There are a lot of workout performance supplements on the market. Not surprisingly, there is a lot of debate about how good they are. Yet, in the midst of all of this uncertainty, one supplement is universally acknowledged as having real and immediate benefits. That supplement is creatine. Still, with a number of types of creatine on the market, there is confusion about which one to buy. Let’s investigate.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is an organic compound that is produced by the body in small amounts. It converts to creatine phosphate which is then used to make adenosine triphosphate or ATP, which is the body’s main source of energy. Ninety-five percent of creatine is stored in muscle cells.
When you perform short burst activity, your body relies on ATP to perform the muscular contraction. ATP contains three phosphate molecules. Muscular exertion will quickly use up one of those phosphates to turn ATP into ADP (adenosine diphosphate). As such, it will no longer be able to provide energy. But, when you have an abundance of creatine phosphate sitting in wait, you are immediately able to pick up a phosphate to recreate ATP. This allows you to keep going for longer.
Studies have shown that frequent bouts of short duration high intensity activity can be greatly increased on subsequent rounds by as much as 20 percent when supplementing with creatine monohydrate.
As well as having a direct influence on your strength ability (and resultant muscle gain), creatine acts more directly on muscle growth through cell volumization. Creatine draws water into the muscle cell. That is why you should drink plenty of water when supplementing with creatine. The combined effect will enhance protein metabolism and muscle building.
5 Types of Creatine Explained
Monohydrate is by far the most common form of creatine. It is also the form that has been almost exclusively used in research studies. In the majority of cases creatine monohydrate consists of a single creatine molecule and a water molecule. Some forms remove the water molecule so that it is pure creatine. This is referred to as creatine anhydrous.
Some creatine monohydrate formulations are micronized. This improves its solubility in water and, theoretically, makes it easier for the body to absorb.
Creatine monohydrate has been shown to be safe and effective. It is also the cheapest form of creatine.
Kre-Alkalyn is also known as buffered creatine monohydrate. It is micronized creatine monohydrate that has had an alkaline powder added to them. This is done to make the compound more stable in the stomach and to improve its level of absorption into muscle tissue. Other purported benefits of kre alkalyn include reducing the bloating that some people get when they take creatine monohydrate.
There has been just one study done on the effectiveness of Kre-Alkalyn. This was done in 2012 and compared the effects of kre-alkalyn with monohydrate. The major conclusion was that kre-alkalyn works at a lower dosage than monohydrate and that it did not require a loading phase, which is recommended with monohydrate.
Creatine Ethyl Ester
Creatine Ethyl Ester is monohydrate with an ester attached to it. This is done to increase the percentage of the compound that is actually absorbed into the muscles of the body. The process of esterification allows the creatine to more efficiently permeate the cell wall and be used to boost muscle strength and energy. It is also claimed that this form will also reduce the bloating and dehydration that is associated with creatine monohydrate.
Liquid creatine does away with the need to mix up your creatine powder. This makes it a more convenient form of the supplement. Liquid creatine manufacturers simply absorb the creatine monohydrate in water so that it can be sold as a liquid product. Some preliminary research indicates that liquid creatine may not be as effective as the powder form. There is also the possibility that liquid creatine may break down after several days, losing its potency.
Creatine hydrochloride attaches hydrochloride to creatine. This is done to make the compound more stable. This reduces the pH level, making the creatine more acidic. As a result, the compound is able to mix much better with water so that you don’t get sediment at the bottom of the glass. However, more research is required before it can definitively be stated that creatine hydrochloride is better than monohydrate.
So, Which One Should You Buy?
As we’ve seen the main point of difference between creatine monohydrate and the other forms comes down to the absorbability into the muscle cell. Although some other types are promising in their ability to boost absorption, there is not yet enough research to recommend them over monohydrate. As a result, we recommend creatine monohydrate as the most scientifically verified form of creatine on the current market.