There are so many creatine supplements available - which one do you choose? How do different creatine products differ? Let's take a look at some various powders and discuss the best creatine supplement for your muscle building goals.
A quick background on creatine...
Okay, so you've decided to take creatine. What exactly does it do? In this brief article, we are not going to discuss the specific chemical pathways that take place, but rather take a very general view. (I have written about creatine in detail previously, so you may wish to search this up). So, here goes:
Creatine does not directly facilitate muscle growth. However, it does saturate muscle cells and thus increases your muscle's ability to lift more weight. More weight lifted can induce greater trauma leading to further hypertrophy (or muscle growth).
As I said, a very general overview!
So many types of creatine - what is the best form?
With creatine monohydrate, creatine malate, creatine ethyl ester, kre-alkalyn creatine and other creatine's now available on the market, it's no wonder that the world of creatine supplementation is a confusing one!
You may be very happy to know that creatine monohydrate is the most comprehensively researched creatine product available on the market. Other forms have minimal (and sometimes no) objective scientific backing to confirm that your investment will pay off.
You may have heard of kre-alkalyn, which gained a lot of popularity a couple of years ago. In mid 2007, the ISSN conference in the United States concluded:
Kre-alkalyn supplementation has no beneficial effect on creatine-to-creatinine conversion rates.
This compared Kre-alkalyn to standard creatine monohydrate. The additional investment was a complete waste, according to these findings.
Consequently, we do not sell kre-alkalyn supplements in our store.
Considering that creatine monohydrate has been so well researched and practically proven to be effective for the majority of the population, this would be a great investment. Other forms of creatine may have been shown to be effective, but not to the same extent.
Creatine - mixed or pure powder?
So the question becomes whether to invest in a pure creatine monohydrate powder, or spend the additional money on a pre-mixed product.
- It is highly cost effective
- It has solid scientific evidence backing up it's effectiveness
- It's a great product
However, if you do intend on supplementing with creatine monohydrate from a pure powder, you should consider consuming it with a high glycemic index carbohydrate, such as dextrose or glucose. This causes an insulin spike that enhances creatine uptake.
A pre-mixed creatine supplement is also a very popular choice because:
- Most taste great
- Many contain high GI carbs and other ingredients to enhance uptake
- They are more convenient than standard creatine monohydrate powder
Other creatine notes
Creatine won't always work for everyone, so it may be worthwhile giving this supplement a go and seeing how it works for you.
Initially, you may experience some minor stomach discomfort, which is quite common.
You may experience weight gain after supplementing with creatine after a few days. This is normal and is due to a greater amount of water being retained within muscle cells. Be sure to drink plenty of water when supplementing with creatine!