Creatine is probably the most famous ergogenic supplement used in sports and has tons of research supporting its effectiveness as well as safety. But whenever a supplement gets known, a lot of companies jump in and start offering fancier the same supplement in more fancy forms and with more attractive packaging. Creatine today comes in many forms. It started from the basic creatine monohydrate and is still the most exclusively used form. Then there are other forms like creatine ethyl ester, creatine magnesium chelate, creatine citrate, buffered creatine (Kre-Alkalyn), creatine hydrochloride, creatine pyruvate, creatine nitrate, etc.
Creatine monohydrate is the basic form used and is the gold standard in creatine use. As per Kamal Patel of examine.com, no form of creatine has proven to be more effective or potent than the good old creatine monohydrate.
The other forms and brands, provide the same or lesser effect than the good old creatine monohydrates. None have proven to have an edge over the basic creatine monohydrate form. The only difference is that the newer and fancier forms of creatine simply cost more, because of overhyped and false marketing. Creatine monohydrates, on the other hand, are one of the cheapest forms available. Being cheap doesn’t mean less effective and vice versa.
Creatine in micronized form is creatine that has been processed to reduce the particle size of the powder. Micronization may increase the solubility in water, but it doesn’t make it any more effective, neither is it better absorbed than the basic creatine monohydrate form.
- A 2009 study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, by a team of researchers led by M. Spillane, examined the effects of creatine ethyl ester, creatine monohydrate, and a placebo, during a seven-week weight training routine. It was seen that creatine ethyl ester was not more effective in improving body composition, muscle mass, strength, and power when compared to creatine monohydrates.
- A 2012 study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, by a team of researchers led by A.R. Jagim, tested 36 resistance-trained individuals and found that consuming buffered form of creatine has no advantage over-consuming the basic form of creatine monohydrate, in body composition, strength or anaerobic capacity.
- Some companies claim the liquid creatine to be better than powdered creatine. But this fact was proven false in the 2004 study in the Journal of Strength Conditioning Research, where 11 competitive male cyclists supplemented both forms of creatine and found that liquid creatine was actually less effective than the powdered creatine monohydrate form. In fact, certain studies have shown that creatine being in a liquid for a long time, starts to break down and gets less effective.
- Another 2004 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, by J. T. Selsby and team, found no difference in strength increase between athletes taking creatine magnesium chelate as compared to creatine monohydrate, during pressing.
- In a 2007 study in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition, by R. Jager and fellow researchers, gave six healthy subjects an equal dose of creatine monohydrate, creatine citrate, and creatine pyruvate, and found no difference in any of them over creatine monohydrate in terms of effect or absorption.
Kamal Patel suggests that creatine nitrate has no scientific evidence to support its superiority over monohydrates. Creatine hydrochloride, on the other hand, is negated by the stomach acid and turns into a basic creatine molecule.
So, don’t waste money and have the basic form of creatine monohydrate, irrespective of what your supplement dealer or the supplement company tells you.