Creatine has been extensively researched, and its benefit for increasing strength, gaining muscle and for high intensity training is unequivocal. In fact, The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (Buford et al, 2007) said, in its position paper on Creatine, that “creatine monohydrate is the most effective ergogenic nutritional supplement currently available to athletes in terms of increasing lean body mass during training.”
We published a blog ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Creatine’ in which we introduced the basic mechanics of Creatine, but we decided to keep the post quite succinct, focusing mainly on the most popular form of Creatine, Creatine Monohydrate.
Different Types of Creatine
To continue exploring Creatine in more depth, here we analyse a few different variants of the popular supplement and review when/why you may take them.
Creatine Monohydrate is simply Creatine in its normal form. Many Creatine Monohydrate products have been shown to contain up to 5% impurities, where BULK POWDERS™ Creatine Monohydrate is 99.9% pure.
Creatine Monohydrate (Creapure®)
Creatine Monohydrate (Creapure®) is a patent protected form of Creatine Monohydrate which undergoes a process of HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) – guaranteeing 99.95% pure Creatine. This process is undertaken to remove contaminants such as Creatinine, Dicyandiamide & Dihydrotriazine.
Creatine Ethyl Ester
Often referred to as CEE, Creatine Ethyl Ester is simply Creatine with an Ester attached. This esterification occurs when Carboxylic Acid and alcohol react; the result is less water retention when compared to regular Creatine.
Creatine Ethyl Ester Malate
Creatine Ethyl Ester Malate is an advanced form of the popular Creatine Ethyl Ester. The addition of Malate, which is a salt, results in superior absorption and quicker utilisation when compared to Creatine Ethyl Ester. Creatine Ethyl Ester Malate is simply Creatine with an Ester attached (making CEE), combined with an organic salt, Malate.
Creatine Gluconate is Creatine bonded with Glucose (sugar), designed to enhance the uptake of Creatine to the muscles. Creatine Gluconate binds the Creatine to a Glucose molecule to enhance intestinal absorption.
Creatine HCL is Creatine bonded with a hydrochloride salt, designed to enhance the absorption of Creatine. Due to its impressive absorption, no loading phase is required.
Tri Creatine Malate
Tri Creatine Malate is simply Creatine Monohydrate bound to Malic Acid. The addition of Malic Acid improves water solubility when compared to regular Creatine Monohydrate.
Tri Creatine Orotate
Tri Creatine Orotate consists of two Creatine Monohydrate molecules bound to one Orotic Acid molecule. Tri Creatine Orotate is often referred to as the ‘next generation’ Creatine, as it is an evolved version of Creatine Monohydrate.
Which Creatine is Right for me?
Without doubt, the most popular form of Creatine is Creatine Monohydrate. If you’re thinking about using Creatine for the first time, Creatine monohydrate is recommended. This form of Creatine is the most widely researched and used.
Looking for absolute purity?
If you want the absolute purest Creatine Monohydrate and budget is no issue, Creatine Monohydrate (Creapure®) is a great choice. This delivers all the benefits of Monohydrate but with the assurance that the supplement is 99.9% pure – free of impurities such as Creatinine, Dicyandiamide & Dihydrotrizine.
Conscious of water retention?
If you’re conscious about water retention (NB: the retention of water in muscle cells actually plays an important role in performance) then consider Creatine Ethyl Ester or Creatine Ethyl Ester Malate – both forms are metabolised differently to regular Creatine Monohydrate, reducing the level of retained water.
Wary of high levels of carbohydrates?
If you need to be careful of the level of carbohydrates you consume, Creatine Gluconate or Creatine HCL might be good alternatives to standard forms of Creatine. Due to how these forms are bonded, their respective absorption rates are perceived to be enhanced – meaning that, in theory, less carbohydrate is required in order to aid the process of delivering the nutrients to the liver and muscle cells. That being said, there is limited research to support how effective these are vs. a carb ingested variant.