If you told us we had to dump all of our supplements except for two, we’d stick with whey and creatine. And then maybe wrestle you for the opportunity to add arginine to the mix. And a multivitamin. OK, you get the idea.

Creatine is vitally important to the process of growing muscles. It increases energy and muscle strength, can benefit cardiovascular health and mental performance, and can even increase muscle size by drawing fluid into muscle cells. Now, evidence shows that it might also help you get lean.

A study conducted at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, and published in the journal Amino Acids divided subjects into two groups and gave one group 10 grams of creatine per day and the other a placebo for three months, during which time both groups engaged in moderate aerobic activity.

The findings: those given creatine had lower blood sugar, apparently because creatine had pulled more of it out of the bloodstream and into the muscle cells. This is good for a several reasons. One, your muscle cells will have more fuel to burn, allowing you to work out longer. Two, burning more glucose prevents it from being stored as fat, which will keep you leaner. And three, storing more glucose in muscle cells also increases the size of those muscle cells, which can also increase muscle size. Add those to the overwhelming list of reasons to keep taking creatine.

DOSAGE: Take 2-5 g, depending on the form of creatine you use, with your pre- and postworkout shakes.

— Jordana Brown