Those involved in strength training clearly understand the importance of proper supplementation. Although there are various supplements out there in the market which claim to facilitate trainers and athletes build muscles and improve strength, one of the most successful supplement in the regime of bodybuilding is creatine. Creatine is a compound that is synthesized by the body and also found in certain foods. The compound is used to supply the body muscles with energy. Now before you read on, be sure to understand that taking creatine without the proper nutritional diet, a solid workout program and the right motivational mindset, will not result in the perfect body. Combining a good diet with supplements can be a good call, just like adding the best weight gainer into the mix can help you put on more weight, adding creatine to your diet can help you reach new goals, but the foundation needs to be there.
In its various forms which have become more and more advanced over the years, creatine has been recognized by the hard trainers, athletes and scientific community as a supplement that helps one to build muscles, improve anaerobic endurance, improve strength and minimize muscle damage and soreness from strenuous workouts. However, creatine is a supplement that has a fare share of controversy. This is because it has been viewed as a potentially harmful product and on the other hand it has been viewed as a safe supplement when used correctly.
Creatine has become a popular product among weightlifters and bodybuilders since it increases lean muscle mass, enhances physical performance and improves one’s athletic results. However, many weightlifters and bodybuilders are faced with dilemma when it comes to choosing the best creatine for their specific needs. This is because there are many different creatine formulas out there in the market and it’s a difficult task to choose one that suits your needs. However, the most common types of creatine that are considered the best by many bodybuilders include creatine gluconate, creatine alpha-ketoglutarate, creatine pyruvate, creatine malate, creatine ethyl-ester, creatine citrate, creatine phosphate and creatine monohydrate.
Different types of creatine
Every form of creatine is different from the other in terms of effectiveness, solubility and composition. Some forms of creatine for example are more soluble than others which increase their effectiveness in the body. Other forms of creatine have a unique molecular structure that increases their absorption and assimilation into the muscle cells. However, all forms of creatine improve strength, enhance muscle development, improve anaerobic capacity, enhance recovery, improve glucose tolerance and increase energy output. To determine the best creatine, let’s evaluate some formulas that are common in the market.
This is the most popular and cheapest type of creatine. Clinical analysis indicates that each molecule of creatine monohydrate composes of 12% water and 88% creatine. This basically means that each gram of the supplement contains a total of 880 milligrams of creatine. Creatine monohydrate is popularly used since it has been scientifically shown to increase muscle mass, increase strength and energy levels and improve the weightlifting performance. Research indicates that the supplement has no significant difference to creatine citrate when it comes to absorption and effectiveness.
Creatine monohydrate: Pros
• Cheapest type of creatine
• Considered the most effective when it comes to absorption and assimilation in the muscle cells
• The most popular type of creatine that supply the body with 88% creatine
Creatine monohydrate: Cons
• It should be taken immediately after dissolving since it is unstable in water
• Causes water bloating to some users
• There are reports of stomach discomfort and diarrhea after using the supplement
Creatine citrate is the most soluble in water amongst the existing types of creatine. This means that it is easily absorbed in water than citrate monohydrate, a property that plays no significant role in its effectiveness. In addition, the supplement has citric acid which promotes the production of muscular energy. Creatine citrate contains approximately 40% creatine, a significantly low amount as compared to other creatine supplements.
Creatine citrate: Pros
• The supplement is bound to citric acid which promotes the production of muscle energy
• It is highly soluble in water
• Effective in improving athlete’s performance
Creatine citrate: Cons
• Contains a low amount of creatine
This is a form of creatine monohydrate esterified with either ethanol (creatine ethyl ester) or alcohol methanol (creatine methyl ester). Once the supplement is absorbed into the body system, it is broken down into creatine and ethanol or alcohol methanol. This process takes place quickly often ten minutes after oral administration. The produced Creatine penetrates the muscle cells much faster than any other form of creatine. Incorporation of creatine into muscle cells increases body mass index, energy output and muscular strength. Unfortunately, Creatine ethyl-ester is less effective compared to creatine monohydrate due to the production of creatinine, a compound that puts stress to the kidney.
Creatine ethyl-ester: Pros
• Does not cause any known side effects
• More effective because of increased absorption
Creatine ethyl-ester: Cons
• Expensive compared to monohydrate
• Foul taste in powder form
The supplement is produced by combining malic acid with creatine. In terms of energy production, creatine malate is considered more potential as compared to creatine monohydrate. Research indicates that the supplement increases muscular strength and body mass. The supplement has a faster absorption and consistent results due to its high solubility in water.
Creatine malate: Pros
• More water soluble and absorption
• Faster recovery and less fatigue during endurance training
Creatine malate: Cons
• Healthy implications are unknown
• Usually, very expensive as compared to other creatine supplements.
This is a creatine molecule that has been linked to a glucose molecule. This results into a type of creatine that is absorbed and assimilated into muscle cells almost like glucose. This means large amount of creatine that is ingested will reach the muscle cells, increasing its effectiveness.
Creatine gluconate: Pros
• Highly absorbed and assimilated into muscle tissues
• Glucose molecule acts as an internal transport system
Creatine Alpha Keto-Glutarate (AKG)
The supplement contains a creatine molecule bound to an ALPHA KETO-GLUTARATE molecule. The supplement molecules penetrate the muscle cells effortless supplying the muscle tissues with more creatine that enhance one strength and athletic performance.
Creatine Alpha Keto-Glutarate (AKG): Pros
• Allow higher muscular creatine concentration since it is transported directly
• No loading phase is required
• Easy to use
Creatine Alpha Keto-Glutarate (AKG): Cons
• Extremely expensive
• Its benefit is yet to be proven
This is a type of creatine whose benefits are still debatable. This is because there are those who claim astonishing results while others report no significant results. Creatine Serum is a supplement that has been dissolved in water and various amino acids and vitamins added.
Creatine Serum: Pros
• Usually mixed with various amino acids and vitamins
• Easy to use
• No loading phase is required since it is absorbed easily
Creatine Serum: Cons
• Extremely expensive
• Creatine is unstable in water if left for long
• Controversial report on its effectiveness
• Much less effective as compared to monohydrate
The effervescent property of Effervescent creatine is produced since the supplement is combined with sugar or sodium. Research indicates that the supplement has better absorption than creatine monohydrate and tastes better.
Effervescent Creatine: Pros
• Better taste
• More absorption
Effervescent Creatine: Cons
• It is combined with sodium and sugar compounds which many bodybuilders try to eliminate
• Extremely expensive
Creatine Monohydrate and Creatine Ethyl Ester
Although there are many types of creatine in the market today, creatine monohydrate is considered the best creatine. This is because it is absorbed and assimilated into muscle tissues much faster than any other form of creatine. In addition, it is less expensive as compared to all other forms of creatine. Creatine monohydrate has 88% creatine meaning it supplies higher creatine concentration in the muscle cells.
Creatine Ethyl Ester is also a supplement which can be considered the best. Despite it being expensive as compared to creatine monohydrate, Creatine Ethyl Ester is quickly absorbed into the muscle cells. This means more creatine molecules are able to reach the muscle cells within a short duration.
Apart from the above-mentioned types of creatine, there are other types which are also considered effective in improving performance and increasing muscle energy. However, most of the creatine available in the market lacks scientific research. In addition, some forms of creatine contain fillers and chemicals that may affect the body negatively. For this reason, it is important to first analyze a given creatine supplement before using it.