Creatine supplements have been popular among athletes and gym-goers since the 1990s.
Along with a good quality whey protein, it is arguably one of the few supplements that could be considered essential if you’re serious about accelerating and maximising training results.
In this article we’re going to be looking into what is the best type of creatine and why you may want to consider using it if you haven’t already tried it.
With that said, it’s been confirmed in studies that some people just aren’t receptive to it. But for those who are, the results can be staggering if used properly.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Where Does Creatine Come From?
In a normal diet, the most common source of creatine is animal muscle tissue. To obtain 5 grams of creatine from beef, you’d need to eat a 1kg steak (approximately). That’s a big steak!
Thankfully, you don’t need to eat a cow a day to get a meaningful amount of creatine into your diet. In fact, you don’t need to eat any animal products at all – great news for vegetarians and vegans! This is because creatine is also available as a synthetically manufactured supplement.
It is manufactured by a reactive process from a synthesized version of the amino acid sarcosine and the organic compound cyanamide. This means that most creatine supplements for sale will state that they are suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
Is Creatine Safe?
Having been on the market for nearly three decades with millions having regularly used it, the data and the scientific research confirm that in most healthy people, supplementing with creatine is safe.
However, if you have any health issues or are concerned about potential side effects of taking creatine, make sure you consult your GP before starting to use it.
What Are the Benefits of Using Creatine?
There is a vast body of research into creatine available for you to trawl through if you are so inclined. If you’re not, you’ll want to know that the research overwhelmingly supports that creatine supplementation leads to improvements in exercise performance.
Not only that but it’s proven that it helps build muscle as I explore in this article about myostatin.
Building muscle and improving performance are the main reasons people choose to supplement with it, but there are even more benefits of using creatine:
- Boosts recovery from exercise
- Prevents injuries
- Enhances rehabilitation
- Improves working memory and intelligence!
The science also shows that those following a vegetarian / vegan diet have significantly lower levels of muscle creatine stores. As such all the above benefits should be even more dramatic in vegetarians / vegans than in those eating meat and fish.
What Different Types of Creatine Are There?
There are many different types of creatine. Here are a few that a quick web search found:
- Creatine Monohydrate Powder
- Micronised Creatine
- Buffered Creatine
- Creatine Magnesium Chelate
- Creatine Ethyl Ester
- Creatine Malate
- Creatine Citrate
And there are more besides these! Surely it’s going to be confusing choosing the right creatine? Well, no, that’s not the case.
What Is the Best Type of Creatine?
You’ll find different answers to this question depending on who you listen to. Supplement manufacturers will insist that their unique formula is the best type of creatine. Fitness forums have a cacophony of conflicting opinions. But the scientific research into creatine is consistently clear when to comes to answering this question.
Creatine Monohydrate powder, which also happens to be the cheapest form of creatine, is consistently proven to be as effective – if not more effective – than the alternative varieties.
This is great news if you’ve been thinking about trying creatine but didn’t know which type to go for. You don’t need to risk wasting too much money in the event that you find that creatine doesn’t suit you.
One Weird Trick For Creatine!
I have enjoyed amazing results with creatine monohydrate powder over the years. However, it used to bloat me up and give me awful stomach cramps.
If you find yourself in this position, try this trick which a training buddy of mine told me about in the late 90s. It incredibly effective.
When you prepare your creatine, mix the powder with blackcurrant cordial and hot water. This appears to help the creatine pass through the stomach without causing the bloating and cramping.
If you’re reading this in America, it looks like you may not be able to get hold of blackcurrant cordial, but try it with a different fruit cordial and let me know how you get on.
I’ve also found that buffered creatine tablets work very well and they don’t cause any stomach discomfort whatsoever. They are also more convenient than the powder as their is no mixing required. However, they are a lot more expensive than creatine monohydrate powder, so I’d recommend you try the powder first.