Advanced Questions and Answers: Creatine Monohydrate
Today we are going to take a look at creatine
monohydrate. Rather than a simple attempt to explain
creatine, I'll assume that you already have a
decent understanding of creatine, what it does,
and its underlying effects. What form of creatine
is best for absorption? What is the difference
between micronized creatine and creatine monohydrate?
Can I buy the cheap stuff and still get results,
or should I stick with higher end creatine products?
These questions, and more, are answered below.
All creatine powder is not created equal! At
least, not anymore - as some people are aware,
you can now find creatine on the market in three
forms: phosphate, citrate, and monohydrate. My
feeling is that the phosphate variety is not easily
absorbed by the body and for this reason will
not yield effective and substantial results. The
citrate variety seemed to be catching on for a
time, but again the research is sketchy here.
In fact, nearly all the positive clinical studies
that have been done on creatine have utilized
the monohydrate form, and this is the only form
that I currently recommend.
Brand names and quality do matter - especially
with creatine. There's a ton of cheap, generic
creatine monohydrate on the market (especially
on the web), but I'm convinced that most of it
is of significantly lower quality than the reputable
brand name versions. Supplement companies and
distributors in the U.S. currently get their raw
creatine from two primary sources: China and Germany.
The creatine that comes in from China is almost
always less expensive, but it's also much more
likely to be impure. Typically, it'll be cut with
the complex carbohydrate maltodextrin. This is
the dirt cheap "creatine" that many
wholesalers offer. No wonder some people don't
see any results. Reputable creatine suppliers
prefer the German version, which is a bit more
expensive but tests out at a significantly higher
level of quality. With creatine you really do
get what you pay for.
Micronized creatine has reached the market -
but is it just hype or is it really better? The
answer might surprise you. Micronized creatine
is very interesting. Basically, it's produced
through a process that finely grinds or "micronizes"
the creatine particles themselves into particles
that are 10, 15, even 20 times smaller than regular
creatine particles. There's no doubt that micronized
creatine dissolves better in liquidthis
just makes sense. It's also theorized that the
smaller particle size leads to easier and faster
digestion and uptake into the blood. Individuals
who report stomach upset with regular creatine
intake almost always find the problem alleviated
by switching to the micronized version. Many of
the top creatine monohydrate products on the marketincluding
AST's Creatine HSChave already switched
to using micronized particles. This trend is likely
to continue and accelerate in the near future.