Creatine is a compound that our liver naturally creates every day, but it can also be taken as a supplement for an additional boost. Creatine is made of 3 individual amino acids; Arginine, Glycine and Methionine which our liver combine to make creatine.
Our body’s natural creatine is almost all stored in our muscles and it is one of the main components of energy for our skeletal muscles (the muscles that help you move and lift). Creatine provides energy by creating a compound called ATP; ATP is what the body uses for quick burst of energy because ATP can be broken down into energy significantly faster then carbs or fat.
So when your body uses ATP it is broken down into ADP and it is this reaction that lets our muscles contract. Sadly our muscles only tends to have enough ATP to last at the most 15 seconds, so after the 15 seconds it takes our body longer to create the energy. Creatine supplements help by letting your muscles have more creatine available to store which means more ATP’s and ultimately more quick burst energy!
Another thing that is much more visible that creatine does is that it pulls water into your muscle cells. This water absorption significantly increases the size of your muscles appearance but not necessarily increasing the muscles strength. Creatine also has been shown to prevent muscle cramps because it neutralizes lactic acid build-up.
Different Types Of Creatine
There seems to be an ever growing list of different types of creatine on the market over the last few years and they all claim to be the best, so what one is king of creatine? Here I will go through a few of the more common forms of creatine:
Creatine Monohydrate was the first creatine supplement on the market and is generally the cheapest from of creatine to my knowledge. Now if we break down the word monohydrate we get a little glimpse of what this form of creatine offers. Mono is latten for singular and hydrate means having or holding water, so creatine monohydrate is basically creatine bound with water.
Creatine monohydrate is made up of 88% creatine and 12% water. Now I have no complaints at all with my experiences with creatine monohydrate because I have really seen results with this form of creatine. The down side is that there is more water retention with this form then other forms which means there is weight gain associated with this creatine.
Creatine Anhydrous is almost the same as creatine monohydrate but this form is not bound with water (an- prefix means without). So this is a more “pure” form of creatine but there have been a lack of studies with this form of creatine and it has only been around for a little while. I have yet to try a product with just creatine anhydrous because it is more expensive and I don’t see how this form differs that much from monohydrate.
Creatine Phosphate came onto the market shortly after monohydrate did. What creatine phosphates do is that they turn the useless ADP (the compound that is left over once ATP is used) into ATP again by giving the ADP phosphates to bind to. Now the science behind creatine phosphate is good but it is still no match to monohydrate.
Creatine Citrate is a product of binding creatine molecules with citric acid molecules. Citric acid is another form of natural energy so why not add two energy sources together to create a supreme form of energy. The only problem with that theory is that it really has yet to be proven in the lab or in blind studies so there in nothing to back up the products claims.
One thing that is good about this form is that is more water soluble then other creatine so it mixes up better in water. This is a lot more expensive then monohydrate and it is actually rare to see a product with just creatine citrate in it but many products have creatine citrate mixed in their creatine blend.
What Type Will Be King Of Creatine?
The answer to this is all of the above. Each different form of creatine has its strong points and its weak points and this is why most creatine products have a creatine blend in them not just one form of creatine. The product that I have had great results with is Musceltech’s naNO Vapor. This has all of the above creatine forms plus a few other types that I did not talk about and it even has the 3 amino acids that lets the body produce its own creatine. So this blend allows for maximum growth as well as acting as a pre-workout drink giving you that boost of energy before you even touch a dumbbell.
Possible Side Effects Of Creatine
With any type or blend of creatine there is a possibility of negative side effects. Many people complain of having an upset stomach, heart burn and bloating. Now I have never personally really had any of these symptoms with any creatine product I’ve used but my workout partner has had a problem with an upset stomach but it was never enough to stop him from working out or to make him stop taking creatine.
Just remember that every different type of creatine has its plus and its minuses but finding a blend between all the different forms is best. Creatine monohydrate was the first and is still one of the best forms of creatine to take and all creatine to date is just a little tweak off of the original creatine, creatine monohydrate.