One of the most popular supplements for muscle enhancement is creatine, which has been shown to be useful in maintaining strength in repetitive, brief, high-intensity sports activities. Creatine’s popularity among athletes has spurred a variety of product forms other than traditional powders. ConsumerLab.com found problems with creatine in liquid form — likely due to poor stability. One liquid creatine was contaminated with the breakdown compound called creatinine. In fact, nearly 30% of the product’s “creatine proprietary complex” was creatinine and only 10% was creatine. Another liquid supplement claimed 6,000 mg of creatine per dose, but had none. It did contain 2.6 mcg of dicyandiamide per serving – a contaminant likely produced during creatine manufacture.
“There are high-quality products on the market and there are pure rip-offs,” commented Tod Cooperman, M.D., ConsumerLab.com’s President. “People considering muscle enhancement supplements should be realistic about the effectiveness of these products and skeptical of their contents unless verified by a third party.”
Supplements made with other ingredients used in muscle enhancement – HMB (hydroxy methylbutyrate), glutamine, and other amino acids such as branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) – were also tested. Problems were not found with HMB products — which may help increase muscle mass and strength with weight training. All glutamine products also passed. Glutamine supplementation may reduce the incidence of infection in athletes who are over-training, but there is conflicting evidence regarding it benefit in muscle work. Among products with mixed amino acids, tablets of one failed to break apart and release its contents within the expected time limit.
The new report is available at www.consumerlab.com/results/creatine.asp. Brands included are Body Fortress, EAS, Eclipse Sports Supplements, Dymatize, Everlast, GNC, Iron-Tek, ISS, Muscle Marketing USA, MHP, MRM, Muscletech, Precision Engineered (US Nutrition), Puritan’s Pride, SciFit, Six Star Body Fuel, TwinLab (Ideasphere), Universal Nutrition, Vitamin World, and Vitol. The report provides results for twenty-two supplements of which ConsumerLab.com selected sixteen. Six were tested at the request of their manufacturers/distributors through CL’s Voluntary Certification Program and are included for having passed testing. Also listed are three products similar to ones that passed but sold under different brand names.
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