Thursday, September 24, 2015
There are so many types of creatine on the market that it is not always easy to choose the right product. Creatine comes in many forms and from many competing brands. So what is the best form of creatine?
The Benefits of Taking Creatine
Almost every bodybuilder takes creatine at least occasionally. Creatine is an affordable supplement with many good qualities but without any of harmful side-effects of other supplements. Creatine helps the body to recover faster after a workout, it helps to build up muscle mass and it improves stamina and strength.
If you have been searching for the best form of creatine, here is a look at the different types for those who want to build up muscles, improve stamina or lose weight while getting fit.
Creatine monohydrate is one of the most popular types of creatine on the market. Many studies have shown that it improves performance and helps the body to recover quicker after a workout. Most bodybuilders who use it know it simply as "mono" or "creatine mono". This is the most affordable form of creatine you can find. It is widely available in stores and from online suppliers, and it comes in capsules and as powder.
In my experience the best results come from creatine mono in powder form, and that is why I prefer the powder over the capsules. Most suppliers recommend a loading phase of 5-7 days during which you take a total of 20-30g of creatine a day in 5-6 doses.
After the loading phase you should reduce the intake to 5 g a day for a period of 4-8 weeks. Taking creatine monohydrate with carbohydrates helps to make sure that your body absorbs it well.
Recently it has been suggested that a loading phase is not absolutely necessary and is only required if you want faster results. The only side effect from creatine mono is that it can cause temporary bloating, although the bloating is not painful and will pass when you stop taking the supplement.
Kre-Alkalyn: Buffered Creatine
Kre-Alkalyn is buffered creatine and has many benefits over the other types. You only need to take 1.5 g a day, and it comes in pills, as powder and as liquid. The body absorbs buffered creatine faster and can use it for longer, and Kre-Alkalyn does not require a loading phase. Unlike creatine monohydrate it does not cause bloating.
It is best to take Kre-Alkalyn in cycles of 12 weeks of taking the supplement and 4 weeks off the supplement. Although the typical daily dose is 1.5 g, heavyweight lifters sometimes take up to 3 g daily.
In studies Kre-Alkalyn has been shown to be just as effective as creatine monohydrate, but not necessarily more effective. Since it has not been proven more efficient, it is a more expensive choice compared to the cheaper monohydrate.
Creatine Ethyl Ester (CEE)
Some bodybuilders prefer CEE or esterified creatine. CEE is absorbed into the body faster than other types of creatine, and it does not cause water retention. There is no need for a loading phase with creatine ethyl ester. The easiest way to take it is to mix CEE powder into a liquid. The usual daily dose depends on your body weight but is between 3-6 g a day.
CEE is as effective as creatine monohydrate. Its main downside is that it is much more expensive to take CEE to get the same results you would get with creatine monohydrate. It also becomes an unstable compound when ingested into the body.
Creatine Hydrochloride (HCL)
Creatine HCL is creatine bonded with hydrochloric acid. It is said to absorb into the body quicker than other types of creatine, and unlike the cheaper forms it does not cause water retention. It does not require a loading phase and you do not need to take it in cycles; the daily dose is just 1.5 g and you can mix the product with any type of liquid (although it absorbs better if you mix it with a liquid based on carbohydrates).
HCL has many benefits compared to other types of creatine, but studies have not yet shown that it is necessarily more effective than the cheaper alternatives. Many bodybuilders like HCL and it works well for the majority, but some consider it too expensive unless further studies will show that it is more effective than the much cheaper monohydrate.
So what is the best form of creatine for you? All types of creatine have their own benefits, but for me creatine monohydrate provides the best value for money. Its only downside is the occasional bloating, but in most other ways it is just as effective as other forms yet it is a lot cheaper way to start to build up your muscle mass and to boost stamina.