Edited Feb-9-2011 by Earl

Creatine Monohydrate

Can increase muscle strength, muscle size, and mental performance.

Taking small doses throughout the day is better than taking one large dose each day.  Take small doses with each meal to reduce creatine loss in urine and to decrease formation of methylamine.   [ source:  pubmed ]

A good daily dose may be 5g / day.  That's equivalent to 2.4 pounds of fresh, uncooked steak!  [ source: ncbi.nlm.nih.govBy comparison, we typically get only about 1 g of creatine in the daily diet.  [ source:  healthlibrary.epnet.com ]

It would be wise to give your body a break from this supplementation by cycling it.

Supplementing with creatine monohydrate did not have any negative health effects on football players, but did increase their body mass.  [pubmed]

strong brain

Creatine is good for making a strong brain, too!  Our brain uses about 20% of our body’s chemical energy.  We have to fuel our brain, as well as our muscles. If creatine helps fuel our muscles, it seems intuitive that creatine would help fuel our brain. Our mental abilities could benefit from creatine.  

One study showed that creatine helped normal, healthy people experience less mental fatigue when solving math problems.  [source:  life-enhancement.com]

Don't eat meat?  Another study on vegetarians showed they benefited from oral creatine supplementation.  The creatine enhanced their intelligence test scores and working memory performance.  [source:  pubmedcentral.nih.gov]

Not getting enough sleep?  During sleep deprivation, creatine supplementation appears to help protect the brain's performance and mood.  [ source:  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov ]

Creatine Monohydrate and CLA combined

There was even more of an increase in muscle mass and strength when creatine monohydrate was combined with CLA. [pubmed].  

Eggs and mushrooms are a natural source of CLA [wikipedia],  

Eggs apparently contain CLA.  It's the yolk specifically that holds the CLA.  How much CLA is in an egg?  Well, one large egg yolk is 17g.  Eggs contain 4.0% CLA per gram of yolk.  We can calculate that one large egg yolk contains 0.7g of CLA.  (17g x .040 = 0.7g)  So if you wanted to consume 3.4g of CLA per day, you could get all of that from 5 egg yolks.  

If you want to avoid the high fat content of so many egg yolks, you could substitute some of those yolks with mushrooms.  Perhaps 2 egg yolks and a good serving of mushrooms would provide the equivalent dose of CLA that you would find in capsule form.  [Earl's note:  I am still trying to find how much CLA is in mushrooms.  Will update this page when I learn the CLA concentration of mushrooms.]  More foods that contain CLA.

cc - February 9, 2011

Thank you for this site and info.
3 questions...

-Why do you say..."It would be wise to give your body a break from this supplementation by cycling it."

-What is cycling...to you.

-Did you find any additional info on "...how much CLA is in mushrooms."   

Earl - February 9, 2011

Thank you.  Good questions.  I don't know much about the health implications for ingesting too much creatine, so to be safe, I recommend cycling it.  I think it's wise to use it in moderation since I have not seen a study that shows that it is safe for long-term use.  

When we consume more creatine than our body can use, a by-product is methylamine.  Give your body a break from it and let your body use up the creatine and expel the methylamine that might have built up.

What is bad about methylamine?  One study from Food Chem Toxicol. 1983 suggests that the higher incidence of stomach cancer in Japan and China is linked to their consumption of squid and octopus, which is high in methylamine.  But this type of seafood also is high in dimethylamine, which might be the true culprit.  I don't know and because of this uncertainty, I think it's wise to take a break from creatine and let the body use up the excess and if cancer cells are growing, give your body a chance to starve them and kill them.  I might use it two weeks on, one week off, but my actual practice is to just take creatine when I think my muscles or brain need a boost, which is on average once every 4 days.  This cycling is for me only and unfortunately not based on any scientific study.  I suspect a good cycling plan would depend on your individual biology and lifestyle.  

I tried to find the CLA content of mushrooms but then got distracted and have not yet come back to this.  I still would like the answer to that as well.  Regardless, edible mushrooms are healthy for many reasons and should be a part of our regular diet.  Enjoy the boost of CLA they provide while you're at it.

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