Creatine is one of the most researched and well-supported supplements available, and a very strong argument can be made for creatine to be the single best ergogenic aid that an athlete can use. This is because creatine acts as an energy donor. In the complexity of human biology, energy pretty much equates to phosphates. Adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, has three phosphates attached — and that is why it’s our body’s primary energy source. Creatine’s role is to play Robin to ATP’s Batman. Creatine becomes creatine phosphate in the body after being ingested, and from there, it’s able to donate the phosphate and regenerate ATP in muscle tissue. In the real world, when combined with resistance exercise, this leads to rapid increases in strength, power, training volume, endurance and muscle mass.
There are many different forms of creatine available nowadays. Creatine monohydrate was the first type of creatine to be used as a sports supplement, and it’s the most research-tested and time-proven creatine. Thus, when you are looking for a creatine supplement, look for creatine monohydrate to be the most abundant type contained in the product.
Other types of creatine are viable sources, and some even have an added benefit! However, there are many that are a complete waste of money. For instance, research shows that creatine ethyl ester is not effective for increasing muscle creatine. With no added benefit of the ethyl ester, there is no reason to take creatine ethyl ester. Creatine serum is just creatine mixed in water – nothing really special about that…unless you just can’t even mix it yourself! Creatine will also break down slowly while mixed in liquid, which can be pronounced if it sits for weeks or months.
Kre-alkalyn creatine does produce a more alkaline environment. However, studies show that it's no different from creatine monohydrate for increasing protein synthesis, muscle creatine content, athletic performance or lean mass. The price of Kre-alkalyn is, however, usually a bit greater.
So let’s get on to the good stuff. Creatine MagnaPower is a registered brand of creatine bound to chelated magnesium. Chelation of magnesium increases its bioavailability and creatine MagnaPower lends this effect to the creatine as well, promoting greater absorption. In addition, magnesium is actually a pretty important mineral, although about 68% of Americans do not take in the recommended daily amount. Magnesium by itself can improve insulin sensitivity, increase endurance exercise performance and oxygen consumption, decrease cramping, improve sleep quality and decrease blood pressure amongst other health benefits.
Creatine hydrochloride (HCl) is much more soluble in water than creatine monohydrate. Do you recall how when you mix just plain creatine monohydrate with water and it just sits at the bottom just waiting to be all gritty in your mouth? Creatine hydrochloride prevents this. The great part is that solubility is increased without sacrificing creatine content, as once it is ingested it is roughly bioequivalent to creatine monohydrate.
Like several amino acids, creatine can also be bound to alpha-ketoglutaric acid (AKG). This provides you with benefits of creatine, plus AKG also comes bearing its own gifts. It is a key intermediate in the Krebs cycle, which is an energy system that our bodies begin to use as we transition away from using ATP and creatine phosphate for longer durations of exercise. AKG also plays a role in collagen synthesis, particularly as it pertains to the repair of tendons, ligaments and muscle fibers. Finally, AKG is an antioxidant, and nitrogen acceptor, which makes creatine AKG particularly interesting because it can increase performance while also combatting the harmful free radicals and excess nitrogen load that can be generated from intense exercise. The result is greater endurance from reduced acid load and oxidative stress in the muscle, which can cause significant fatigue.
Lastly, let’s discuss creatine alpha-amino butyrate (AAB). Alpha-amino butyrate is a novel ingredient that has already demonstrated impressive physical effects and is documented in scientific literature. Specifically, AAB increases red blood cells and hemoglobin, both of which are critical to increased performance. Hemoglobin carries oxygen, which is essential for generating new ATP via aerobic metabolism (the metabolic system used primarily for activities like long-distance running and recovering between sets). But that’s not all. Greater amounts of red blood cells also result in greater blood flow, thereby speeding recovery. Ultimately, alpha-amino butyrate expands on creatine’s effects to extend a high level of performance beyond creatine by itself.
To recap, when looking for a creatine supplement, make sure you’re getting a good amount of creatine monohydrate, as this is the tried and true creatine form that will not let you down. Other forms with added benefits you should investigate include creatine MagnaPower, creatine HCl, creatine AKG and creatine AAB. But instead of trying to stack them on your own, there is one revolutionary performance nutrition product that uses each of these forms of creatine – MHP’s CRE5. This unique supplement also contains the clinically supported dose of 5 grams of creatine per serving and, because of its fast absorption, it does not need to be loaded or cycled.
If you need creatine plus an energizing boost, CRE5 Energy is the same advanced creatine formula with added caffeine, theanine and citicholine. These ergogenic aids help increase energy, focus, fatigue resistance and fat burning.
For more information about CRE5 or CRE5 Energy, or to order, log onto VitaminShoppe.com.