Types Of Creatine
The most common form of creatine is creatine monohydrate, but because people can be “non-responders,” supplement companies have started generating different forms of creatine to reach a greater number of individuals. Here’s what we know about the different forms, how they work, and who can benefit form them.
Creatine Ethyl Ester
This form of creatine was produced to help increase bioavailability; however, it is somewhat controversial. It’s a very popular substitute for monohydrate, yet it has not been shown to be better than monohydrate. My advice: Stick to the monohydrate or try the magnesium chelate, as this form has not been shown to be superior.
Creatine mixtures, also known as PEG creatine, have been created to try and increase water solubility of creatine, as well as half-life and resistance to degradation due to pH. This would mean that smaller doses can be used and there is a smaller likelihood of GI distress. And for the most part, this has been supported. In fact, the studies used smaller doses (one to 2.5 grams) of the creatine mixture compared to a five-gram dose of monohydrate. It appears that the PEG creatine is effective but may not outperform monohydrate at smaller doses than what was used.
The main form of this is Creatinol-O-Phosphate (COP) and is not actually creatine. It is structurally similar to creatine and thought to act as a precursor. Unfortunately, to my knowledge, only one study has investigated its use as an ergogenic aid. And while it did improve handgrip strength, COP was delivered via injection or infusion. Therefore, more research is needed to determine the effects of oral supplementation of COP on performance.
Do not consume creatine with a caffeinated beverage. Caffeine can negate the benefits of creatine, leaving you confused as to why your performance and lean mass has not improved. Save the creatine for after your workout.
Creatine: Cure What Ails You
Creatine supplementation is not just for athletic performance. Research has shown that creatine, when dosed appropriately, improves hydration and heat tolerance during exercise. When creatine is absorbed into the body, it requires more water to be absorbed as well in order to achieve balance. This leads to increased total body water and a lower core temperature during exercise. Another frontier that is expanding with creatine supplementation is its effect on cognition, which is vital to athletic performance. Research has shown that creatine increased IQ scores and memory in treatment groups. This research provides a valuable platform for determining if creatine supplementation is a viable treatment for those recovering from traumatic brain injuries. IM