Types of Creatine: Which Type is Best?

February 19th, 2015
types of creatine

So you have read the articles, heard the benefits of creatine and now you have decided to make creatine a part of your training regime.  The problem is, when you get to the store or start checking the sites online, you realize that there are different kinds of creatine.  Not just different forms that it comes in but different types.  Which one, out of all the different types offered, is the best for you?  After reading a breakdown of the different types, the answer will be crystal clear.

The most important thing about creatine is that it must be pure.  Do not waste your time on flavors or enhancements.  They are counterproductive to what you are trying to accomplish.  Stick with the purest form you can find.  When it comes to a brand, there is no brand better than another.  Do not be fooled by claims of better formulas or faster digestion, etc.  If it is just pure creatine, then who makes it or what brand your trainer or anyone else claims is best, is irrelevant.

There are several different forms of creatine.  It is available in powder, liquid, capsules, blends and even gum.  Creatine in powder form is the most popular and easiest to digest.  The capsules are the second most popular.  Liquid creatine, though marketed as faster digesting, has a very small following.  The “blend” is several different types of creatine, vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates.  The gum is supposed to release a steady stream of creatine. There are a couple of red flags for the blend.  First, it is unnecessary to use different types of creatine as they all basically do the same thing.  Second, carbs equal sugar which equals calories which equals fat.  The vitamins and minerals can lead to stomach upset.  There is no right or wrong form, but the blend is unnecessary.

reatine types are diverse.  This is where it can get a bit hairy as far as deciding which is best for you.

Creatine Monohydrate: This is the granddaddy of all creatine.  When you are told of how extensively creatine has been studied, it is creatine monohydrate they are talking about.  It is the most popular, most studied, most inexpensive and purest.  Creatine Monohydrate is made up of creatine and water.  12% water and 88% pure creatine.  It a powerhouse and it works, which is why it is the most used type.

Creatine ethyl-ester:   This is the second most popular type of creatine out there.  How does it differ?  According to muscleandstrength.com, “Scientists attach an ester to creatine, allowing it to pass through cell membranes much easier.”  This is supposed to speed up the process.  There are not enough studies to back this up or deny it.  It is just unproven at this point.

Magnesium creatine. Creatine is chemically bonded to magnesium. Magnesium helps the digestion of creatine and helps turn creatine into ATP. The combination of Magnesium and creatine does work but only when bonded.  Taking creatine and then taking a magnesium supplement does not work.  No definitive info on long term results.

Creatine HMB. Creatine HMB is creatine and HMB (beta-hydroxy beta-methyl butyrate). HMB, alone helps to assist in growth and the recovery of muscle tissue. Creatine and HMB are separated when they reach the bloodstream.  This type of creatine is very new and there is little or no research to back whether or not it works.

Creatine malate.   Creatine is chemically bonded to malic acid. Malic acid works like citric acid .It assists with making aerobic energy in the muscles.   This is very new and there is no research to support this product yet.

Creatine tartrate. Creatine bonded to tartaric acid. This is used in pills, capsules, bars and chewable. It offers no benefits over creatine monohydrate.

Creatine phosphate. Creatine molecule bonded to a phosphate molecule. This bonding already happens naturally within your body.  The idea was to skip a step by bonding them already and get a better bit of energy.   Regardless of the thinking behind it, it was proven to be less effective than Creatine monohydrate.

There are a few other newbies on the market (effervescent, glutamine taurine, etc…) the list goes on in the quest to come up with a best type of Creatine.  Be wary of these gimmicks as most are either so ineffective or under researched that it now becomes a safety issue.

It’s easy to be swayed by marketing or claims that additional types of creatine or forms of creatine will give you an even better, faster or stronger boost than Creatine Monohydrate.  Do not buy into their claims.  Their research is non-existent and results even more so.  The fact of the matter is, your body will use creatine where it’s supposed to – in whatever form you ingest it.  Some more effectively and some very weakly, but your body will use what creatine it gets and will ultimately break it down into the energy you need.

What you need to ask yourself is how effective are the new alternatives or new blends of creatine?  Will they do what they claim?  Are they full of carbs or colorings or flavorings that are adding to my caloric intake?  Is the product pure?  Is the product safe and has it been tested?

As always, it is important to do your homework on the new supplements and their claims. Creatine Monohydrate is the most effective form of creatine.  Years of research and over 1300 different studies completed have made it the safest form of creatine.  This form of creatine is also the form that is being used in medical research – the safest most effective option being studied for treatment of neuromuscular diseases.  Creatine Monohydrate is the purest form of creatine.  It contains creatine and water – only.  It’s proven as an amazing and safe way to increase energy and build up muscle.  The answer is clear: Creatine Monohydrate is the best form of creatine.