Not all creatine supplements are created equal. For starters there are multiple different types of creatine, and beyond that there are tons of supplements with things other than just creatine alone. So what's the deal? Are creatine supplements really all that different? Do the extra ingredients in some of them make much difference?
A creatine supplement is supposed to help increase ATP recovery, to help boost strength during workouts. That's the basic idea behind the supplement, so why are there so many types, and what is the difference between them? To put it simply, effectiveness separates the main forms of creatine.
Creatine Monohydrate - The old school favorite. Creatine Monohydrate is probably one of the longest utilized supplements on the market. Time tested, it certainly seems to help increase intra-workout strength. It also tends to be very inexpensive, often times around $20 for a 1000g container (that's 200 5g servings!). The downside of monohydrate is it tends to make your cells retain water, and can result in a "bloated" look.
Creatine HCl - This may be the second most common forms of creatine. Creatine hydro-chloride, or Creatine HCl, is more water soluble than the monohydrate form. This means it is much more easily absorbed, and can therefore be dosed lower and have the same effectiveness as a monohydrate. This puts less strain on your body, as well as reduces the amount of bloating that can result from creatine supplementation.
Kre-Alkalyn - Kre-alkalyn is creatine bonded to another molecule, that helps to "buffer" the creatine to increase absorption. It also resists conversion to creatinine, which is a substance that has no effect on muscle gain, but can put strain on the body to digest it. This form is supposed to have the effectiveness of monohydrate, with higher absorption, and less bloating than even creatine HCl.
These are certainly not the only forms of creatine on the market, but they tend to be the forms most commonly found on the supplement market. Within each of those types are variations of them, such as micronized creatine, which is creatine monohydrate broken down into smaller molecules to increase surface area and absorption. Effervescent Creatine is creatine in combination with sugar or sodium, that tends to bubble when mixed and enhances taste and possibly absorption. We're not going too in depth with these as they tend to be rarer in the supplement industry.
Not always just Creatine.
A creatine supplement doesn't have to be just creatine, and can include other ingredients that amplify the effects of the creatine itself, help with recovery, or improve pump during a workout. Below are a few of our best selling Creatine based supplements with a little extra to offer.
InnovaPharm Ribo Force
InnovaPharm's Ribo Force, is a creatine supplement that is designed to boost ATP recovery from every possible angle. With a combination of the Creapure Creatine Monohydrate, Bioenergy Ribose, elevATP, and B-Ribose (Benfotiamine), along with Taurine, and TRAACS Magnesium, Ribo Force is designed to increase the bodies production of ATP much more than just a standard creatine supplement. We've got a more in depth breakdown of Ribo Force here.
Distinct Formulations Alpha Cell 7
Distinct Formulations took Kre-Alkalyn and the idea of buffered ingredients and ran with it. They used AminoZorb (buffered leucine, isoleucine, and valine), as well as Glutazorb (buffered glutamine), along with norvaline, citrulline malate, and electrolytes, to create a highly absorbing creatine supplement. A more detailed breakdown is available here.
Allmax Nutrition Creatine Krush Loaded.
Creatine Krush Loaded is a real combination supplement. A dose of creatine monohydrate, along with a multi source carbohydrate blend to replenish glycogen stores that are used during exercise, a blend of ATP enhancing ingredients, electrolytes, and a blend of ingredients designed to increase absorption of the rest.