Bump Up the Pump


We like to believe that creatine is so named because it creates muscle mass. However, even if that were true, the world’s most popular supplement can always benefit from a bit of an assist. Numerous other supplements help improve the uptake of — and results from — creatine supplementation. No surprise, supplement manufacturers are savvy to this science, so your creatine product might already boast one or more of these boosters. However, if you’re taking creatine by itself, consider taking one of these alongside.

Betaine Found in beets, this choline metabolite enhances the body’s ability to produce creatine. Taking it with creatine, therefore, really ramps up creatine levels because not only is your body getting it supplementally, but it’s also increasing its own supply.

Alpha-lipoic acid A powerful antioxidant, alpha-lipoic acid boosts insulin’s effects on muscle cells, helping them take in more carbs — and creatine. A study from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada and published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism in 2003 found that subjects taking alpha-lipoic acid along with creatine and sugar increased creatine levels in muscle significantly more than those taking creatine and sugar or creatine alone.

Beta-alanine This amino acid bonds with histidine to form carnosine, a dipeptide that increases strength and endurance. While you’ll get good results from supplementing with beta-alanine or creatine, you’ll get even better results from supplementing both. Researchers aren’t entirely sure why, but studies have shown that when subjects took creatine with beta-alanine and followed a weight-training program, they gained more muscle than those who just took creatine.