What is the Best Form of Creatine?
Finding the best creatine can be tough with so many different forms and options. Discover the best form of creatine to help you reach your goals.
Walking into a supplement store and trying to pick out the best form of creatine can be quite a puzzling task to say the least. Once inside, we see supplement brands all pushing their own creatine products claiming they’re the best, while our buddies at the gym are telling us another thing. Today we will settle it once and for all, and find out which is truly the best creatine supplement to take.
What are the benefits of taking creatine?
Creatine is one of the few staple supplements that almost every bodybuilder who wants to gain muscle or lose fat has in their stack. Creatine is a relatively cheap supplement in relation to the benefits it gives you, as well as being easy to take with no harmful side effects.
Numerous studies have shown that creatine can aid the body in recovery after a tough workout, while other tests showed that subjects who took creatine recovered quicker than people given placebos. Trials even reveal that using creatine for muscle building is advantageous, as creatine helps to increase muscular endurance and strength.
So we know there are many benefits to taking creatine, but which is the best form of creatine? Which is the best creatine for muscle building? Which is the best form of creatine for weight loss? Don’t worry were about to find out, come and grab my biceps as I go deep and discuss the pros and cons of the 4 main types of creatine on the market.
Known by most gym goers as creatine mono or mono, creatine monohydrate is the cheapest form of creatine on the market. You can buy it in powder and capsule form, from almost every online supplement store. For me personally, the best form of creatine monohydrate comes in powder form, as I’ve had much better results using powder than capsules. Being one of the oldest forms of creatine out in the market, there are hundreds of studies proving creatine monohydrate aids athlete performance and recovery.
How to take Creatine Monohydrate: Creatine mono has a 5-7 day “loading phase”, where it’s suggested you take between 20-30g per day, spread out in 5-6 doses throughout the day. This is followed by a 4-8 week cycle of taking 5 grams per day, creatine monohydrate is best taken with carbohydrates to ensure maximum absorption.
The new school of thought believes that it’s not necessary to do a loading phase, unless you want to see your results quicker.
Creatine monohydrate is an awesome creatine for muscle building, to lose weight, or just to get fit. Some people do mention getting a creatine stomach bloat due to the extra water the muscles carry because of it. This is purely aesthetic and doesn’t cause you any pain, once you stop talking it the bloat disappears.
Pros of taking Creatine Monohydrate:
- Easy to take and effective
- Proven to work
Cons of taking Creatine Monohydrate:
- May get temporary stomach bloat
Creatine Ethyl Ester (CEE)
CEE is a creatine that has been esterified, in laymen terms this means it can be absorbed by the body faster, compared to other creatine products such as monohydrate. CEE is also known for not causing any sort of water retention in the body. Many supplement manufactures label their own CEE as the best creatine supplement on the market, however studies may tell us otherwise.
Research carried out by the students at the Tulsa University revealed that once CEE becomes absorbed in our system, it’s a very unstable compound and the body has to break it down into creatine and ethanol within a few minutes of ingesting. This then renders CEE just as effective as creatine monohydrate, except you’re paying twice as much for it. The small amounts of ethanol is nothing to be concerned about, it won’t get you drunk, unless you take about 50kg of CEE in one go!
How to take Creatine Ethyl Ester: The typical dosage of CEE is anywhere from 3-6g per day depending on your body weight. There’s no need to do a loading phase with CEE as opposed to creatine monohydrate. Powered form can be mixed in any liquid drink.
The jury is still out on CEE, even though the supplement companies claim their CEE is the best form of creatine and works wonders, I’m not convinced. I have tried it before and it didn’t have too much of an effect to on me.
Pros of taking Creatine Ethyl Ester:
- No loading phase
Cons of taking Creatine Ethyl Ester:
- Expensive compared to creatine monohydrate
- Not proven to be more effective than regular creatine monohydrate
- Studies show that it’s an unstable compound
Kre-Alkalyn is the only patented form of creatine on the market, it has a higher PH level than creatine monohydrate and is buffered, which means it can be absorbed by the body faster and used for a longer period of time. As a result, companies that sell Kre-Alkalyn swear that it’s the best creatine supplement today, but don’t believe everything you’re told.
A study undertaken by JISSN put Kre-Alkalyn up against creatine monohydrate to find out which was the best form of creatine for athletes. Results showed that a buffered creatine such as Kre-Alkalyn had no greater effects than regular creatine monohydrate.
How to take Kre-Alkalyn: Kre-Alkalyn has no loading phase and it’s recommended to cycle this supplement, 12 weeks on and 4 week off. The daily dose should be around 1.5g per day, but for lifters who are over 200lbs should eventually increase their intake to around 3g per day. Kre-Alkalyn is available in powder, capsule, and liquid form.
Pros of taking Kre-Alkalyn:
- You only need to take 1.5g per day
- Available in powder, pill, and liquid form
- No bloat
Cons of taking Kre-Alkalyn:
- Expensive compared to creatine monohydrate
- Not proven to be better than the cheaper creatine monohydrate
Creatine Hydrochloride (HCL)
Creatine HCL is another form of creatine that sings off the same hymn sheet as the other creatine forms. HCL has been proven to dissolve better than creatine monohydrate in water, and doesn’t cause water retention in the body. Creatine HCL is just a regular creatine that is bonded with hydrochloric acid, which is said to improve absorption of HCL.
With so many positives you may think creatine HCL could be the best creatine supplement on the market right? Sadly not, there haven’t been enough studies conducted that prove creatine HCL is any better than creatine monohydrate.
How to take Creatine HCL: No loading phase is required, and there’s no need to cycle. Just mix 1.5g per day with any drink, ideally a carbohydrate based liquid to ensure better absorption.
I’ve used Creatine HCL for muscle building in the past, and it worked pretty well, but better than creatine monohydrate? Hmm it’s really hard to say, it cost me a hell of a lot more money per serving, and even though there’s no proven studies to tell us it’s better than creatine monohydrate, it did work well for me.
Creatine Monohydrate is the Best Form of Creatine
So the results are pretty conclusive, with numerous studies showing that creatine monohydrate is just as good as the more expensive brands of creatine supplements, if not better while costing a fraction of the price. Sure creatine monohydrate has some drawbacks such as giving you creatine bloat, but that’s not harmful to the body and only temporary.
I personally love creatine monohydrate, for me it’s the best form of creatine for muscle building, losing weight, or just for getting in shape. Remember that everyone is different and we all react differently to each specific supplement. Some people swear that creatine HLC is the best creatine supplement on the market, while others say CEE is the best form of creatine.
My advice is to start with creatine monohydrate as it’s the most proven form of creatine on the market and the cheapest. If that doesn’t work for you, pick another one from the list and trial it, who knows maybe you’ll respond better to creatine CEE or Kre-Alkalyn, there’s only one way to find out…
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