Creatine is one of the most researched supplements on the market, but at the same time, it is also the most misunderstood. Is it legal? Does it make you bloated? Can you overdose on it? If you don’t use it, do you you lose it?
Here’s a breakdown of creatine: what it is, how it works, and everything else you need to know about it.
Creatine, also known as methylguanidoacetic acid; a naturally occurring compound found in the human body. It is found in your diet and it is completely safe. Your body naturally produces this magical compound and needs it to survive. It works by forming phosphocreatine, and allowing for the regeneration of ATP, the main energy source for muscles. The more creatine present in the body, the more phosphocreatine that be made… Meaning more energy... for your lifts!
It can be formed by using amino acids derived from food, but this only creates a small amount of available creatine to the muscle. You would need to eat about 2 pounds of beef or 3 pounds of chicken EVERY DAY just to maintain a solid level of creatine in your muscles. By taking a creatine supplement, your body can become saturated with creatine, which is much easier than stuffing your face with all that food. If you are familiar with the supplement, you notice that there are several forms of creatine on the market. These different forms all have different doses, and it gets kind of confusing. Just like many supplements, there is a very short term effect as well as a long term effect when supplementing with Creatine. In all actuality, Creatine takes about 1-4 weeks to reach its full power.
Keeping it simple and getting into the bro science of Creatine, it is an energy source for your muscles. The more creatine one has, the stronger they are and the faster they can recover (both during your lift and post workout). It also drives water and nutrients into those muscles as well. That’s where people misconstrue the “bloat.” If you drink plenty of water, your body will maintain healthy water levels and you will never be caught looking like a balloon.
Now I know what you’re thinking: I need to buy some creatine RIGHT NOW! And that’s true… But let’s go over the different forms of creatine on the market, and what they do.
Creatine Monohydrate: This is your bread-and-butter. Creatine Monohydrate is the most popular and most studied form of creatine. This molecule is bounded to a water molecule aka, the “hydrate.” Since the creatine molecule is bound to a water, it is easily dissolved in most liquids, and is very effective at being shuttled to your muscles. This usually is the least expensive option in the creatine world so most people find themselves trying it first. Some companies go a step further, and use micronized creatine, which further grinds the powder, allowing for your creatine to dissolve even faster in water. The recommended dose is about 5-10 grams per day.
Find it on CP: Universal Creatine
Creatine HCl: This is a creatine molecule bound to a hydrochloride molecule. Research has shown that its solubility in water is about 59 times that of Creatine Monohydrate. This high concentration not bounded to a water molecule allows your body to digest it more efficiently. They also claim that in their studies, less water is held by the muscles. So if you are terrified of the “bloat,” try Creatine HCL. The higher solubility allows for the dosage to be smaller than Creatine Monohydrate (about 1-2 grams per day).
Find it on CP: Muscletech Creactor
Creatine Nitrate: Creatine Nitrate combines the power of nitrate ions with the proven effectiveness of creatine. By supplying your body with nitrates, you will see enhanced vascularity (blood flow), which may provide more efficient uptake of creatine and other nutrients in your blood. The recommended dose is 3-5 grams per day.
Find it on CP: Cellucor CN3
Creatine Magnesium Chelate: This is a creatine molecule that pairs creatine and the essential metal magnesium. Creatine Magnesium Chelate does what many other supplements cannot: protection. This chelated form of creatine provides a higher pH to buffer creatine from acidification, preventing it from becoming its inert (non functioning) form, creatinine. This is everyones fear when taking creatine because if the molecule is not stable, it will turn into creatinine and then disposed of through your body. Basically pissing away your gains. On top of this, the presence of magnesium allows for your cells to keep a higher level of ATP, as well as increased turnover rate of ADP to ATP. This is the energy used for 1 rep max strength allowing you to get the most out of every lift. Its also important for energy regeneration. The recommended dose is about 3 grams per day.
Find it on CP: Purus Labs CreaGYN
Creatine Malate: Creatine Malate combines three Creatine Monohydrate molecules with an equivalent of malic acid. What is great about Creatine Malate is the teamwork seen between the creatine and malic acid: creatine helps regenerate ATP, while malic acid helps transport energy to muscles during exercise. When bonded together, your muscle will be able to last longer. This could be great for training programs with high rep counts.
Find it on CP: Musclepharm Creatine
Buffered Creatine: Also known as Kre-Alkalyn, Buffered Creatine Monohydrate, allows for better absorption of creatine in the body. They buffer the creatine so it matched the same Ph chemical balance in your stomach. This has been shown in their studies to allow your body to absorb it and use it better than other creatines. This can bypass possible complications for those whose stomachs are sensitive to creatine. The recommended dose is about 2 grams per day.
Find it on CP: All American Kre-Alkalyn EFX
CreaTrona: CreaTrona uses state-of-the-art double buffer technology (using sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate) to further enhance your strength by eliminating lactic acid from muscles. This all happens while also giving the creatine a more stable environment and allows the molecule to survive longer in the body. Another benefit from the sodium bicarbonate buffer is that it will help the digestive system breakdown creatine. The recommended dose is 3 grams per day.
Find it on CP: Beast Creature
Free-Acid Creatine (Creatine Anhydrous): Free-Acid Creatine is more rapidly absorbed by the body, and produces quick results (as soon as a few days). This is your most pure form of creatine so your body sees it as its most natural source. This form of creatine takes the longest to reach its full effect but is proven to get stronger when taken over a long period of time. It is also easily soluble in water, allowing for easy mixing. The recommended dose is about 1-2 grams.
Find it on CP: Muscletech Creactor
Creatine AAB: Also known as Creatine Alpha-Amino-N-Butyrate, Creatine AAB acts as an anti-catabolic agent (similar to HMB), increasing protein synthesis and protecting your muscles from damage. This is ideal for all weight training because your muscles are constantly being broken down. It is also good for athletes returning from injury. Similar to HMB, this will allow your muscles to survive after a long break from the iron jungle. When you think about an anti catabolic product that improves strength, Creatine AAB sounds like a very solid Creatine molecule. The recommended dose is about 1-2 grams.
Find it on CP: iSatori Creatine A5X
Creatine Alpha-Ketoglutarate: Creatine AKG is a unique molecule that helps load creatine into your muscles directly. Since the AKG molecule is used in energy transport, the Creatine AKG molecule can be delivered to your cells without the need for proteins and enzymes to bring it there, speeding up the process tremendously. The recommended dose is about 1-2 grams.
I know what you are probably thinking, I want all of these amazing Creatine molecules because each one of them sounds better than the next. That is actually the forward movement we are seeing in this industry, and it is called Creatine Blends. If you look on our site, we have blends from Musclepharm, Beast, and iSatori. These are products with multiple forms of creatine so that they give your body the best chance of uptake. Here is the best Creatine Blend offered at Campus Protein:
iSatori Creatine A5X
iSatori used 5 (hence the name) of the most proven forms of Creatine in this formula: Creatine Malate, Creatine Monohydrate, Creatine Magnesium Chelate, Creatine AAB, and Creatine Anhydrous. As you read above, each one of these forms have a unique aspect about themselves all to help improve your lifts as well as your muscle growth. iSatori did not stop there, they also included Agmatine and Betaine in this formula to increase strength. Also, iSatori included a "Potentin Catalyst Matrix," which allows your body to digest this blend easier and will eliminates water retention. This product comes in 50 servings and unflavored so you get the best value, and can add it to anything. Click here to access the Creatine A5X Page
To search our other creatine's found on Campus Protein, click here.