Creatine

What is Creatine

Creatine is a molecule naturally produced mainly in the liver from the amino acids arginine, glycine and methionine. It can also be obtained from food, more specifically meat and fish; however, large amounts of these would be necessary to obtain the ergogenic benefits of creatine. Therefore, creatine supplements are a more convenient and inexpensive way of increasing the availability of dietary creatine without intaking excessive fat.

About 95% of the body’s creatine is stored in the skeletal muscle, mainly in the form of phosphocreatine, which plays an important part in the energy production process.

Types of Creatine supplements

There are many different forms of creatine supplements available on the market, including:

  • Creatine monohydrate: creatine monohydrate is the standard form of creatine, and the one used by most studies on creatine, with proven effects at an affordable price. A popular patented form of creatine monohydrate is Creapure®
  • Micronised creatine: micronised creatine is the result of a mechanical process that reduces the size of creatine monohydrate particles to increase their water solubility
  • Creatine HCl: creatine hydrochloride is made by binding a hydrochloride group to a molecule of creatine monohydrate to enhance its stability and increase solubility
  • Buffered creatine: buffered creatine is the result of a buffering process that increases the pH of creatine to achieve improved stability and maximum absorption. A popular patented form of buffered creatine is Kre-Alkalyn®

There are other forms of creatine in supplemental form; the difference between them is essentially the compound to which creatine is attached: creatine citrate, creatine pyruvate, or creatine phosphate.

Positive actions of Creatine reported by scientific studies:

  • Used as an ergogenic aid for improving health and exercise performance in athletes
  • Amplifies the effects of resistance training on muscle strength and hypertrophy
  • Increases physical performance in successive bursts of short-term, high-intensity exercise, improving its quality and benefits
  • When taken daily, it enhances the effect of resistance training on muscle strength in adults 55 and over

References

Cooper, R. et al. Creatine supplementation with specific view to exercise/sports performance: an update. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2012;9(1):33. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-9-33

EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA); Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to creatine and increase in physical performance during short-term, high intensity, repeated exercise bouts (ID 739, 1520, 1521, 1522, 1523, 1525, 1526, 1531, 1532, 1533, 1534, 1922, 1923, 1924), increase in endurance capacity (ID 1527, 1535), and increase in endurance performance (ID 1521, 1963) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. EFSA Journal 2011;9(7):2303. [24 pp.]. doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2011.2303.

EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA); Scientific opinion on creatine in combination with resistance training and improvement in muscle strength: evaluation of a health claim pursuant to Article 13(5) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. EFSA Journal 2016;14(2):4400, 17 pp. doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2016.4400

L. E. Heaton et al. Selected In-Season Nutritional Strategies to Enhance Recovery for Team Sport Athletes: A Practical Overview. Sports Medicine. 2017;47(11):2201-2218. doi:10.1007/s40279-017-0759-2

R.B. Kreider et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2017;14(1). doi:10.1186/s12970-017-0173-z

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