Like any other supplement, there are many different forms of creatine available in the market and, like any other type of supplement, each one is different in composition, solubility and effectiveness . Therefore, choosing the best type of creatine for your purpose may be essential.
First of all, it is important to note that creatine is a normal constituent of the diet and is not considered a dopant . Its use and rational prescription by competent professionals has been accepted by consensus of numerous Medical Committees of Olympic Committees and Anti-Doping Commissions.
The difference between the types of creatine is in the way the molecules are bound, which causes them to be metabolized differently by the body. Some are more soluble than others, which in turn increases their effectiveness, while others have linked chemicals that increase their absorption in the circulation and in the muscle, influencing the need for the loading phase .
Although in reality, the end result and benefits are similar to all, what will be the best type of creatine? What are the differences and the advantages and disadvantages between them? Let’s find out.
Choose the best type of creatine
It is the most popular and best-selling type in the world, so it may be the best type of creatine for you. Each molecule has 88% creatine and 12% water, which means that in 1 gram of creatine monohydrate there are 880 milligrams of creatine.
- Efficacy – Almost all studies conducted use creatine on the form of creatine monohydrate and its results in terms of increased performance and gains in strength and muscle are unmistakable and proven to be a strong candidate for the best type of creatine ;
- Loading – does not require a loading phase;
- Price – is usually the best type of creatine in relation to cost – cheaper.
- Pharmacokinetics – it is not very soluble in water and is poorly absorbed in the muscle (only 1%). Curiously, some people do not respond partially or even totally to this type of creatine (non-responders), so it may not be the best type of creatine.
- Adverse effects – because it is unstable in water, there may be a greater propensity for some gastrointestinal discomfort .
It is essentially creatine monohydrate, but micronized , that is, the creatine molecules have been divided or cut, which increases the surface area by about 20 times.
- Efficacy – by being micronized , and having a larger surface and molecule, makes it more absorbed and more effective . By being ‘purer’ than monohydrate, it manages to be effective in many non-responders;
- Adverse effects – by being better absorbed, there is less likelihood of any potential gastrointestinal discomfort.
- Loading – to be more advantageous, requires a loading phase;
- Price – a little more expensive than creatine monohydrate.
It consists of the creatine molecule bound to citric acid. Citric acid is a molecule that helps in the tricarboxylic acid cycle (also known as the Krebs cycle or citric acid cycle), contributing to the activation of phosphorylation processes (where there is conversion of macronutrients to carbon dioxide and water) and consequently in the production of ATP (energy!).
- Efficacy – is quite soluble in water and slightly better absorbed than creatine monohydrate;
- Citric acid – appears to activate the tricarboxylic acid cycle and increase muscle energy production;
- Adverse effects – being better absorbed, like micronized creatine, is less likely to cause any potential gastrointestinal discomfort ..
- Amount – this type of creatine contains only 40% of creatine, that is, it has only 400 milligrams of active creatine in each gram, which requires double the dose to be as effective as the monohydrate;
- Price – is more expensive than the previous options.
Creatine Ethyl Ester
Promoted as the future of creatine supplementation , it consists of an esterified creatine monohydrate molecule, that is, bound to an alcohol molecule (ethanol). While normal creatine molecules have both positive and negative charges, the ester bound to this molecule neutralizes these charges. It has 82.4% of creatine, ie it theoretically provides 8.2 g of creatine to a dosage of 10 g.
- Efficacy – being bound to an ester will cause a change in the normal charges of creatine, increase its solubility and allow an absorption of almost 99% – is thought to have absorption rates up to ten times higher than normal creatine. There are no known non-responders and is currently being studied in situations where there is a lack of creatine transporters;
- Dose – as it has better solubility, its transport through the biological membranes is facilitated and, thus, smaller doses obtain the same effect;
- Loading – studies say that there are no advantages in doing a loading phase;
- Adverse effects – potential gastrointestinal discomfort almost nonexistent.
- Formulation – When taken in the form of powder, it may have an unpleasant taste. This can be overcome by taking it in tablets / capsules;
- Price – more expensive than the previous ones.
Tri- & Di-Creatine Malate
They are types of creatine linked to molecules of malic acid. This is an acid of natural origin that is present in fruits and vegetables, in larger quantities in apples, cranberries, grapes and cucumbers, and is also widely used as food additive (E-296), for its flavoring and acidity regulating properties . It participates in the tricarboxylic acid cycle and in the production of ATP and, while Tri-Creatine Malate has 3 molecules of malic acid, Di-Creatine Malate has 2 molecules.
- Efficacy – malic acid has great solubility and given that creatine will be bound to this compound, the entire molecule will be more soluble and more absorbed. The Tri-Creatine Malate seems to have better results with faster recovery, less fatigue during training and greater energy production that Di-Creatine Malate.
- Formulation – malic acid has a sour taste and may eventually cause a more unpleasant taste to the supplement;
- Scientific evidence – while the ergogenic role of malic acid alone is clear, improving the conditions for the transformation of chemical energy into mechanics in skeletal muscle, it is not yet known exactly what effects it has in conjunction with creatine, being Further studies are needed to clarify these metabolic processes;
- Price – more expensive than creatine monohydrate.
It is considered by many the purest formula of creatine . It consists of a buffered creatine molecule, ie, processed at a higher pH than normal creatine monohydrate. The highly alkaline pH (usually above 12) protects the molecules during their course in the digestive system, allowing more creatine to reach the muscle cells.
- Efficacy – the creatine molecule Kre-Alkaline will not go through the process of conversion to creatinine, as with creatine. In this way the rate of absorption is higher and faster, resulting in more immediate results;
- Dose – the fact that Kre-Alkalyn reaches greater amounts in the muscle will mean that much lower doses are needed, compared to other forms of creatine;
- Loading – no loading phase required;
- Adverse effects – by being more readily absorbed, there is less likelihood of any potential gastrointestinal discomfort.
- Scientific Evidence – Although the higher pH theoretically protects molecules during their course in the digestive system, helping to further absorption and accumulation in muscle tissues, this effect can be quickly eliminated by stomach acid if the formulation is not properly ‘protected’ and enteric coated. Further studies are needed to prove its effectiveness, although most feedback from athletes is positive;
- Price – more expensive.
The effervescent creatine is the creatine combined with chemicals (usually a combination of citric acid, dextrose, sodium and potassium), which give an effervescent quality, that is, causing the formation of bubbles.
- Efficacy – when combined with other chemical compounds, will be more soluble and more absorbed, but not necessarily the best type of creatine;
- Formulation – has a more pleasing taste due to the addition of other compounds;
- Loading – does not require a loading phase.
- Composition – has sugar or sodium, two elements tendentially avoided by athletes and fitness practitioners;
- Scientific evidence – does not appear to be the best type of creatine (more effective) than monohydrate, and more studies are needed to understand its mechanism of action;
- Price – more expensive.
Creatine phosphate, also known as phosphocreatine or PCr, is a phosphorylated creatine molecule with 62.3% creatine and 37.7% phosphate.
- Efficacy – has similar results to creatine monohydrate in terms of increased performance and gains in strength and muscle. Phosphocreatine restores spent ATP during muscle contraction: the higher the phosphocreatine content, the greater the ability to perform physical effort and the longer.
- Efficacy – although it seems that the fact that it is already conjugated with a phosphatose group is beneficial (since, for creatine to be effective, it first has to join with a phosphate group and to become creatinafosfato), the truth is that each molecule of creatine fostat ends up having less amount of creatine, compared to creatine monohydrate that has 88%.
- Price – more expensive, therefore, may not be the best type of creatine in the ratio quality / price.
It consists of a creatine molecule linked to orotic acid, a precursor of nucleic acids (the constituents of DNA and RNA molecules, which are present in the genes), which help in cell functioning and energy use.
- Efficacy – Apparently, it has superior results to creatine monohydrate , in terms of increased strength and reduced fatigue, by increasing levels of carnosine in muscles (a molecule that reduces muscle acidity).
- Scientific evidence – further studies are needed to confirm its mechanism of action and benefits relative to the other forms of this supplement.
- Price – more expensive.
It is one of the most controversial types of this supplement, and therefore hardly the best type of creatine. It basically consists of creatine dissolved in water, often with several vitamins and amino acids added.
- Loading- requires no loading phase because it is easily absorbed by the body;
- Practice – is very easy to use by putting just a drop under the tongue.
- Scientific evidence – to date, there is controversial scientific evidence and inconsistent results on serum efficacy. While some studies report surprising results, others find no advantage. As for whether or not it is the best type of creatine, it does not seem to be more effective than creatine monohydrate;
- Formulation – creatine molecules are unstable in liquids and, in a liquid medium for a prolonged period, they will decompose into creatinine (which may be harmful to the renal system);
- Price – very expensive.
There are also so-called ‘ creatine cocktails ‘, in which creatine is mixed with other amino acids, in formulations from creatine pyruvate, creatine hydrochloride, creatine gluconate, creatine taurinate, creatine alpha-ketoglutarate, creatine decanate, creatine magnesium chelate, creatine nitrate, among others. There are those who think that it is the best type of creatine because it is more complete.