Currently, a large part of the world’s population exercises, whether for leisure or professionally. That’s why many products have emerged to improve training performance. In this article, we are going to talk about the properties, uses and types of creatine, one of the most popular supplements.
Creatine is a non-protein amino acid that we can find in our body. It is distributed in the muscles and, to a lesser extent, in the brain. In the diet, the main sources are red meat and seafood.
The main function of creatine is related to the formation of ATP (substance of energy metabolism), which greatly improves the performance of athletes. However, it is also used to treat some brain disorders and heart failure.
Types of creatine and their respective properties
As an excellent dietary supplement, several types of creatine have emerged over the years. They all vary slightly in chemical composition for best results. Among the various creatine compounds, we can find the following:
This is the purest creatine supplement and the one most used by athletes, as the others are derived from it. It is very effective and has demonstrated its ability to improve many aspects of physical training such as speed and peak power.
This compound generally contains no additives, so 88% of it is creatine and the remaining 12% is water. In this sense, it has the ability to hydrate cells, reduce the damage they suffer and increase intramuscular reserves.
As it is one of the newer types of creatine, there are few studies regarding it. However, when creatine is mixed with hydrochloric acid, it produces a stable molecule that is up to 38 times more soluble than creatine monohydrate. Therefore, it is more easily absorbed, has the same effects, and is less likely to cause kidney damage.
This dietary supplement mixes creatine with glucose molecules; therefore, its intestinal absorption is faster. In addition, it travels efficiently in the bloodstream and enters muscle more effectively than creatine monohydrate because glucose generates a momentary spike in insulin.
Creatine Phosphate or Phosphocreatine
Phosphocreatine or creatine phosphate is a chemical compound found in the body and provides great energy value. However, their reserve levels are low. Therefore, it is one of the most sought after types of creatine. It is composed of creatine and phosphate in a proportion of 62-38.
This compound has the same functions as creatine monohydrate, making it ideal for building lean tissue. Furthermore, as it is an extra source of energy, it helps to reduce fatigue during training.
Also known as alkaline creatine or buffered creatine, it is the result of a mixture of creatine monohydrate and alkalizing powders. The main idea of this mixture is to raise the pH of the compound to improve its absorption and prevent the formation of creatinine, reducing kidney damage.
For a long time, Kre-alkaline creatine was believed to have better results than monohydrate. However, a recent study has shown that there are no significant differences in performance.
In this compound, 2 or 3 molecules of creatine are mixed with malic acid, which makes it more soluble and easier to absorb. Furthermore, it is characterized by improving the athlete’s endurance, explosiveness and strength without affecting blood pressure or fat levels.
Creatine Ethyl Ester
Creatine ethyl ester is nothing more than creatine monohydrate esterified by an alcohol, methanol or ethanol. Said esterification facilitates the passage of the compound through muscle cell membranes, so that its absorption occurs at high speed and requires a smaller dose.
It is the result of a mixture of 40% creatine and citric acid, which makes it the most soluble compound of all. Furthermore, thanks to citric acid, it stimulates a great production of muscle energy. Because it is so soluble, it does not cause gastric discomfort, although its price is higher.
Uses and safety of consumption of types of creatine
High performance athletes use creatine to improve their speed, endurance and strength. In fact, it is recommended for use in sports such as rowing, high jump and football, where its effectiveness has been demonstrated on several occasions.
On the other hand, creatine supplements are used to improve the rare syndromes of creatine metabolism, when the body cannot generate it on its own. Despite the lack of sufficient scientific evidence, its oral consumption is being prescribed in cases of heart failure.
The consumption of several types of creatine is safe, as long as it is ingested in the short term and in maximum doses of 5 grams. However, it is important to consult a physician before starting to consume any dietary supplement.
Possible Benefits of Creatine
The different types of creatine have become allies of athletes. That’s because they all offer the same benefits during training, among which the following stand out:
- Provide energy to muscle fibers.
- They increase volume and facilitate muscle recovery.
- Prevent fatigue and tiredness ahead of time.
- Delay skin aging.
The big difference between creatine compounds is their solubility. Because they are more soluble, they are absorbed more quickly and the dose needed will be lower in some cases.
One of the first things to think about when talking about creatine consumption is possible kidney damage. You should be very careful with the supplement if you already have a kidney problem or if there is a high risk of suffering from one, especially due to excess protein.
On the other hand, the ingestion of creatine associated with nephrotoxic drugs should also be avoided, that is, those that are capable of affecting the functioning of the kidneys. If we use both substances at the same time, we run the risk of increasing the chances of damage to the body.
Another contraindication to the use of creatine is related to caffeine consumption. Avoid taking them together as they will lessen the effect of the amino acid on your muscles when they interact.
Main differences between creatine types
As you can see, the various types of creatine are very similar. They all have the same effects on muscles and there is not enough scientific evidence to say that one compound has a better effect than another.
The difference between these supplements is their solubility and the side effects they cause. Generally speaking, creatine monohydrate derivatives are more soluble and cause less gastric problems. However, you should always consult a specialist before starting consumption.