creatine is definitely one of the most popular and if not the most popular nutritional supplements ever. However, you are spoiled for choice, because unlike in the past, when there was basically only creatine monohydrate, today there are numerous variants with and without transport matrix in the dealer shelves. Since these variants once again differ less strongly from each other, of course, also raises the question of which dosage form is the best for you. Accordingly, for the purposes of this article, let's take a look at the benefits of micronized, esterified and buffered creatine.
Advantage: A cheap and proven product for decades Creatine Monohydrate is the most widely used creatine variant. In addition, most studies on the effects of creatine are based on the use of monohydrate. Thus, all positive effects, such as the increase in muscle strength, muscle thickness and maximal strength, which have been promoted to date, can be directly linked to the use of monohydrate. Add to this the comparatively simple production of these products, so that even high-quality products are comparatively cheap for you as a final consumer. These advantages are contrary to the statement of manufacturers of newer creatine variants, which refer to the fact that the body can absorb them a little better.
Buffered Creatine: Kre-Alkalyn
Advantage: No charging phase is needed Kre-Alkalyn is a special form of creatine that has been mixed with an alkaline powder such as bicarbonate to buffer it. According to the Kre-Alkalyn manufacturers, this buffering means that significantly less creatine breaks down in the stomach into the wasteful product creatinine, which is useless for the increase in performance. Since, in the end, larger quantities of creatine arrive in the muscles, you also have to take significantly smaller amounts. However, the capsules in which the Kre-Alkalyn is usually sold, significantly more expensive than simple monohydrate. To determine whether creatine buffering results in a measurable difference compared to simple monohydrate, a study was conducted at Texas A & M University in 2012. This study compared the performance of two groups of subjects over 28 days. One group took 5 grams of creatine monohydrate a day, the other group an equivalent amount of Kre-Alkalyn. The result was amazing, as both groups did not differ much in terms of strength and lean body mass gain. Interestingly, however, the group that consumed large amounts of monohydrate was able to increase the amount of creatine stored in the muscles by 50.4 percent, while the creatine content in the Kre-Alkalyn group only increased by 27.3 percent. Side effect of the higher creatine content in the muscles was also a significant increase in weight, since every gram of creatine binds to water itself. However, at the level of performance, the duel between Monohydrate and Kre-Alkalyn is a clear draw.
Creatine hydrochloride (HCL)
Advantage: Significantly lower water retention, less bloating The great advantage of this creatine variant, especially when compared to the monohydrate, is that a significantly lower dose per day is necessary to achieve the same positive effects. In practice, the HCL dose per day is 1-2 grams, whereas in return you would need about 5 grams of monohydrate. The reason for this is the fact that it is a micronized form of creatine that enters the muscles much more efficiently without binding large amounts of water. This has the advantage that your muscles fill less with water, so they look much more defined despite the creatine intake. In addition, the discharge of the digestive tract, especially as larger amounts of monohydrate can easily lead to bloating. However, studies show that there is no significant difference between conventional monohydrate and creatine hydrochloride in terms of performance improvement. However, if you want to be as defined as possible, you can definitely give this creatine variant a chance.
Advantage: You Need Low Levels Creatine Nitrate is one of the newer forms of creatine on the market and is most commonly used in pre-workout supplements. According to the manufacturers, the advantage lies in the fact that the creatine molecules are bound to nitrate molecules, which should lead to the fact that the creatine is better absorbed into the muscles and you have to take significantly lower doses with you. This statement was confirmed by a study from 2016, which examined the effects of creatine nitrate and creatine monohydrate. However, what again could be confirmed is the fact that at an equivalent dose no differences in performance improvement could be detected.
And the winner is…
Although new exotic forms of creatine appear on the market over and over again, it is always the good old creatine monohydrate, that has the nose in front. This is not necessarily due to the effectiveness, because in this respect, the products mentioned are usually the same. The big factor is the price, because while effective creatine monohydrate is very cheap, you have to reach for the "exotic" sometimes very deep into the bag. On the other hand, if you're not just trying to get the best value for money, but have digestive problems with normal monohydrate, for example, or if you want to be extremely defined during creatine ingestion, you can also try the other dosage forms.