|Creatine: Beyond the Basics
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Advanced Creatine Supplementation Questions
Q. Is there a difference between types of creatines that are currently available?
A. 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
Q. Should you use creatine monohydrate and an ECA Stack
A. Depending on your training and physique goals, doing so may be
counterproductive. You see, one of the primary ways creatine works
is by loading the muscles with water—this is why consuming
large amounts of water is such a critical part of effective
creatine supplementation. On the other hand, the caffeine included
in the typical ECA Stack has a diuretic effect—it draws water
out of the muscles and the body. So if you take your creatine
simultaneous with your ECA Stack, or with a cup of coffee for that
matter, you’ll tend to cancel out the cell-volumizing effects
of the creatine.
Q. Is all creatine monohydrate alike, or are the name brands really
A. 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 carb
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
Q. Is micronized creatine just hype or is it really better?
A. 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 liquid—this 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 market—including
AST’s Creatine HSC—have already switched to using
micronized particles. This trend is likely to continue and
accelerate in the near future.
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