Which Creatine Type is Best?

Is creatine type X better than ordinary creatine monohydrate powder? If I only had a dime for every time I was asked this question, I would then fund my own studies to resolve this issue…

The problem is that many of the alternative forms of creatine have never been tested in independent, peer-reviewed, scientific studies. In lieu of these, however, we are left with the claims of the manufacturers, which may, or may not, be substantiated. With a clear conscious I cannot simply repeat the words of a given creatine producer (no matter how compelling) and divorce myself of responsibility. This is my dilemma.

One thing I can say for sure, however, is that good “old fashioned” creatine monohydrate contains more creatine per gram of powder than all these other formulations. You therefore need to take less creatine monohydrate powder and drink less of its mixture, as smaller amounts will dissolve in smaller volumes of liquid. A better dissolved creatine solution will also translate into more creatine ultimately getting into your muscles and conversely, less of it running straight through your system and then being discarded (unused) in your stools. Because of this potential drawback, the marketing strategy of many newer forms of creatine is to proclaim greater solubility and bioavailability.

At room temperature (20 degrees Celcius, more or less) five grams of creatine monohydrate dissolves in about 350 mls (12 ounces) of water. This value, however, can be increased with heat; warmer temperatures increases creatine monohydrate’s solubility. That is, a given quantity of creatine monohydrate will fully dissolve in a smaller volume of water, if warmed:

Temperature-Dependence of Solubility of Creatine Monohydrate
5 gms creatine monohydrate dissolves in 833 ml (28 ounces) at 4°C
5 gms creatine monohydrate dissolves in 357 ml (12 ounces) at 20°C
5 gms creatine monohydrate dissolves in 147 ml (5 ounces) at 50°C
5 gms creatine monohydrate dissolves in 111 ml (3 3/4 ounces) at 60°C

It is ok to warm your creatine monohydrate solution a bit as long as you drink it soon afterwards, as to avoid any degradation of creatine into creatinine.

This last point is explained in more detail in this post: “What is creatinine and why should I care?”:

In subsequent posts I will discuss other methods to increase creatine’s solubility and bioavailability as well as help interpret scientific studies examining the efficacy of alternative creatine forms. Stay tuned…

Until then, check out these other valuable pages analyzing other creatine forms.

Increasing Creatine’s Bioavailability: An Interview of Dr. Ralf Jäger

Creatine: Powder or Serum?:

Is serum a hoax?:

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Simple Truths About Muscle Growth (part 5)

Last post, I wrote about the virtues of a form of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), commonly referred to as MGF, short for MechanoGrowth Factor. MGF, could very well also be coined EGF, for Exercise Growth Factor, as the mechanical stimulus that activates its expression and is inherent in its name (MGF) is simply EXERCISE. I ended the post with the speculation that the expression of MGF might be augmented in response to creatine supplementation. Although, yet unproven in scientific studies, the possibility has profound clinical possibilities. This would mean that creatine supplementation per se might produce some of the benefits of exercise – but without exercise. Creatine supplementation would then have great promise for use in the elderly and the injured. This is just speculation at the moment, but nonetheless very provocative…

This page describes how creatine use might be used to promote rehabilitation of a muscle injury: Creatine, Injury and Rehabilitation

Have you ever really thought about why it is so adamantly preached that exercise must be followed by sufficient rest for maximal muscle growth? Training a muscle group too frequently and/or resting insufficiently are the roots of an insidious condition known as Overtraining Syndrome (OTS). Overtraining is an easy trap for any overzealous athlete to fall into and can be truly frustrating as gains in strength and muscle mass become harder to achieve despite (and because of) increasing one’s training efforts… Most of us have been warned of the dangers of overtraining and in practical terms, it makes sense to us. But, what is really going on at the molecular level, inside the muscle cell, to make it so sensitive to training density and what is within our reach to placate the drawbacks of overtraining and hence, maximize muscle regeneration? This week we’ll look into the genetic and molecular basis of one extremely important aspect of overtraining that can rob you of gains, if proactive measures are NOT taken to effectively counteract it.

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Simple Truths About Muscle Growth (part 4)

Last post, I explained how certain studies have suggested that creatine supplementation stimulates muscle cells to express the Insulin-like Growth Factors Type 1, IGF-1s. This is potentially a very important effect, clinically as well as athletically, as these essential anabolic factors are responsible for the development of muscle, bones, heart, and blood vessels. In reality, the growth of most of our body mass is under the control of the IGF-1s. These findings give creatine supplementation an entirely new dimension.

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Simple Truths About Muscle Growth (part 3)

Exercise stimulates muscle development and enhances athletic performance; hardly anyone would argue with this assertion. In essence, muscle tries to adapt to the extra load you are placing on it by training by increasing its capacity to perform at that new level. A type of memory, if you will. Based on recent history, muscle anticipates the new heights in physical activity (exercise) that you will be imposing on it and attempts to rise to the occasion. Sadly, this is only a short-term memory. If not “reminded”, muscles will return to their previous smaller size. Admittedly, sort of a strange way of thinking about it but, welcome to my world…

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Simple Truths About Muscle Growth (part 2)

In previous posts I have stressed the importance of the IGF-1s (Insulin-like growth factors, type 1) in promoting body growth. To reiterate the main message of my last (post): the IGF-1s are likely to be our most important growth promoters, particularly with reference to all types of muscle, bone and connective tissues. Importantly, these are the tissues an athlete must fortify in order to continue making gains.

Not too long ago, however, it was believed (wrongly) that the only way to produce IGF-1 was in response to another hormone called Growth Hormone; it is by no coincidence that “growth” is explicitly stated in this important hormone’s name. This story has recently been revised, which has very important implications for how an athlete trains, rests and eats...

Go here for more information about the IGF-1s: http://www.creatinemonohydrate.net/creatine_newsletter_33.html

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