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?: