Creatine is one of the most well researched supplements out there, it is also one of the most popular.

Benefits of Creatine For You

There are many benefits to taking creatine. It can lower inflammation after a workout, leading to faster recovery [1]. It can also increase testosterone levels when combined with weight training [2], and growth hormone.

The main benefit of creatine however is that it can massively improve performance, which is why it is important to consume the right pre-workout prior to training for optimal performance.

Best Versions of Creatine

Whatever your reasons for taking it, you probably want to take the best version right? There are a surprising amount of varieties on offer at the moment, and each one claims to be the best.

You have the original Creatine Monohydrate, but you also have Creatine Nitrate, Micronized Creatine, and Creatine Ethyl Ester. In this article we will take a brief look at these four versions and assess which is the best form for you.

Creatine Monohydrate

This is the most common form of creatine, and also the cheapest. There are no bells and whistles here, just plain creatine. The benefits of this form are that it is the most researched of all the creatine forms, and is therefore the most reliable. It is also the cheapest version, whilst still be perfectly safe and effective.

Micronized Creatine

This is basically the same as creatine but the molecules have been micronized (broken up into smaller parts) so that it is easier to digest. This means that it should be easier to digest (less bloating) and to absorb. Micronized creatine is usually quite a bit more expensive than creatine monohydrate though.

Creatine Nitrate

This is creatine with added nitrate (obviously). This means that nitric oxide production will increase leading to a greater pump during your workout (widening of the blood vessels and increased blood flow during a workout).

The downsides are that Creatine Nitrate is a lot more expensive, and it is also much less tested. Though a few studies have shown it to be effective at increasing muscular endurance and increasing muscle size [3].

Creatine Ethyl Ester

Creatine Ethyl Ester (CEE) is basically creatine monohydrate with an ester added which is supposed to boost absorption and skeletal muscle uptake.

This means that you need less of it to get the same results, which makes it popular with supplement companies who are making pre-workouts as it can keep costs and serving sizes down.

Interestingly though, CEE may not be any better at absorption than monohydrate, a study on CEE found that it hydrolyzed too quickly to reach muscle cells [4].

The Bottom Line

Creatine monohydrate is the most popular form of creatine for good reason, it is the cheapest available, the most studied, and the simplest choice to make, along with many other benefits.

Of the other three, Creatine Nitrate is the most interesting while Micronized Creatine may be useful for people who have suffered bloating during regular creatine monohydrate use.

You could probably pick any of the four forms of creatine and get excellent results, but why pay more for something that won’t make much difference? Why take a gamble on an expensive supplement when regular monohydrate can get you bigger muscles, faster recovery from sessions, and increased testosterone?

Save your money and get the biggest, cheapest bag of pure creatine monohydrate that you can. Creatine also works well in combination with other supplementation to enhance muscle recovery, strength, and performance.

References

[1] Santos, R., Bassit, R., Caperuto, E., Costa Rosa, L. 2004. The effect of creatine supplementation upon inflammatory and muscle soreness markers after a 30km race. Life Sciences 75(16): 1917-24

[2] Hoffman, J., Ratamess, N., Kang, J., Mangine, G., Faigenbaum, A., Stout, J. 2006. Effect of creatine and beta-alanine supplementation on performance and endocrine responses in strength/power athletes. International Journal of Sport Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism 16(4): 430-46

[3] Galvan, E., Walker, D., Simbo, S., O’Conner, A., Goodenough, C., Dalton, R., Levers, K., Barringer, N., Cho, M., Koozehchian, M., Ayadi, F., Jung, Y., Rasmussen, C., Greenwood, M., Murano, P., Earnest, C., Kreider, R. 2015. Effects of 28 days of two creatine nitrate based dietary supplements on body composition and exercise performance in recreationally active males. The FASEB Journal 29(1): LB248

[4] Katseres, N., Reading, D., Shayya, L., Dicesare, J., Purser, G. 2009. Non-enzymatic hydrolysis of creatine ethyl ester. Biochemical & Biophysical Research Communications 386(2): 363-7

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