The market is starting to get flooded with many different kinds of creatine. Most products are pretty good, but what separates many of them is effectiveness and taste. That being said almost any creatine product will give results, even straight monohydrate! Depending on the type, most creatine is taken at 3-10g per day and that seems like an effective dose.
With all of the choices out there how can we decide what is the best form if such a thing actually exists. Creatine is an amino acid that is naturally occurring in the body and provides cellular energy and a host of other benefits to both the bodybuilder and general health enthusiast. In fact creatine is even being looked at to provide increased energy and wellness benefits for the elderly. It may provide heart benefits and also increase mental acuity for people that have diseases like Alzheimer’s. Creatine is responsible for turning ADP into ATP which is your body’s main energy supply in the mitochondria. ATP is split to form ADP (losing a phosphate to create energy) and Creatine Phosphate “hangs around” to recharge the ADP molecule so it can be used to create energy again. Any Creatine is converted to Creatine Phosphate in the body, but oddly enough taking Creatine Phosphate as a supplement never really gave the kind of results that were achieved by many other creatine types, so it was effectively scrapped. Creatine is the base product for any bodybuilder looking to increase size and strength. It adds well to any other product and the only thing more basic than creatine is a protein supplement. Creatine helps the muscle cell hold more water, which can expand the fascia of the muscle increasing its volume. So, creatine is useful for strength and stamina by recharging the muscle energy system, it also increases new muscle cells (monohydrate for sure) and increases pumps for a muscle stretching effect. It is the most popular and beneficial supplement ever for bodybuilders.
Here is a basic list of just some of the Creatines on the market:
Creatine Monohydrate this is the original version sold back in the 80’s for improving strength and stamina for weightlifters. It is tried and tested, however it has been replaced with newer and fancier creatine molecules. I HIGHLY suggest supplements still contain some creatine monohydrate for one big reason. Creatine monohydrate is the only form proven in scientific studies to create new muscle cells. There are many studies showing Creatine Monohydrate increases the formation of new muscle cells and one important study showing that other forms of creatine do not have this effect!
Creatine Malate this is creatine bound to malic acid. The preferred form is DiCreatine Malate since that is the only form that is possible, the other forms (tricreatine malate) are usually just creatine monohydrate mixed with straight malic acid. The supposed benefit of Creatine Malate is reduced bloating and increased endurance, since malate is involved in increasing cellular energy by being part of the krebs cycle. Overall, this ingredient has many years of solid anecdotal support and I feel it is a good addition to any creatine blend.
Creatine Asperate this is creatine bound to aspartic acid. This is very similar to Creatine Malate and should prove to be even better for endurance athletes, since asparate is even more directly involved in recharging the mitochondrial energy system. Creatine Asperate is an improved form of Creatine Malate, but both should give very good endurance gains without extra bloat.
Creatine Ethyl Ester HCL the latest “big splash” is Creatine Ethyl Ester. This ingredient has some strong anecdotal evidence of it working, but the science behind it is very flawed. The “ester” is supposed to make the creatine more absorbable and fat soluble. This belief is pretty flawed since creatine dissolves quite easily in water and there is little chance of it becoming fat soluable with this ester even if it was desirable to do so. Most likely this product works by stabilizing the Creatine molecule with the HCL portion, which slows down some of the conversion to creatinine (a waste product).
Creatine Gluconate this product is simply Creatine bonded to sugar or glucose. No idea why that would be a big advantage over dumping some sugar in with your monohydrate, but it certainly doesn’t hurt anything. Sugar helps the uptake of creatine in the cell, so it could have a positive effect.
Creatine Decanoate no clue why anyone would want to bond decanoic acid to creatine unless they just want to take advantage of the “deca” in the name. Decanoic acid doesn’t seem to increase performance or provide any benefits.
Creatine AKG simply creatine bound to alpha keto gluterate which is a glutamine type molecule. No real data on this ingredient, but it should work pretty well in theory since both creatine and glutamine are good for you. AKG should help with the absorption of creatine.
Creatine Magnesium Chelate another creatine molecule bound to magnesium. Chelated minerals were very popular as a way of increasing the absorption. Certainly nothing wrong with magnesium, since it is great for you, but I don’t see the positive benefit of binding creatine to a mineral when you could just take a good magnesium supplement and plain old monohydrate.
Creatine Orotate similar to Creatine Malate and Creatine Asperate, Creatine Orotate provides increased cellular energy and improved absorption. Orotic Acid does provide benefit to the bodybuilder by increasing strength and stamina.
Well, that is a short list of the types of creatines that are on the market. In my opinion a mixed form of multiple creatines is the best way to take a creatine supplement. I would for sure have some Creatine Monohydrate in with your other mixes, since as stated above only Creatine Monohydrate is proven in the scientific literature to actually increase satellite cells (new muscle growth) where some of the other products like Creatine Malate did not have this effect. Without new muscle cells, a bodybuilder can only get so big, which is why some people are “hard gainers”.
Copyright (c) 2007 LG Sciences