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July 06, 2023
When it comes to performance supplementation, creatine stands in a class of its own. It is one of the most researched supplements ever, boasting more than 500 clinical studies. Creatine was originally used in the horse racing industry, but bodybuilders and athletes take it today to boost strength, increase energy and build muscle mass.
So, adding creatine to your workout supplement schedule is a no-brainer. The problem is that there's more than one type of creatine. Naturally, the marketers of each variety claim that theirs is the best you can buy. So, what's the truth? In this article, we analyze the different types of creatine to determine which one you should use.
When creatine first entered the public consciousness in the 1990s, there was only one type: monohydrate. Over the years, however, different formulations have been produced to provide potentially greater benefits. Here's an overview of the eleven types of creatine supplements currently being sold.
Creatine monohydrate is the most commonly used form of creatine. It consists of a creatine molecule and a water molecule and is in the form of a white, crystalline powder. It easily dissolves in water or other liquids. When consumed, creatine monohydrate is absorbed into the bloodstream and transported into the muscle cells. There it converts into phosphocreatine, a compound that plays a key role in the resynthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the main energy source for muscle contraction. This allows for rapid ATP regeneration during intense training periods.
Creatine monohydrate supplementation has been extensively researched and shown to provide several benefits, including increased strength, improved power output, enhanced endurance, increased muscle size, and improved recovery. It is considered safe for most healthy individuals when used within recommended dosages. It is generally considered to be the best type of creatine for muscle growth.
You can find our favorite creatine monohydrate here.
Creatine hydrochloride (HCL) binds a creatine molecule to a hydrochloride molecule. It is believed that this combination improves the supplement's absorption and solubility. Creatine hydrochloride is marketed as a type of creatine that has advantages over creatine monohydrate, including greater absorption and a lower risk of water retention. Manufacturers assert that creatine HCl's lower molecular size provides for better absorption and increased water solubility. In comparison to creatine monohydrate, creatine HCl's improved solubility and absorption may allow for lower dosages. It's important to remember that there hasn't been much scientific research on creatine hydrochloride compared to creatine monohydrate, and there isn't enough proof to say that it has any real advantages.
We recommend this Creatine HCL if you think this is the creatine for you.
An ethyl group is esterified with creatine to generate creatine ethyl ester (CEE). Creatine's absorption and bioavailability are intended to be improved by this chemical change.
Compared to other forms of creatine, such as creatine monohydrate, creatine ethyl ester has better lipophilicity, according to its proponents, making it easier to penetrate cell membranes and enter muscles. Higher intramuscular creatine levels are thought to follow from this improved absorption.
Scientific research comparing regular creatine monohydrate and creatine ethyl ester supplementation has shown mixed results. Creatine ethyl ester may not be as effective at raising muscle creatine levels or performance, according to some research, while others claim there are no appreciable changes between the two forms. Additionally, there have been observations that suggest creatine ethyl ester may degrade more quickly than other types of creatine into the waste product creatinine. The beneficial aspects of creatine supplementation do not include creatinine.
Creatine ethyl ester is typically not regarded as a preferred type of creatine supplementation due to the lack of reliable scientific evidence proving its advantages and stability issues.
For the largest selection of sizes, we suggest this Creatine Ethyl Ester.
Creatine supplements that have had their chemical composition changed to produce buffered creatine, also known as kre-alkalyn, have a higher pH level. With this change, creatine's stability will be increased, and its conversion to creatinine, a waste product produced when creatine degrades, will be decreased.
Alkaline compounds like magnesium glycerophosphate or sodium bicarbonate are combined with creatine as part of the buffering process. When buffered creatine is exposed to acidic environments, such as the stomach, it is thought to remain more stable and have a decreased conversion to creatinine.
Buffered creatine proponents claim that the higher stability and decreased creatinine conversion may result in better absorption and effectiveness. However, the research is conflicting, with some studies showing slight improvements over creatine monohydrate while others show no difference when creatine is taken in the buffered form.
While there are a lot of options, we prefer this Buffered Creatine.
In the supplement form known as creatine magnesium chelate (CMC), creatine is linked to magnesium. The chelate form denotes a chemical bond between magnesium and creatine, resulting in a stable complex.
Magnesium is a crucial mineral involved in many physiological processes, such as protein synthesis, energy metabolism, and muscle function. The inclusion of magnesium in this form of creatine may enhance the body's absorption and utilization of creatine.
In contrast to other types of creatine, such as creatine monohydrate, there isn't as much scientific research specifically on creatine magnesium chelate. Because the available research on CMC is modest in scope and few in number, it is difficult to make firm judgments on its effectiveness and superiority to other types.
You can find one of the highest rated Creatine Magnesium Chelate here.
In order to make creatine citrate, citric acid is mixed with creatine. Creatine citrate is created by joining the citrate and creatine molecules. Including citric acid is meant to improve the solubility and absorption of creatine. Contrary to other forms of creatine, such as creatine monohydrate, creatine citrate manufacturers assert that their product has a higher bioavailability and greater effectiveness. However, there is no solid research to support this.
Due to the high cost of producing this form, Creatine Citrate can usually be found in a blend.
In the supplement form of creatine nitrate, creatine is linked to a molecule of nitrate. Nitrate is a naturally occurring molecule involved in a number of physiological processes, including vasodilation (the widening of blood vessels). This form of creatine is supposed to encourage heightened blood flow and enhanced muscle nutrient delivery.
Creatine nitrate supporters assert that when compared to other forms of creatine, such as creatine monohydrate, this one offers superior solubility, better absorption, and enhanced pump or vascularity. The vasodilatory effects of nitrate may influence the perception of increased muscular fullness or pump during exercise.
If you want to see if there's any truth behind the pump, you can buy Creatine Nitrate here.
Creatine malate consists of a creatine molecule bound to malic acid. Malic acid is a naturally occurring organic acid found in many fruits and vegetables, including apples. Creatine malate is created when creatine and malic acid combine.
Malic acid is engaged in bodily energy synthesis processes, whereas creatine is well known for its capacity to increase strength, power, and muscle mass. Compared to other forms of creatine, supporters of creatine malate assert that this form has superior bioavailability, better absorption, and less chance of gastrointestinal problems. It is also claimed that malic acid can boost endurance and delay the onset of muscular fatigue.
Usually found in blends, we recommend this version of Creatine Malate.
Creatine pyruvate binds creatine with pyruvic acid, an intermediary substance essential to the body's processes for metabolizing glucose and producing energy. Pyruvic acid is involved in numerous metabolic processes and may have additional impacts on energy production and endurance. Creatine pyruvate support asserts that this form offers improved stability, solubility, and absorption. Greater recovery is also said to be supported by the presence of pyruvic acid, which may also encourage enhanced endurance.
You can find out favorite Creatine pyruvate by following the link.
Creatine gluconate combines creatine with gluconic acid. A naturally occurring acid generated from glucose, gluconic acid is involved in a number of bodily metabolic activities. Gluconic acid is believed to enhance endurance and facilitate the better absorption and utilization of creatine.
Compared to other forms of creatine, supporters of creatine gluconate claim that this form offers improved solubility, increased bioavailability, and better absorption. It is thought that the presence of gluconic acid supports improved overall performance advantages and greater endurance.
We suggest trying out this Creatine Gluconate, if you're interested.
Alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG), an organic molecule involved in energy metabolism and the citric acid cycle, is linked with creatine to generate creatine alpha-ketoglutarate. Alpha-ketoglutarate is recommended to enhance energy generation, endurance, and recovery.
Supporters of creatine AKG assert that this form offers superior bioavailability, better absorption, and increased muscle uptake. It is thought that the presence of alpha-ketoglutarate promotes enhanced energy metabolism and offers extra endurance benefits.
We like this version of Creatine AKG for our longer workouts.
Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid found in muscle cells. It helps us to have the energy to finish an intense workout or complete high-intensity exercise. Like other amino acids, exercise, meat consumption, and testosterone levels can all affect the body's supply of creatine. However, it is also commonly taken in the form of supplements by those who need an extra boost to their workouts.
Creatine is involved in energy production. It's often used for weight training, which is an anaerobic exercise that doesn't rely on oxygen use. Instead, weight training uses the phosphorylation system's raw adenosine triphosphate (ATP). It takes energy from your muscles rather than fat stores. So, it's the glycogen or ATP that is stored in your muscles that are fuelling your workouts.
Creatine converts broken-down ATP into fresh ATP so you can keep working when your adenosine triphosphate stores would usually have run out. So, that's what creatine does; it stores itself up as creatine phosphate in your muscles so that your ATP levels are restored while you rest. The more creatine you have in your system, the longer you can keep working out. Creatine can also increase your anaerobic power.
Creatine supplementation has the following research-backed benefits:
By replenishing ATP synthesis, the main muscle contraction energy source, creatine allows you to continue strength training when you would otherwise stop short. As a result, you're able to pump out those vital extra couple of reps at the end of a set that may make all the difference in terms of strength gains.¹
Supplementing with creatine may also increase endurance, particularly during activities that call for repeated bursts of intense exercise. Accelerating ATP production, increasing muscle creatine levels, and supplying the muscles' energy requirements can postpone the onset of fatigue.²
The capacity of creatine to encourage muscle growth and enhance muscle mass has been thoroughly researched. It can increase muscle size and volume by promoting fluid retention within muscle cells and facilitating muscle protein synthesis and protein breakdown.³
Creatine is incredibly important for the energy metabolism of cells, especially during intense activity. Creatine supplements can enhance quick ATP regeneration by boosting phosphocreatine availability, which boosts energy and performance during demanding activities.⁴
Recent research is pointing to possible cognitive advantages of creatine. It has been linked to increased cognitive function, memory, and information processing in tasks that call for quick thinking and short-term memory. Investigations continue into the precise mechanisms underlying these cognitive changes.⁵
When used in accordance with recommended dosages, creatine is often safe for most people. However, certain people could encounter specific negative effects. The following are possible negative consequences of taking creatine supplements:
The following are typical dosage recommendations for creatine:
Loading period: Before beginning a creatine supplementation regimen, some people choose to go through a loading period. A greater dosage is used for a brief time to quickly saturate the muscles with creatine during this phase. A typical loading phase entails consuming four 5-gram doses of creatine for a total of 20 grams per day for 5-7 days.
Maintenance Phase: Following the loading phase, a maintenance phase is used to keep the muscles' ideal amounts of creatine. Three to five grams of creatine per day are usually the dosage throughout the maintenance phase. The majority of people typically respond well to this dosage.
It is important to note that the loading phase of creatine intake is not compulsory. I have stopped recommending it to my personal training clients because it led to excess water retention.
Here are the six most common types of creatine:
The key differences between types of creatine are:
Creatine monohydrate is regarded as the most dependable and effective type of creatine supplement. Here's what makes monohydrate the gold standard:
Creatine monohydrate is a cheaper, more thoroughly studied form of creatine than HCL. However, Creatine HCL is claimed to have better solubility and absorbability. However, because of HCL's unique structure, it is also claimed that you can take HCL in smaller dosages. I have used both and concluded that the slight increase in absorbability you get with HCL is not worth the extra money.
Creatine is a natural supplement that replenishes ATP energy stores so you can train harder for longer. By taking 3-5 grams of it daily, you'll be able to work out with more intensity, have more energy, produce greater muscular force, and delay training fatigue. There are at least eleven different types of creatine on the market, but the gold standard is the original form; creatine monohydrate. It's the cheapest, the most researched, and the most proven to be an effective type of creatine that exists.
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