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Betagen and Creatine

The Big Betagen/Creatine E-Mail

This is a compilation of nearly everything I've ever posted regarding Betagen and creatine. I kept thinking that one day I'd edit it into an article. Years have gone by though! People ask me about creatine almost daily and this is what I forward to them. Hopefully, all the links are still current. If you find a broken one let me know.
I've tried quite a few products and a lot of different dosing schedules. In my own case, I've found that Betagen works better for me than plain powder. I don't know if it's the transport system or the HMB in it or what, but I've always had the most visible results with the least side effects while using Betagen. Other people might find that just the opposite is true. Betagen has a lot more ingredients than plain powder and so it's more likely that something in there will disagree with you. Or maybe you get the same results with the plain stuff and so there's no reason to shell out the extra bucks.
Other than Betagen, my favorite powder is HDT (Human Development) micronized. It's cheap and it dissolves really easily without clumping. My favorite dosing schedule is 2g, post-workout, weight days only, 3 weeks on and one week off. I always take PMS week off because I certainly don't need any assistance with bloating that week. :-) You can do that kind of a dosing schedule indefinitely. Whatever you do, DON'T LOAD creatine. You know those instructions on some packaging that says to take 5g fifteen times a day or something ridiculous? Ignore that. It's a dated concept that mostly centers around the manufacturer trying to sell more of the product. You can get exactly the same benefits without going through all the weird side effects of loading.
I only take 2g of creatine (in Betagen) three days a week post weight-workout. I don't believe in a loading phase. There's too much research showing that loading is totally unnecessary. I get great strength gains, pumped muscles, and no side-effects by taking no more than 2g a day.
From personal experience, I know that at even 5-8g a day completely wrecks me. I can't do daily doses at that level for more than a week because I end up bloated, dehydrated, thirsty, cramped, nauseous, and generally pissed about the 7 pound weight gain. Any muscle benefits are beside the point once your face is the size of a full moon and your pants don't button. :-)
Here's some more info. Two of these say not to load, and one says to load for only 2 days, followed by only 2g a day.
If you want to switch to plain creatine, I like the HDT micronized because it dissolves easily.
This was a giant reply to someone who was worried about steroid-like effects. It includes all kinds of links and info:
That's a common myth. Creatine has no effect at all on hormones. It will NOT increase testosterone levels in either men or women. It won't affect your voice. It won't affect your sex drive. You might want to do some more research about what creatine is and how it works. You seem to be confusing it with anabolic steroids. 
Here are some good overview/FAQ type articles:
I've taken Betagen for years with no side effects. Ok, I take that back. Once I took it on free day with barely any water all day and a sodium and carb bonanza. THAT will make you swell up like a balloon with feet. Be sure to drink plenty of water and don't take it on free day. :-)

Creatine volumizes muscle cells by pulling water into them. When you're using
creatine, it takes your muscles longer to fail under all-out effort. So you can
lift heavier and recover faster. Generally, people take it to get bigger and
stronger. If you have a lot of fat to lose, you should probably wait until
you're closer to your goal to look into creatine.

If you're someone prone to freaking out about the scale, I would wait on the
Betagen. It will definitely make you gain scale weight at first. You say you
need to see results to keep going. If you start too early on the Betagen you may
get discouraged and quit when you gain weight and your clothes get tighter.
You're not gaining fat, but sometimes just feeling bigger is enough to make you
doubt everything. Wait until you're near your goal and ready to start bringing
out your pump and definition. Betagen is coolest when you're thin-skinned enough
to actually see the change in your muscles. Now, someone who's not a scale
watcher might do great with Betagen right from the start. It does increase
strength and help with soreness and recovery no matter what your size or fitness

I've used Betagen for several years. Two servings a day is fine for most women.
Three servings is technically the 200 lb guy dose, but it can work well for
women who have never used creatine before. Once your muscles are totally
saturated with the stuff (after, say, the first month), 2-5 grams of creatine a
day is an appropriate maintenance level. That would be one or two servings of

It's better to take creatine after your workout instead of before. Two reasons -
1) Creatine can upset your stomach and cause cramping. If you're going to have
any side effects, you don't want them hitting you mid-workout. 2) There's no way
that particular dose of creatine can be absorbed into your muscle cells and used
in the few minutes before a workout. You're going to be running off of what's
already in your muscles anyway. So, it makes more sense to take it post-workout
for recovery.

If you're taking one dose, I would take it post-workout. If you're taking 2
doses, I would take them post-workout and before bed. If you're doing 3 doses, I
would take them right when you wake up, post-workout, and before bed.

I like orange flavor best. I usually add it to Myoplex or protein shakes. Orange
flavor makes a vanilla creamsicle flavor when added to vanilla, and sort of a
tropical punch flavor when added to strawberry. It's especially yummy in any of
the tropical Myoplex. It's even edible in chocolate.

If I'm not having a shake, I just stir it in water and drink it. Stir it really
well, because it's more likely to upset your stomach if it's lumpy and not
dissolved. Also, it dissolves better if you use luke warm tap water instead of
ice water. Also, make EXTRA sure to drink all your water when taking creatine.
It can be very dehydrating because it's pulling water out of your bloodstream
and into your muscle cells.
This has come up before, but the creatine serum is a scam. Creatine is totally
unstable in liquid form. Bill Phillips first published independent lab tests of
the serum in Muscle Media. It showed that there was less than one gram of
creatine in the *whole bottle*. AST has also had the serum analyzed. They tested
several different lot #s and came to the same conclusion - barely any usable
creatine in the bottle, and lots of the waste product that occurs when creatine
breaks down (like when you put it in liquid).

Creatine Serum: Separating Fantasy From Reality

Creatine Serum Test Results
ConsumerLab also did independent lab tests on creatine and both liquid products failed. One contained less than 1% of the claimed amount of creatine and actually contained more creatinine contaminant than creatine. In addition, it did not follow FDA labeling requirements, including making the unapproved claim "BUILDS LEAN MUSCLE MASS". The other liquid product was also contaminated with creatinine and contained less than 95% of its claimed creatine.
ConsumerLab Product Review:

Now, I was really disappointed when I learned this, because I'd just spent $45
on the stuff and it was tasty! It didn't do anything though. Sure it didn't
upset my stomach (because there's no creatine it!), but it also didn't give me
any of the strength and muscle gains that I'd gotten from the powder. I've had
great results with Betagen, and also with plain micronized powder (I like HDT
brand). The micronized is very fine. It dissolves better than Betagen and
doesn't upset my stomach.

If you got the serum at someplace like GNC you can probably get a refund, or at
least store credit. Most of them have very flexible return policies. Hope that
helps you out. I always feel like a big party pooper when I post this. People
deserve to know what they're taking though.

Muscle & Fitness Hers - Creatine Craze
Click on Nutrition (under the Departments heading, lower left), then go to the
4th page of articles, then click on Creatine Craze)

Also, there has been research suggesting that creatine protects against brain
injury. You know how NFL quarterbacks can get knocked unconscious all the time
without suffering brain damage? Creatine may help the brain function better
without oxygen the same way it helps the muscles function better without oxygen.
The neurologist they talked to for this article takes it before he goes skiing.
Funny, eh? So, be sure to take your creatine before you ski into a tree. :-)

WebMD - Creatine May Limit Brain Damage

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