When it comes to getting bigger, in almost every circumstance, bodybuilders are at the mercy of their genetics. Although many experts claim to know how to build muscle fast naturally, their techniques typically don't yield results. To hasten the development process, some turn to an over-the-counter nitrogenous organic acid called creatine.

Does creatine work?

Studies have shown that creatine does improve the body's ability to build muscle mass; however, the boost isn't nearly as significant as what one might expect from steroids and human growth hormone (HGH). Usually, bodybuilders don't even notice any difference, although some benefit from a placebo effect that makes them feel as if the supplement is helping them build muscle fast.

In the end, the supplement does work; however, weight lifters shouldn't expect overnight results. Ultimately the supplement can benefit bodybuilders interested in gaining muscle mass quickly, as long as they maintain realistic expectations.

Creatine dangers

Usually, it takes a lot of time for weight lifting to yield results. Creatine can help athletes build muscle quickly, or quicker, at least; however, there are some potential risks. Some athletes have experienced severe dehydration and fatal heat exhaustion while taking the supplement. Although no one is 100 percent sure that supplementation caused the problem in each case, many suspect it may have contributed.

Some studies also indicate that when athletes take too much for too long, their bodies could lose the ability to produce natural nitrogenous organic acid.

Creatine cycling

Many bodybuilders choose to cycle creatine to prevent their bodies from losing the ability to produce natural nitrogenous organic acid. In most cases, this means taking the supplement for a period of two to three months before abstaining for another two to three months. By doing this, an athlete is thought to be able to reap the benefits of creatine while preventing his or her body from shutting down its natural production.

Playing it safe

Not only does creatine work, it works well enough to cause many to become psychologically addicted to it. Sometimes, athletes can feel reluctant to stop taking the supplement during the cycling period. In the end, faster muscle growth may not be worth the risk. If you choose to take this supplement, it's probably best to err on the side of caution by cycling every two to three months.