by Tony Gjokaj February 23, 2020 4 min read

Creatine is the most studied supplement in the industry, and with great reason: it is a supplement that WORKS! Creatine primarily helps improve strength and power output in the gym. Anecdotally, it has allowed myself and other people I’ve recommended it to get one more extra rep.

One extra rep per session adds up overtime! 

In this blog post, we will simplify Creatine in its entirety for you so that you can make an informed decision on whether it’s necessary for you or not!

Creatine

Creatine is something that is normally produced in the body from amino acids. This would mean it creatine can be found (in small amounts) in foods like meat and fish.

It is supplemented with to improve strength and power output during weight training. In addition, it has been studied to a SMALL extent in improving mental performance in some (particularly vegetarians who can’t get creatine from meat sources). 

Types of Creatine

There are various types of creatine, although Creatine Monohydrate has been studied the most. For this reason, we researched the three types of creatine in this section.

Creatine Monohydrate

As mentioned before, Creatine Monohydrate is the most studied out of all of them, and for good reason: effectiveness has been noticeable. In addition, Monohydrate is the cheapest form of creatine (you can get almost a years worth of unflavored Creatine Monohydrate for $20).

Creatine Ethyl Ester

Many people assume Ethyl Ester is one of the more superior creatine on the market, mainly because of just a few studies stating it is absorbed fairly well. A study found the opposite result, however.

Based on this, there isn’t sufficient evidence supporting Creatine Ethyl Ester. This is not to say that it is not a good type of creatine; we just need more information on this creatine.

Creatine Hydrochloride (HCL)

HCL is another form of creatine that has been popularized based on its solubility: it dissolves fast.

A lot of people who take HCL say their reason for taking this form of creatine is based on the "water weight" myths I talk about in this post on creatine in general.

Creatine HCL has been studied a few times on animals, but never on humans. Meaning we still need more information on this before we can make a more informed decision on HCL.

Other Creatines and The Best Decision

There are other forms of creatine that constantly appear on the market and are marketed as the next big thing, yet there isn’t enough information on any other form other than Monohydrate.

Simply put, we recommend simply purchasing Monohydrate. With current evidence, it‘s the best option!

 

Creatine Myths and Realities

As creatine has been studied the most compared to any other form of supplementation, it is pretty much the talk of every supplement conversation. With that, a lot of misinformation can occur based on a lack of research.

I wanted to talk about some myths and actual truths of creatine in this section.

Kidney Damage Myth

I have recently researched this based on people who have mentioned it to me. Based on current research, creatine does not cause kidney damage if you don't have preexisting kidney problems, or if you naturally produce/consume plenty of creatine. 

Dehydration Myth

One of my favorite myths regarding creatine is dehydration. It’s my favorite because since people believe it, the placebo effect kicks in. This myth was created based on misinformation: creatine is NOT a diuretic, but it could cause you discomfort if you aren’t well hydrated.

Addressing Water Weight

I love this one: water weight. For starters, water weight has never been bad, to begin with. On some days, you will retain more water (based on your balance of Sodium and Potassium), so this happens regularly.

While it's true about the water weight, creatine usually stores water in your muscles, making them look more prominent. This should never be a concern unless you compete in a sport that measures weight classes.

Plus, wouldn’t this contradict the myth of dehydration if we store water?

Creatine Recommendations and Side Effects

In supplementing with creatine, people have recommended loading phases to “adapt” to creatine. While you can do this, I simply just consume 5g of Creatine Monohydrate per day.

You do not need to necessarily cycle creatine as there are no diminishing effects. Research shows that since it’s stored in the body, you don’t necessarily need to load it. 

I have been taking Creatine Monohydrate daily for years and I’m still alive (for now), writing this post for you.

The actual side effects of creatine could include stomach cramps (because of dehydration), diarrhea, and nausea if you consume too much. It is recommended to supplement with 5g of Creatine MAX per day.

 

Simplified Enough?

A 1% increase in the gym adds up. 100 days of that is 100%.

I hope this has simplified creatine and removed any fears or risks revolving around this wonderful supplement. My intention in this blog post series is to discuss the most important supplements in the industry. 

Most of this information on Creatine was reviewed on Examine, and I highly suggest you go there for additional supplementary information.

I wanted to thank you all for taking the time to read this, and I hope this has helped you or a friend. If you have questions or comments, throw them below and let's discuss!

Until next time Legion!

Tony Gjokaj
Tony Gjokaj

Tony is the Owner of Reforged Performance Nutrition. He is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and has been in the fitness space for over a decade. His goal is to help bridge the gap between physical & mental health through fitness.



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