If you have used workout supplements, then you have come across creatine. As one of the best workout supplement, creatine is the most studied.
Did you know that the creatine molecule is naturally produced in the body and serves functions to do with the production of energy?
There are a number of foods such as meat which have a natural content of creatine.
But it is not possible to get all the creatine required by your body exclusively from your diet. That’s why there are a number of creatine supplements to help supply the body with all its needs.
Different people use creatine supplements to improve their performance in exercise and improve their immunity against disease.
In this write-up, we shall seek to discover the best form of creatine. Read on to know how best you can supplement it.
What is Creatine?
The human body naturally produces creatine albeit in small quantities. It exists in the form of a molecule that mimics amino acids in structure and can be sourced from fish, eggs, and meat.
Since creatine is mostly found in meat and animal foods, it is not uncommon for vegetarians to have it in lower amounts compared to their non-vegetarian counterparts. But that does not in any way mean that people who eat meat do not require creatine supplements.
If you are a non-vegetarian, using dietary supplements can help increase the creatine content in your muscles by up to 40 percent.
All over the world, people use creatine supplements to help improve their workout endurance levels. It also helps make better the musculoskeletal and brain health of its users.
How Does Creatine Work?
The most active form of this component is creatine phosphate. It plays a vital role in the production of energy at the cellular level due to its involvement in the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a key source of energy to the cells.
Studies that have been done on creatine have shown that it has the ability to improve an individual’s performance during exercise.
In other studies, creatine supplements have been found to improve an individual’s strength during weight training by 10 percent or more.
When the exercises are differentiated, creatine supplements can make chest exercises and bench presses easier by 5 percent and 8 percent respectively.
This ability of creatine supplements to improve power and strength during exercise is an aspect that scientists agree on with rare unanimity.
Apart from increasing the force produced within a given time when performing an exercise, creatine supplements have been established to improve performance during swimming and sprinting. That’s in addition to reducing mental fatigue.
But this is only possible if the supplement you are using increases the levels of creatine phosphate at the cells level. Thus, the best type of creatine is one which provides it in the right form. That’s why you should be careful when choosing a creatine supplement to use.
Here is how creatine will help you to build muscles in a faster more effective way:
1: Giving strength and endurance to the muscles to ensure highly effective workouts. This enables you to train harder and gain bigger muscles with time.
2: Helping your muscles to recover quickly from the effects of an intense workout, thus preparing you to perform better next time. While this recovery could be localized, it may also apply to the whole body.
3: Causing a swelling effect on the cells. Creatine is proven to have the ability to increase the cellular water content. Apart from making the muscles to bulge out, it improves the nitrogen balance and the activation of hypertrophy-related genes.
4: Providing your body with catabolic properties. According to the results of scientific studies, creatine can reduce the rate of protein degradation, thus leading to muscle gain with time.
What Is The Best Type Of Creatine?
Don’t take creative unless you know the form in which it best works. You may also want to find out which of these supplements over-hyped and which do not work. Below, we discuss the various types of creatine supplements available on the market.
See Difference b/w Monohydrate vs Creatine HCL
1. Creatine Monohydrate
This supplement commonly exists as creatine monohydrate.
It is this form which has undergone the most research on the effectiveness of creatine as a supplement.
Most of the scientifically proven benefits of creatine, such as improved lower and upper body performance, have been discovered by studying monohydrate.
When all is said and done, this is arguably the best type of creatine. It is composed of a creatine and water molecule, even though it’s processing may vary. When the water molecule is removed, the result is creatine anhydrous.
When the water is removed, the amount of creatine in each molecule is increased.
Thus creatine anhydrous is made of 100 percent creatine while the monohydrate form only has 90 percent creatine by weight.
In its other forms, creatine is mechanically processed or micronized to improve its ability to dissolve in water. It is thought that improving creatine’s water solubility helps make it easily absorbable by the body.
Although the creatine might be processed in different ways, it useful when used in equal doses of the various forms. Together with increasing cellular strength, creatine monohydrate helps to increase the amount of water contained in the muscles.
The effect of this is to make the muscles look more prominent.
Research that has gone into this type of creatine shows that it is safe for consumption and doesn’t have any serious side-effects.
The only reactions to creatine have been in the form of cramping and upset stomach. To avoid them, you should take creatine in smaller doses and not one large one.
Due to its safety, effectiveness, and affordability, creatine monohydrate is used as the industry standard for the supplement. Users have to compare other forms of creatine to it to know how effective they are.
2. Creatine Hydrochloride
Some manufacturers and users prefer to have this supplement regarding creatine hydrochloride (HCL).
When it was first released to the market, this supplement was hailed as the best type of creatine, thanks to its improved water solubility. Its proponents say that this supplement can be used on lower doses, thus reducing side-effects such as cramps and upset stomach.
To test whether the solubility claim is true, a study was done on creatine HCL. In the results, this type of creatine was found to have a higher solubility rate than monohydrate creatine by a multiple of 38.
Despite its great promise, creatine HCL is yet to be tested on human beings.
In fact, the only way to make conclusions that creatine HCL is better than the monohydrate form, there is a need to carry out comparative experiments.
3. Creatine Ethyl Ester
Whether subjective or not, there are a number of manufacturers who claim that in this form, creatine is superior to the rest of supplement types.
That’s including monohydrate. According to the results of a research study, creatine ethyl ester has better absorbability than creatine monohydrate.
This type of creatine is also believed to be better when it comes to muscle uptake than its monohydrate form. Due to this aspect, it is thought to perform better.
Contrary to this belief, a study that was done on it found that creatine ethyl ester was worse than its monohydrate form when it comes to increasing the content of creatine in the muscles and blood. That’s why using creatine ethyl ester is hardly recommended.
4. Buffered Creatine
There has been an attempt to make creatine more stable in the stomach through the addition of an alkaline powder.
This is how buffered creatine is formed. This is thought to make creatine more potent and with fewer side-effects including cramping and bloating.
However, this claim of the buffered creatine being more active and safe than the monohydrate variety is yet to be proven by any research study.
In one study, the two were found to have no visible difference when it comes to side-effects and effectiveness.
Participants in the survey, 28 weight training enthusiasts were given the supplements for 28 days. Whether they used one form of creatine or the other, the subjects noted significant improvement in power and strength production.
In the final analysis, buffered creatine is not any worse than the monohydrate variety. But that doesn’t mean that it is better, either.
So it is hard to rule in favor of buffered creatine. Given the research that has gone into monohydrate, it is a clear winner when these two are compared.
5. Creatine Magnesium Chelate
This form of the supplement has been ‘cheated’ with magnesium. That’s why it is referred to as creatine magnesium chelate. It is manufactured through a process that attaches magnesium to the molecule of creatine.
In one study, strength and endurance for bench presses among users of creatine monohydrate and creatine magnesium chelate were assessed against a placebo.
Users of both types of creatine made a significant improvement in their performance compared to the placebo group. However, there was no noted difference between the two types of creatine.
Of course, creatine magnesium chelate is effective in its own right. But the best type of creatine seems to be the monohydrate variety. It is well-researched and, therefore, well understood.
6. Liquid Creatine
Most of the other types of creatine exist in powder form. But there are some ready-to-drink varieties of the supplement, which are in the form of a water solution.
Creatine in liquid form has been studied and found to be not as effective as the monohydrate powder.
In one study, the subjects were able to gain more strength and endurance during cycling exercise using monohydrate by 10 percent compared to the liquid form of the supplement.
When stored in liquid form, creatine has been established to be susceptible to break down after only a few days.
Since this is not something that happens in the short-term, you can mix creatine with water immediately before consuming it.
In fact, most of the research on creatine monohydrate has been done using its liquid form. Even when bought in powder form, it is recommended that you take your creatine after mixing with water.
7. Creatine Nitrate
When a nitrate molecule is added to creatine, this variety is produced.
Creatine nitrate is known to be highly soluble. It is also highly ergogenic. So far, no studies have been done to compare this form of creatine with that existing in monohydrate form.
8. Creatine Pyruvate
To produce this form of creatine, it is usually combined with pyruvic acid. Taken in this form, the supplement increases the amounts of creatine in blood, better than the monohydrate type.
When it comes to absorbability, the monohydrate type id the best type of creatine.
In one study, creatine pyruvate was found to improve endurance better than its citrate form.
Only that a subsequent study was able to produce contrary results. Without more research, it is not possible to say whether the claims on this type of creatine are true.
9. Micronized Creatine
When the sizes of the particles in the powder are decreased to micro sizes, the result is what’s known as micronized creatine.
This process does not change the chemical composition of the supplement. In fact, it remains as creatine monohydrate but in a more soluble form. Since it is the best type of creatine, it is as effective as can be.
10. Creatine Malate
When this supplement is bound with malic acid, it is referred to us creatine malate.
The inclusion of malic acid is thought to be effective when it comes to making the performance better. Without more research, it is hard to know whether this claim is true or not.
When all the research studies are taken into consideration, then the best type of creatine is the one in monohydrate form.
No other form of the supplement has the backing of strong research studies. It is, therefore, clear that creatine monohydrate is the most effective when it comes to increasing the body’s energy reserves and improvement in exercise.
The lack of research on the other forms of creatine makes the monohydrate variety to stand out from a crowd of rivals. Add to it the fact that creatine monohydrate is cheap as well as widely available and you have a clear winner.