Creatine has been leading the charge for sports supplements for the last few decades, being the most well-researched and trusted supplement on the market. It is one of the few areas of sports supplementation that almost everyone can agree will be beneficial for athletes. Creatine is something we store in our skeletal muscle and can get in naturally through the diet by eating some fish and red meat. However, in order to get the positive effects for strength and power output, we need to supplement with creatine. The International Society of Sports Nutrition have concluded that creatine is the most effective ergogenic aid available to athletes.
Whilst it is extremely popular in the supplement world, this blog will give you some information that you perhaps have not heard yet so you are fully informed about this great supplement. Creatine nitrate? Creatine hydrochloride? What is the difference and which one should you be taking? Those are just some of the questions that will be answered in the blog below.
Why is Creatine Important?
Creatine is a important supplement to be taking if your goal is weight gain, gaining strength, maximising exercise performance or if you are wanting to increase muscle mass. The benefits of creatine supplementation have been well documented in the literature, with hundreds of studies showing its effectiveness and safety time and time again. Creatine plays a crucial role in the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) energy system which is what our muscles use in the gym to produce short bursts of explosive movements. This makes a creatine supplement a useful tool for bodybuilders, field athletes and those undertaking high intensity interval training.
How Does It Work?
As mentioned previously, the body used ATP to drive most processes in the body. ATP provides this energy by hydrolysing a phosphate group, which takes adenosine triphosphate down to adenosine diphosphate (ADP), because one phosphate group was taken away. Now, what can our bodies do with this left over ADP? The answer unfortunately is not a whole lot, in fact ADP is effectively useless in the body unless it is converted back into ATP. That is where creatine supplements come in! Creatine donates one of its phosphate groups, turning the ADP into ATP which is ready to assist with energy production once again. This is how creatine is able help you train harder for longer.
Types of Creatine
Creatine Monohydrate is the most well-researched of all forms of creatine and is the most recommended for effectiveness and safety. It has been shown to improve exercise performance for both the upper and lower body, increase power output and improve strength. Monohydrate contains a water molecule which is how it gets its name, however it is around 90% creatine.
Creatine Ethyl Ester has been claimed by some manufacturers to be be superior to its monohydrate cousin when it comes to uptake however the research has not been able to substantiate these claims. This form of creatine has been shown to be less beneficial for saturating creatine stores in skeletal muscle cells.
Creatine Hydrochloride has better solubility in water than other forms of creatine. This got people thinking that a lower dose could be used to get the same results. This theory is yet to be proven in the literature however. One study in particular found that creatine hydrochloride was 38 times for soluble than the monohydrate form however given the immense body of literature in support of monohydrate, it is still preferred.
Buffered Creatine is creatine that has had an alkaline powder added to make it more stable in the stomach to limit side effects like bloating or cramping. This form however was not shown to be superior to monohydrate for performance or side effects in research.
Liquid Creatine was thought to have better absorption such as when used in ready-to-drink products. Research has actually shown that this could have the opposite effects because creatine seems to break down when it sits in liquid for multiple days.
Creatine Magnesium Chelate is a form of creatine that has had a magnesium molecule attached to it. This form of creatine has been shown to be effective in the research however it has not been shown to be superior for performance compared to monohydrate.
Effects of Creatine Supplementation
- Helps to increase power output which can improve athletic performance
- Helps to increase muscle tissue when used alongside resistance training
- Increases muscle strength which can lead to more muscle mass
- It is the most trusted supplement in sports nutrition
- Creatine supplements can help you train harder for longer
- The International Society of Sports Nutrition have not only included that it is safe, but has a range of therapeutic benefits
- May have benefits in treating muscle disorders
- Some research to suggest it may be beneficial for people living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Our Top 5 Creatine Supplements
ATP Science Creatine utilises a specific type of creatine known as Creapure. This is a patented way of making creatine which uses German technology to create the finest, highest-quality creatine powder on the market. Create supplementation does not get better than this!
Gen-Tec Creatine is another brand that uses Creapure, making it one of the highest quality options if you are wanting to start taking creatine. Gen-Tec is a brand that prides itself on keeping standards high so you know that this product will be 100% pure pharmaceutical grade creatine.
Redcon1 Tango contains creatine hydrochloride and monohydrate which is best utilised immediately after a workout. Many athletes focus on refuelling with adequate protein and carbohydrates after training, and whilst this is important, they are forgetting about topping up the actual energy source that fuels results.
EHP Crea-8 is another popular product that many customers love for its great mix-ability and epic value per serving. If you are wanting to improve your athletic performance, build muscle mass or increase your muscle strength, this product is a great option.
JD Nutraceuticals Creatine is a classic product that utilises 100% pure monohydrate to bring you all the benefits at a very good price. Taking creatine should be safe, so JDN have made sure there are no added fillers or nasties in this product.
Which is the best? – As you can see, there are many variations of this supplement. Whilst many of them have a similar effect, there is no disputing the fact that the monohydrate form is the most proven in the research with regard to effectiveness and safety. It is for this reason that we suggest to most people to utilise monohydrate if they are looking to supplement with this product.
FAQs About Creatine Monohydrate Supplementation
Does creatine supplementation cause hair loss? – There has been some discussion in recent years that creatine may increase the likelihood of hair loss in men. Whilst these claims have attracted a lot of attention, there is no imperial evidence to support the fact that it causes hair loss.
If I take amino acids, do I need to take creatine? – Yes! Amino acids like BCAAs and EAAs are great for overall recovery and enhancing muscle protein synthesis but they do not impact your energy production directly. If you want to maximise your resistance training, you should take both!
Is creatine supplementation dangerous? – The great thing about this supplement is that it is extremely safe. Currently, the research shows that there is no compelling evidence to suggest that long-term use (30g/day for 5 years) of this supplement causes any negative health outcomes in otherwise healthy individuals. The research suggests quite the opposite, in that this supplement can have a range of health benefits!
How to Use Creatine Supplements
Mix 1 scoop (5g) of your preferred creatine supplement with water, juice or your pre/post/intra workout shake daily for the best results. If you are having creatine for the first time, you may want to consider loading creatine to saturate your muscle stores by taking 20g daily for 7 days and after this phase, take 5g daily to maintain saturation.
If you are not interested in undertaking the landing phase, this is not necessarily an issue. The purpose if the loading phase is to get your muscle stores saturated quicker, but if you simply start by taking 5g daily, your muscles will still saturate, it will just take longer.
Creatine supplementation is something that the International Society of Sports Nutrition have whole-heartedly supported both from a performance enhancement and safety perspective. It is a supplement that comes in many forms, however there is a mountain of evidence to suggest that good old creatine monohydrate is the one that is most worth your hard-earned dollars. If you are wanting to be the best version of yourself in the gym, utilising this amazing supplement really is a no brainer! At Power Supps, we sell this product from 14 different brands, so regardless of what you prefer, we will be able to find one that suits your needs!