As some people are aware, you can now
find creatine on the market in three forms: phosphate, citrate, and monohydrate. My feeling is that the phosphate
variety is not easily absorbed by the body and for this reason will not yield effective and substantial results. The citrate
variety seemed to be catching on for a time, but again the research is sketchy here. In fact, nearly all the positive
clinical studies that have been done on creatine have utilized the monohydrate form, and this is the only form that I
You’ve probably heard that creatine is one of the few supplements that don’t suck…and you’ve heard right.
It’s the most well-researched molecule in all of sports nutrition–the subject of hundreds of scientific studies–and its benefits are clear:
It helps you build muscle faster.
It helps you get stronger faster.
It improves anaerobic endurance.
It improves muscle recovery.
What isn’t so clear, though, is which form you should take and why.
Is something fancy sounding like creatine nitrate worth it?
What about ethyl ester or hydrochloride?
Liquid or powder?
Buffered or micronized?
Or can the old faithful creatine monohydrate give you everything you need?
Well, this article is going to answer all these questions and more, and by the end, you’ll know how to get the most bang for your creatine buck.
What is Creatine?
what is the best type of creatine to take
Creatine is a molecule produced in the body and found in fairly high amounts in foods like meat, eggs, and fish.
It’s comprised of several amino acids–L-arginine, glycine, and L-methionine–and it’s present in almost all cells and acts as an “energy reserve.”
It does this by accelerating a process through which cellular energy (ATP) is generated, which increases the amount of work cells can do.
The vast majority of creatine is stored in the muscle cells, which is why supplementation with it is particularly effective for improving strength and power and anaerobic capacity.
How Does Creatine Help You Build Muscle?
what is the best kind of creatine to take
There are several ways that creatine helps you build muscle faster.
1. More strength and muscle endurance in your workouts means more effective workouts.
The harder you’re able to train, the more muscle you’ll gain over time.
2. Better muscle recovery means better workouts, too.
The faster your body is able to recover from a workout, the better it will perform in the next session.
This is obviously true of individual body parts but is applies systemically as well.
That is, if you do a heavy deadlift session on Monday and heavy squat session on Wednesday, the faster your body can recover from Monday’s workout, the better Wednesday’s will be.
3. Creatine has a “cellular swelling” effect.
Research shows that creatine supplementation increases the amount of water held in muscle cells.
This makes your muscles appear bigger, but more importantly, it positively affects nitrogen balance and the expression of certain genes related to hypertrophy.
4. Creatine has anti-catabolic properties.
Studies show that creatine can reduce protein degradation rates, which can help with muscle gain over time.
And the best part is there are really no downsides to supplementing with creatine.
Claims that it’s bad for your kidneys have been categorically and repeatedly disproven, the bloating complaints of the past are more or less a non-issue now, and it doesn’t “shut down natural production” a la steroids.
(That said, it’s worth noting that people with kidney disease are not advised to supplement with creatine.)
So, as you can see, I highly recommend that you supplement with creatine because it’s safe, cheap, and effective.
Which type do I recommend, though?