Types of creatine: properties and uses

Today, much of the world's population exercises, either as a hobby or professionally. That is why many products have emerged to improve performance during training. One of the most popular is creatine, so we will tell you its types, properties and uses.

Creatine is a non-protein amino acid that we can find in the body. It is distributed in the muscles and, to a lesser extent, in the brain. In the diet, the major sources are red meat and seafood.

The main function of creatine is related to the formation of ATP (substance of energy metabolism), so greatly improves the performance of athletes. However, it is also used to treat some brain disorders and heart failure.

Types of creatine and their respective properties

Being an excellent dietary supplement, various types of creatine have emerged over the years. All of them vary their chemical composition a bit in order to obtain better results. In this sense, among the various creatine compounds we can find the following.

Creatine monohydrate

This is the most used creatine supplement by athletes and the purest, since the others derive from it. It is very effective and has been shown to improve various aspects of physical training, such as speed and peak power.

This compound does not usually contain additives, so 88% of it is creatine, while the remaining 12% is water. In this sense, it has the ability to hydrate cells, reduce the damage they suffer and increase intramuscular reserves.

Creatine has application in sports performance to gain muscle strength and increase mass.

Creatine hydrochloride

Being one of the newer types of creatine, there are few studies that talk about it. But nevertheless, when creatine is mixed with hydrochloric acid, a stable molecule is obtained and up to 38 times more soluble than creatine monohydrate, so it's easier to absorb, has the same effects, and is less likely to cause kidney damage.

Creatine gluconate

This dietary supplement mixes creatine with glucose molecules, so its intestinal absorption is faster. In addition, it travels efficiently in the bloodstream and its entry into the muscle is more efficient than that of creatine monohydrate, since glucose generates a momentary insulin spike.

Creatine phosphate or phosphocreatine

Phosphocreatine or creatine phosphate is a chemical compound found in the body and provides great energy value. However, its reserve levels are low. Therefore, it is one of the most sought-after types of creatine. It is made up of creatine and phosphate in a 62-38 ratio.

It has the same functions as creatine monohydrate, making it ideal for building lean tissue. In addition, being an extra source of energy decreases fatigue during training.

Kre-alkaline creatine

Also known as alkaline creatine or buffered creatine, is the result of the mixture between creatine monohydrate and alkalizing powders. The main idea of ​​this mix is raise the pH of the compound to improve its absorption and avoid the formation of creatinine, reducing kidney damage.

For a long time it was believed that Kre-alkaline creatine had better results than monohydrate. However, a recent study showed that there are no significant differences in performance.

Creatine malate

In this compound 2 or 3 molecules of creatine are mixed with malic acid, which makes it more soluble and easily absorbed. In addition, it is characterized by improve the resistance, explosiveness and strength of the athlete without affecting blood pressure or fat levels.

Creatine ethyl ester

Creatine ethyl ester is nothing more than creatine monohydrate esterified by an alcohol methanol or ethanol. Said esterification facilitates the passage of the compound through the membranes of muscle cellsTherefore, its absorption is carried out at high speed and requires a lower dose.

Creatine citrate

This is the result of the mixture between 40% creatine and citric acid, which makes it the most soluble compound of all. In addition, thanks to citric acid, it stimulates a great production of muscular energy. Being so soluble, it does not cause gastric discomfort, although its price is higher.

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Uses and safety of consumption of the types of creatine

Creatine is used in high performance athletes in order to improve their speed, endurance and strength. In fact, its use is recommended in sports such as rowing, high jump and soccer, in which its effectiveness has been demonstrated on multiple occasions.

On the other hand, creatine supplements are used to improve the rare metabolism syndromes of this amino acid, when the body is unable to generate it by itself. Despite the lack of sufficient scientific evidence, its oral consumption is being prescribed in cases of heart failure.

Consumption of various types of creatine is safe, provided it is ingested in the short term and at maximum doses of 5 grams. However, a doctor should be consulted before starting any dietary supplement.

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Possible benefits of creatine

The different types of creatine have become allies of athletes. This is because all of them offer the same benefits during training, among which the following stand out:

  • They provide energy to muscle fibers.
  • They increase the volume and facilitate muscle recovery.
  • Avoid fatigue and tiredness ahead of time.
  • They delay the aging of the skin.

The big difference between creatine compounds is their solubility. Being more soluble, they are absorbed faster and the necessary dose will be lower in some cases.

Creatine as a supplement is not only used in sports, but benefits are also being found for organic pathologies.

Contraindications to the use of creatine

One of the first things to think about when talking about creatine consumption is possible kidney damage. Extra care should be taken with the supplement if you already have a kidney problem or there is a high risk of suffering from it, especially due to excess protein.

On the other hand, you should also avoid the intake of creatine together with nephrotoxic drugs, that is, those that are capable of affecting the functioning of the kidney. Using both substances at the same time can increase the chance of causing harm.

Other contraindications to the use of creatine is related to the consumption of caffeine. They should not be taken together, since the effect of the amino acid in the muscles will be diminished when they interact.

Main differences of the types of creatine

As you can see, the various types of creatine are very similar. All of them have the same effects on the muscles and there is not enough scientific evidence to say that one compound has more effect than another.

The difference between these supplements is in their solubility and the side effects they produce. In general terms, creatine monohydrate derivatives are more soluble and cause fewer gastric problems. However, you should always consult a specialist before starting the intake.