Just as the sports chosen vary according to the preferences and goals of the individual, supplements will also vary from person to person. Creatine supplements are no exception, because not all creatine is the same. To understand what’s the best creatine for you, this article explains what creatine is, what types of creatine there are, the advantages and disadvantages of each creatine type, and what is the best creatine for your needs.
What is creatine and what is it good for?
What is creatine?
Creatine is a substance that is synthesized by the body, more specifically by the kidneys, liver and pancreas. This ingredient is also found in foods that are rich in proteins, especially in lean meats, like chicken and turkey and red meats. However, as the meat has cholesterol and fat, a more pure, concentrated and effective way to get creatine is through supplementation.
What is creatine good for?
It is responsible for replacing ATP (adenosine triphosphate), a molecule responsible for delivering explosive energy to the muscles. After the body has been exposed to intense exercise, such as strength or speed exercises, creatine levels need to be replenished. With high ATP levels, you will be able to train more intensively for longer time periods.
Creatine also has an influence on muscle tissue because in addition to increasing the volume of muscles it influences the accumulation of lactic acid, which will allow you to train for a longer time without experiencing that burning sensation in your muscles.
In conclusion, creatine helps to increase and maintain maximum strength, reduce muscle fatigue and allows better recovery and is therefore one of the most used supplements in bodybuilding.
Types of Creatine
The offer of creatine supplements is high so when it comes to choosing one, it is normal to have doubts.
You need to pay attention to the composition and the advantages and disadvantages of each type. Below we present the main options.
This type of creatine is the most common and results from the conjugation of one creatine and one water molecule. Within the creatine monohydrate there is the micronized creatine option, for example, the well-known brand Creapure. This has a higher absorption rate due to the particle size (micro).
- Highly studied.
- Used by millions of people.
- More economical.
- Increases liquid retention.
- May cause bloating and gastrointestinal discomfort on some users.
- Requires cycling.
Creatine Ethyl Ester
This type of creatine results from a process of esterification, which is the chemical process by which an organic acid, such as creatine, is conjugated with an alcohol. At its base is creatine monohydrate conjugated to an ester group which is a reaction of esterification. As the ester group enhances the rapid uptake by the body of what is added to it, this type allows a faster absorption of creatine.
- Can be used in any stage, loading or maintenance.
- Fast absorption.
- Higher price.
This creatine supplement combines a creatine molecule with an alkaline based molecule called pH buffer which is characterized as being a reducer of acidity. The pH-lowering of the creatine molecule is linked to the increased rate of creatine absorption.
- Complete absorption.
- Doesn’t cause fluid retention (good for those who want to be dry).
- Doesn’t cause stomach discomforts.
- It has no volumizing effect (for those who like it).
- Higher price.
It consists of three creatine molecules and malic acid. This acid also helps to provide energy to the body, increasing the energizing effects.
- More soluble than creatine monohydrate.
- More effective in performing the ATP regeneration cycle.
- Higher price.
- Not so researched.
Creatine HCL (Hydrochloric acid) results from the binding of a hydrochloride to creatine, which helps to lower its pH and improve the stability. With the addition of this salt, the solubility of creatine increases, which will cause the absorption to also increase.
- Better absorption.
- More soluble.
- Less likelihood of side effects.
- High price.
What is the best creatine?
After you’ve looked at the presented options, it’s time to find out which is the best creatine for you.
The recommended option for athletes in general is Creatine Monohydrate because it offers all the benefits of creatine and if you want to save some money, this is also the most economical. If you experience side effects, such as bloating or gastrointestinal discomforts, consider creatine that is from the Creapure brand.
If you are on a diet or if you want to lose weight, the best creatine for you is Creatine Kre-Alkalyn because it does not cause fluid retention and decreases the likelihood of gastrointestinal discomforts and, therefore, reduces the feeling of bloating.
If your available budget is greater and you do not have enough time to prepare and remember the cycles, then Creatine HCL is the most efficient, easiest and less likely to cause side effects, especially Con-Crét, which is considered the most advanced creatine concentrate on the market.
How to use and when to take creatine supplements?
The way to take creatine varies between the different types of creatine that exist and between the different forms in which these supplements are presented: powder or capsules. Always follow manufacturer instructions!
When creatine is consumed with drinks that are rich in carbohydrates, like fruit juices, it is more effective because the conjugation of glucose with creatine causes a greater absorption of creatine by the muscle cells (especially during the loading phase).
So try taking your creatine supplement with a high carbohydrate drink, and you’ll get better results!
Creatine monohydrate (including creapure)
In the loading phase a dosage of approximately 20g daily during one week is recommended (5g four times daily with 500ml of liquid at a time). In the maintenance phase, the dosage is 5g daily.
Creatine Ethyl Ester, Tri-Creatine Malate, Kre-Alkalyn
Take 5g with 200ml of fluids 20 minutes prior to training (on non-training days take a dosage in the morning).
Creatine HCL (con-crét)
If you want to consume this type of creatine take one serving with 250 ml of liquid (on an empty stomach, with a meal or mixed with protein) and on days of intense training take another portion 30 to 45 minutes before training.
Creatine Side Effects
People with kidney problems need to be careful with taking too much amino acids and proteins as they speed up the kidney function.
Sometimes the consumption of creatine can cause gastrointestinal problems, especially if there is abuse in the consumption and when it is taken on an empty stomach.
During the loading phase there may be weight gain, but this situation is regularized when changing to the maintenance phase.
The principle that is the basis of all creatines is the same. However, there are some specifics that distinguish the different types of creatine and which make one type more appropriate than another. It all depends on how your body reacts and what your goals are.
Do not forget: if you are worried about your weight, the best creatine is Cre-Alkaline, if you do not have a tight budget and you like the most advanced creatine, creatine HCL is the best for you, but if you want to save some money and still get good results, Creatine Monohydrate is enough.
And for you, what is the best creatine? Give your opinion in the comments below!