What are your views on creatine supplementing and is it necessary to cycle on and off while taking creatine? Also, how safe are pre-workout supplements? Thank you!
Thanks for your question. See my answer to the “Creatine” question, where I discuss cycling (the myth).
Pre-workout supplements (PWS) can be deemed “SAFE” only if the ACTUAL PRODUCT has been tested in HUMANS, AND a number of different safety tests were performed, over a few months of daily use (at least!). VERY, VERY FEW PWS meet this measure. Also, most PWS are exotic cocktails, a witches' brew of ingredients. We know that PWS are a HUGE category, and that users experience a notable effect. We have told people (for a couple years now) that they can mix any PWS with Vitargo, because they are almost always low or zero carb. The brain/central nervous system stimulation/alertness boost from a PWS can help a workout, especially if one is low carbing…
One ingredient used in some PWS products is CLAIMED to come from geranium oil (that’s a whole different tale…), with the chemical named 1,3-dimethylamylamine, methylhexanamine (MHA), 1,3-dimethylpentylamine (and a whole bunch of other names). IF you are in a drug tested sport, this ingredient has led to the banning or medal stripping of over 45 athletes around the world to date—don’t take a product with it! We don’t know if MHA is SAFE when ingested daily AND as part of a PWS cocktail blend. Animal studies showed MHA alone, when INJECTED, to be more lethal than ephedrine (but less than amphetamine).
PWS stimulant cocktails abound but safety data on the ACTUAL products are more rare than a sighting of Elvis. Smart tip: work up dosing slowly with any PWS, AND if you are taking any medicines that affect heart or blood vessel function, or psychiatric drugs, BE EXTRA CAREFUL or DON’T use a PWS.