Along with protein, creatine is one of the most studied supplements for sports nutrition. Creatine has a lot of myths and proper usage is very important for you to see the benefits. Creatine is a beneficial supplement for gaining strength and muscle mass in the long term, but let’s see if creatine is for you.
One more thing before we start, you need to keep in mind that you need to have your training and nutrition dialed in before thinking on supplementing with creatine.
What is creatine?
Creatine is a chemical substance that we find in the human body, we find creatine in our muscles and in certain types of food like tuna and beef (about 2 grams of creatine in 500 grams of tuna). The creatine that we use for supplementation is made in a Laboratory. Its main purpose is to provide energy to our muscles. Besides being a popular supplement among bodybuilders, it is believed that creatine can be used for other purposes such as improved cognitive function.
How does creatine works?
The function of creatine is to provide energy to our muscles, creatine supplementation has been shown to help produce ATP, which translates to cellular energy. When muscles are under tension, phosphocreatine which is a molecule derived from creatine, aids in the release of energy for the maximum muscle function. Given this cycle, creatine helps to produce ATP, and when our creatine stores are filled, this translates into more reps and more overall weight lifted. This is by no means a magic increase, but it is a significant increase in strength and training volume.
Creatine supplementation benefits
Here are the proven benefits of creatine supplementation:
- Increase lean body mass
- Increase work capacity
- Increase muscle strength
- Help to decrease Body Fat percentage
- Increase anaerobic capacity
- Increase different sports performance
- Potentially better brain function
While all of this sounds great, these are not steroid like results, but creatine is the best and safest supplement out there and it definitely gives you a boost in training and sports performance.
What about all the types of creatine on the market?
There are a lot of creatine types and brands on the market, for example creatine ethyl Esther and creatine hydrochloride, the main focus of making diferent types of creatine are to increase bioavailability and overall efficacy.
You can’t really go wrong with the good old creatine monohydrate that has thousands of studies validating its efficacy and benefits, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right. But in my opinion there is always room for improvement so let’s see what other types of creatine are really worth it.
This is the “original” creatine form, most of the studies on creatine are made with creatine monohydrate. There are plenty of studies that show creatine monodydrate works. Even the International Society of Sports Nutrition recognizes the effectiveness of creatine supplementation. The benefits i discussed earlier are all proven with this type of creatine, this is why if you want to stay on the safe side you should stick to creatine monohydrate. But there is another type of creatine i personally like and recommend and we will discuss why earlier.
Here are some study’s validating the efficacy of the good old creatine monohydrate:
- In this study they measured strength gain in the creatine monohydrate group vs placebo and the strength gains were significantly higher in the creatine group.
- This study demonstrated increased power output in soccer players.
- This study shows the efficacy of creatine on improving upper limb strength.
- This study by the International Society of Sports Nutrition recognizes all the benefits of creatine that were mentioned earlier.
There is no other way around it creatine monohydrate works. I recommend Creapure® creatine.
My reccomended creatine monohyrate: HERE
PH balanced Creatine also known as Kre-Alkalyn®
This is right, with all the hype over the PH of our body, they also created a more Alcaline creatine, in this case the claims were more creatine stored, with less “side effects” and better training performance.
The reality is, the PH doesn’t influence that much when it comes to efficacy of the supplement. Fortunately we have this study that compared creatine monodydrate with a PH balanced form of creatine. It is important that the creatine monohydrate that was compared in this study was the German Creapure® creatine, the best creatine monohydrate in the market right now. The study involved 36 participants and at the end of the study there where no differences between creatine content in muscles, body weight, fat-free mass, body fat and 1 Rep Max in the bench press.
The conclusion here is that there is no significant difference and when it comes to cost, Creapure® creatine monohydrate is the best option.
Creatine HCL (Creatine with Hydrochloride Salt)
So creatine monohydrate has amazing benefits and its the king of all creatines, but nothing is perfect and creatine monohydrate has room for improvement. The main issues are the doses that are required, and the solubility of creatine monohydrate. So if we improve this issues we will get an overall better creatine, one with higher bio-availability and that requires a lower dose. Say hello to creatine HCL, which according to research it has a great potential for a higher solubility, better absorption and lower doses required.
There is definetely anecdotal evidence and reserach supporting the efficacy of creatine HCL, however we need more studies to be done before we jump into total conclusions and preffer this over creatine monohydrate, if you choose to stay safe just stick with Creapure®.
I still recommend creatine hcl if you want to try something different and that in my experience is just as effective if not more than its old pal creatine monohydrate.
My reccomended creatine Hcl : HERE
What are the best forms of creatine?
Do not confuse this with types, this are the forms of creatine which are powder, pills and sometimes already prepared creatine.
It all comes down to powder and pills, since liquid creatine it’s not effective since the creatine breakdowns over time in the fluid.
Powder: Powder is very flexible, since you can choose to take 2.5 grams at a time throughout the day or to take only 3 grams if you chose, or you can drink it with your preferred beverage. Also micronized creatine is commonly available in the powder form so creatine in the powder form is the absolute best.
Capsules: If you like taking capsules, that’s it lol.
How to supplement with creatine?
When it comes to supplementation, the studied doses are 3 to 5 grams of creatine monohydrate, when it comes to creatine hcl 1.5-3 grams per day. This is all depending on Bodyweight, if you are on the heavier side, make sure you stay in the higher doses of creatine.
The most important thing when supplementing with creatine is going to be taking it at any time of the day, similar to protein, but it seems like the most benefits are shown when creatine is taken post workout.
Is creatine supplementation safe?
Yep, im sure your mom tells you that creatine is bad for your kidneys and you will end up dead in the hospital. But relax, in healthy individuals creatine supplementation has been shown to be safe.
Due all the facts the best forms of creatine are, Creatine Monohydrate (Creapure®), Micronized Creatine Monohydrate and Creatine Hydrochloride (Creatine Hcl). All of this is possible due to the Hydrochloride Salt.
Bonus: Will creatine make me go bald?
There is a lot of controversy with creatine and male pattern baldness. It has been shown that one of the contributing factors of baldness is DHT, and a study made with rugby players showed that creatine supplementation increased DHT significantly. Male pattern baldness is also genetic so if you do not have it running in your family it is highly unlikely that it will affect you. Even do male pattern baldness is genetic we can fight it with nutrition and proper skin care and some other supplements. My advice is if you will freak out do not start a regimen with creatine supplementation. If you don’t care, baldness doesn’t run in your family or you are already bald, go ahead. We definitely need more information for this topic but due to lack of research we cannot make any claims. It is important to mention that the study was made with creatine monohydrate. It all comes to personal choice, but there is no way to be sure.
Thats it for creatine , let me know what you think!