Creatine is one of the most commonly used supplements by athletes involved in both strength and endurance sports. It is believed that its use affects the rapid increase in muscle mass and strength in a short time. There are many forms of creatine. However, what is different from them and which one is the best?
What is creatine?
Creatine (ß-methylguanidinoacetic acid) is an organic compound consisting mainly of guanidine and acetic acid. It arises in the human body from glycine, arginine and methionine.
Creatine naturally occurs in the human body and is 95% stored in the muscles. To a large extent, its demand is satisfied with food, however, in people who use a diet that is not very rich in creatine or engage in intense physical activity, creatine level is on average about 10% lower than a person leading a sedentary lifestyle.
Creatine – increased demand for athletes
Assuming that people active in strength sports have a relatively greater mass than people who prefer endurance sports, it can be concluded that this first group has an increased need for creatine and requires increased amounts of it. During exercise, the level of creatine precursors decreases, which limits its endogenous synthesis. The only way out is then to provide creatine from the outside, if we want a rapid growth of this compound in the body.
Are there any differences between the different forms of creatine? Yes of course! Each of them differs in terms of composition, solubility or effectiveness. Some creatine dissolve better, which increases their effectiveness. Others are combined with various chemical compounds, which results in better absorption and absorption into the muscles, thus eliminating the need for a loading phase. However, all forms of creatine contribute to
– increase in muscle mass
– increase in strength
– increase energy levels in muscles (ATP)
The following are the different types of creatines and their advantages and disadvantages.
The most popular form of creatine used by athletes. It is a molecule of water and a molecule of creatine combined into one molecule. Scientific research has shown that both the bioavailability of the monohydrate intake and digestion rate of tissues is very high. In addition to anabolic stimulation, it also works anti-catabolic – it eliminates excessive acidity in the muscles. Supports effort, regeneration, and contributes to the increase in muscle mass. It is the cheapest of all forms, which does not mean that the worst. Despite the creation of many more advanced forms, for many people, creatine monohydrate remained the basis of supplementation.
The combination of creatine and apple acid. The ratio of both substances is 13. This creatine causes an increase in strength without noticeable water retention. Usually it is recommended to use in 3-4 doses, with plenty of water. It helps to raise energy levels as the malate participates in the Krebs cycle. It has a better solubility than monohydrate and does not cause stomach problems.
Otherwise citrate. final glycolysis product. It helps to increase strength, without taking on weight and supports regeneration. Citrate is a combination of creatine and organic citric acid. It is considered a very good type of creatine mainly due to the easy absorption and increased stability of the molecule in the acidic environment of the digestive tract
Magnesium chelate creatine
It is an advanced magnesium-creatine formula developed and patented by Albion. The combination of creatine and magnesium into one molecule allows to use the phenomenon of synergism between the above-mentioned substances. The special form of the chelate, however, ensures high bioavailability of the compound obtained.
It is a salt of glutaric acid and creatine. Alfaketoglutaran is a product of the intermediate Krebs cycle, which plays a very important role in the energy processes taking place in the cell. This type of creatine is characterized by better absorbency and to a greater extent saturates muscles with creatine.
It is one of the most water-soluble forms. It is very biologically stable and highly concentrated (about 77% creatine), which translates into greater efficiency of supplementation, faster muscle saturation with creatine and less water retention. Creatine HCl is also resistant to pH changes in the gastrointestinal tract. This means that at low pH it is not converted to creatinine. In practice, this allows the use of smaller doses than in the case of less advanced forms.
Creatine ethyl ester
An advanced form of creatine that requires half the effective dose than monohydrate and does not need glucose for transport or loading phase. It leads to the development of high quality dry muscle mass.
Combination of creatine with nitrogen. As a result, it has a positive effect on the widening of blood vessels, which translates into better transport of the molecule to the muscles and a larger muscle pump.
The best creatine
What, however, choose when we decide to buy this supplement? The advantage of monohydrate is primarily the price. It is relatively lower than the prices of other types of creatine. However, there is no comprehensive scientific research that could unequivocally state the superiority of any of the described types of creatine in terms of effectiveness. When choosing creatine, we should suggest the predisposition of our body to accumulate water (monohydrate in the case of people with a tendency to accumulate water is inadvisable), nevertheless, it is the simplest and the best creatine.
People with gastric hyperacidity should in turn avoid malate, as it contains malic acid. Other forms of creatine are not stable enough in our body and do not have as much research as basic. They should rather be an addition of “creatine stack”, a comprehensive supplement based on creatine.