the an

swer appears to be yes. Perhaps if the subjects who were taking Effervescent Creatine Elite in Stout's study had used the above procedure, they would have gotten even more spectacular results. By precisely timing your effervescent creatine and insulin-triggering solution, you can create the perfect environment for heightened size and strength gains—better than any other creatine supplement on the market, bar none.

By the way, all the effervescent creatines on the market were just tested, and FSI's product, which is marketed by Muscle-Link as Effervescent Creatine Elite, is the only one that produced free-ionized creatine, the key to optimal absorption. It's the real deal, unlike the other knock-off products out there. Don't be fooled.

—Sieve Holman, editor in chief, IRONMAN

Keep in mind that with a creatine transport, you'rejust getting plain old creatine,

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