What is Creatine and how it WORKS
Creatine is a molecule in an energy system (creatine phosphate) that can rapidly produce energy (ATP) to support cellular function. Thus its performance-enhancing and neuroprotective properties. It’s comprised of several amino acids–L-arginine, glycine, and L-methionine–and it’s present in almost all cells and also acts as an “energy reserve.”
Creatine is found normally in the human body, with 95% of them found in the skeletal muscle tissue. The body receives its creatine from typically food, approximately 2grams per day. It also produces its own creatine in the liver from other amino acids.
Numerous studies have proven its effect. “Extra creatine is therefore ergogenic, because it may help generate more power output during intense exercise.” It has also been proven to increase strength, performance and muscle mass. “In addition, long term creatine supplementation produces greater gains in strength and sprint performance and may increase lean body mass.” Other studies have proven creatine’s health benefits, not only to bodybuilders or athletes, but to non-athlete and aging individuals.
WHAT DOES CREATINE DO?
All creatines basically do the same thing. Such as volumizing muscle, improving strength and increases ATP levels for activities that require short bouts of quick energy such as lifting, HIIT etc. However, each creatine has its very own composition, solubility, and effectiveness. Some are more soluble than others, which, in turn, increases their effectiveness and possibly reduces some possible side effects. Other creatines have chemicals attached which increase their absorption and uptake into the muscle, eliminates the need for a loading phase. Various form of creatine includes creatine monohydrate, creatine hcl (creatine hydrochloride), micronized creatine, creatine ethyl ester(CEE), creatine serum, creatine pyruvate, creatine citrate, creatine orate, effervescent creatine, creatine malate, creatine magnesium chelate, creatine kre-alkalyn, creatine nitrate etc.
While there were so many different types of creatine, the most common creatine used in the bodybuilding industry happens to be creatine monohydrate, creatine HCL and creatine kre-alkalyn (buffered creatine) as they were ensured to all benefits/effects mentioned, especially sports performance-enhancing effects.
Creatine monohydrate is the creatine form used in the majority of studies demonstrating creatine’s benefits. It is the traditional and gold standard of creatine, a time proven winner to be absolutely effective. It is also relatively cheap if one is on a budget.
However, there are downsides to creatine monohydrate. Creatine monohydrate had a low surface area, decreasing uptake of creatine into the muscle, causing only about 1% to be absorbed into the body. Creatine monohydrate is difficult to dissolve in water, difficult to dissolve means it then later does not cross from the intestines into the blood stream easily thus a great deal of creatine monohydrate is left in the intestine tract. The leftovers in the intestine tract has the potential to do two irritable things. Firstly, it draws in a great deal of water which causes bloating and to have a soft, hydrated stool which reduces nutrient uptake. Secondly, bacteria in the guy may utilize creatine and heavily proliferate, creating imbalances that could reduce nutrient uptake. This is also why there are reports of diarrhea and stomach discomfort (because insoluble creatine sits in the stomach attracting water).
Creatine monohydrate does not required a loading phrase, but to ensure one makes the most out of it, it is preferable to do loading. It is as well unstable in water and should be taken immediately after dissolving it.
Note: Not all people respond to creatine monohydrate (non-responders).
Creatine hydrochloride is creatine bound with hydrochloric acid. When compared to creatine monohydrate, Creatine HCL dissolves incredibly fast and easily. Since it is capable of dissolving in the stomach fluids which therefore means uptakes into the body easily, you can usually find them in pill forms. Monohydrate on the other hand isn’t nearly soluble enough to do so. Many supplement companies that produces creatine HCL claims that you need as little as 1/5 the amount compared to creatine monohydrate.
Published in Food and Nutrition Sciences, researchers in a university (University of Sao Judas Tadeu in Sao Paulo Brazil) compared creatine monohydrate supplementation to creatine Hcl supplementation in bodybuilders. Involving 40 individuals separated into 4 groups: 10 taking 5 grams of creatine monohydrate, 10 taking 5 grams of creatine HCL, 10 taking 1.5 grams of creaint HCL, and 10 taking placebo. By the end of the study, they found that creatine monohydrate and creatine HCL produces the same performance enhancing results, however the group that were tested with creatine HCL produces more aesthetic results with the lack of additional water bloating.
However, when compared to creatine monohydrate, there really isn’t a lot of true clinical research on human athletes to back up the statement. In fact, this is the current bane of creatine HCL supplementation. There essentially isn’t much research out there about creatine HCL, all the while creatine monohydrate has countless positive peer reviewed studies.
Creatine Monohydrate VS Creatine HCL. Which is better?
Researches had already shown the similar effects of creatine monohydrate and creatine HCL. When it comes down to comparison of both, it really depends on your own body. Everyone has a different body type and the way we process can be different. Some people may find monohydrate useful and others may be the opposite. It is important to try out by each and see what works best for your body. It is all trials and errors before you find what works or just stick with what already works for you.
- MICRONIZED CREATINE
- CREATINE ETHYL ESTER (CEE)
- CREATINE PYRUVATE
- BUFFERED CREATINE
- CREATINE CITRATE
- TRI & DI CREATINE MALATE
- CREATINE MAGNESIUM CHELATE
- CREATINE NITRATE
- CREATINE KRE-ALKALYN
- CREATINE ORATE
- CREATINE SERUM
- EFFERVESCENT CREATINE
- CREATINE COCKTAILS (MIXED WITH GLUTAMINE/NITRIC OXIDE,
- MICRONIZED CREATINE: Micronized creatine is creatine that
has been processed to reduce the particle size of the powder. The most form
most commonly sold as micronized creatine is monohydrate. The main purpose of
micronization is to increase water solubility, but nothing in terms of
absorption or effectiveness is going to change.
- CREATINE ETHYL ESTER (CEE): This form of creation is
supposed to convert back to usable creatine in the body. It’s usually marketed
as having better absorption properties than creatine monohydrate, but research
shows it is in fact less effective than monohydrate, on par with a placebo. The
reason for this is once creatine ethyl ester enters your body, it’s converted
into an inactive substance known as “creatinine.”
- CREATINE PYRUVATE: Creatine pyruvate is a creatine bound
with pyruvic acid. Research showed it may produce higher plasma levels of
creatine than monohydrate, but this doesn’t translate into greater muscle
absorption or performance enhancement.
- BUFFERED CREATINE: It is a form of creatine advertised to
outperform monohydrate due to a higher pH level.
- CREATINE CITRATE: It is creatine bound to citric acid and
research indicates it’s more water soluble than creatine monohydrate but there
are no differences in terms of absorption and effectiveness.
- TRI & DI CREATINE MALATE: A creatine bound with malic
acid. While malic acid alone may enhance performance, it hasn’t been researched
in conjunction with creatine.
- CREATINE MAGNESIUM CHELATE: A form of creatine bound to
magnesium. Magnesium plays a role in creatine metabolism and thus,
theoretically, supplementing with it alongside creatine may increase its
However, one study found that creatine magnesium chelate is more or less the same as creatine monohydrate in terms of ergogenic effects but may result in less water weight gain.
More research is needed on creatine magnesium chelate to determine if it offers any reliable advantages over creatine monohydrate.
- CREATINE NITRATE: Creatine nitrate is a form of creatine
bound with a nitrate group.
This increases water solubility and nitrates do have ergogenic properties, but no studies have been conducted comparing creatine nitrate to monohydrate, so we don’t know yet if it’s a better choice.
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