Best Creatine

July 3rd, 2007 by Paul Johnson

Creatine used to sale as one form (creatine monohydrate) in a bucket of bulk powder. Over the years they have added all these different creatine forms, delivery systems, or extra ingredients. It can be very confusing on what is the best creatine form and what are the side effects for all of them.

Although each form is different, one must understand that all creatine forms do the same thing at it's core: That is to build up your creatine levels in your muscles in order to increase strength and long term muscle gains. Creatine won't work well for everyone. Even if you get the best creatine product on the market some people just naturally don't respond that well to it. For example, I don't notice much effect, so I don't use creatine. However, some seem to respond well to it and gain a few lbs and a lot of strength very quickly. It might have to do with genetics and/or diet since a tiny amount of Creatine Monohydrate can be found in red meat. Although the amount in red meat is not near the levels needed in a loading phase. I suspect some people just have naturally high levels of creatine in their body and don't really need creatine supplements.

Creatine Monohydrate:

Creatine Monohydrate is the original Creatine. It is the one that all the scientific studies were done on. You want to buy it from brands that have the Creapure trademark on it, which means it is high quality creatine powder from Germany. Without it, it probably will have been made in China and low quality.

The problems with Creatine Monohydrate is that it has very low solubility, may cause stomach upset, and visible bloat. Creatine "non-responders" is also common with this form, which is not surprising since it only has a 1% absorption rate.

Liquid (serum) creatine:

This creatine is a scam. Read more about it in a previous article: Does liquid creatine work?

Tri and Di Creatine Malate:

Creatine malate is formed by creatine monohydrate and malic acid. Malic acid is involved directly in the krebs cycle, the main energy cycle of the cell. Users report more muscular energy and endurance over regular creatine monohydrate, as a result. Creatine Malate also is more water soluble  and absorbs in the body at a higher rate, than regular creatine monohydrate.  Creatine Malate also requires no loading phase.

Creatine Ethyl Ester (CEE):

CEE has been hyped as having higher solubility and stability against stomach acidity compared to creatine monohydrate. Despite all the hype the last few years there has never been a study to prove CEE is viable and recently a study even contradicts those claims.

Source of study: Department of Life Sciences, Kingston University, Penrhyn Rd, Kingston-upon-Thames, United Kingdom. 2University of Northumbria, Sport Sciences, Northumbria University, Northumberland Building, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom

What they did in the study was take 3 commercial CEE products on the market and compare them to regular creatine monohydrate, when mixed in a acid solution (to mimic the stomach). The results after 30 minutes showed the CEE had degraded to 60-70% of it's original creatine levels into creatinine. After 2 hours the CEE had degraded much further. The study showed that the claims by the supplement companies for CEE is false. Although, these studies show that CEE has a high degradation in water, it does not mean it's total junk. Remember, Creatine Monohydrate is also unstable in liquid like CEE.

Effervescent Creatine:

Creatine combined with sodium and sugar. Not really any different then creatine monohydrate except unneccessary ingredients combined. It also is highly priced. I recommend avoiding Effervescent creatine.

Micronized Creatine:

Micronized creatine is micronized creatine monohydrate. It really isn't any different than creatine monohydrate except its more efficiently absorbed, so you don't need as much. Micronization increases the surface area of regular creatine monohydrate and results in a much better absorption into the body. This creatine will be more effective then creatine monohydrate per serving and have less side effects. Micronized creatine still requires a loading phase.

Creatine Citrate:

Creatine bonded to a citrate molecule. Even though it has better absorption then regular creatine, Creatine citrate dosage has to be twice as much.

Creatine Kre-Alkalyn:

Creatine bonded to Kre-Alkalyn. Higher absorption so doesn't require loading. Less bloating and stomach problems. No studies have been done on the health side effects of Creatine Kre-Alkalyn either.

Creatine Orate:

Creatine bonded to the Orate molecule which is derived from oratic acid. The orate has special energy properties because of it being a pre-cursor to nucleic acids which are needed to build ATP (the universal energy currency in the muscle cells). Creatine Orate is another creatine form that has no current studies on the side effects of the orate molecule. Unfortunately, creatine orate is also very expensive.

The best creatine form:

There are many good forms of creatine, but Creatine Malate is probably the best creatine form, due to it's high absorption and unique energy effects from the Malate. Creatine Monohydrate is still fine if you don't experience side effects and it works for you fine. Many people continue to use the original Creatine monohydrate and have great results. Creatine monohydrate is backed by years of research, proven to be safe, and has the best price. Creatine Kre-Alkalyn or Micronized Creatine Monohydrate are better forms of creatine monohydrate though.

Most brands on the market mix multiple forms of creatine together. I'ts pretty hard to find one type by themselves. Some mix even other types of supplements such as no2 supplements or protein powder with the creatine. Here is a list of all the popular brands of supplements you can purchase that contain Creatine Malate and another for Creatine Monohydrate. I hope this article helped you find the best creatine products on the market today.

  1. Vastvision on October 10th, 2007

    Very informative, thanks!

  2. pete on October 16th, 2007

    Great write up. Thoroughly love this point of view.

  3. assfd on November 11th, 2007


    I never responded to the scam known as Ethyl Ester, but good old Creatine Monohydrate worked wonders. Its the only one with significant research behind it showing that it worked. I believe it was T Nation that debunked creatine ethyl ester and proved it was useless.

  4. Admin on November 11th, 2007

    Thanks for your input ASFD. I investigated it and you’re right. I will update this article. This is why it’s good to have interactive articles like this, because there is always new information coming out that can dramatically change our views on supplements or training.

  5. Bulletin News on December 3rd, 2007

    Amazing write up discussing Creatine Works the Best?. Always love your posts!

  6. Johan on December 8th, 2007

    I tend to get an upset stomack from Creatine Monohydrate. Will Creatine malate have the same effect?

  7. Mike on July 31st, 2008

    I agree Creatine malate is the best! Anyone know of a good product with Creatine malate? I have used Dymatize Xpand which works great BUT it wires me for hours , to the point I cannot sleep at night.

  8. admin on August 5th, 2008

    Unfortunately, it seems like all the major brands that have creatine malate in them combine it with other creatine forms too.

  9. kyle on October 17th, 2008

    hey i am new to this creatine stuff and what kind speciffically would u recomend?

  10. Erik Z on November 3rd, 2008

    Great article, I’m about to head over to GNC today and this was a big help. Now I know what look for in a creatine product, thanks!

  11. CHOP on December 3rd, 2008

    Hey, a am looking at getting some creatine at GNC soon. I was wondering what specfic brand should i get?

  12. 23alex on January 24th, 2009

    For those asking what brands to get, make sure you don’t buy BSN’s CELLMASS, it doesn’t only suck but it has a couple of lawsuits regarding health issues.
    The best creatine I think is made by ON, they have a lot of products, and they are all pretty good, just find the one that has what you need.

  13. moe on January 31st, 2009

    good info

  14. joe on February 5th, 2009

    the study on CEE couldnt completely hold true since it was tested in conditions that mimic sitting in the stomach. the directions always say take on an empty stomach and since it is in a solution when ingested it passes straight through the stomach.

  15. Oz on February 10th, 2009

    I stopped taking creatine monohydrate over 6 years ago after tearing my hamstring at both the original and insertion playing rugby union. I missed a full season and tore the same ham on my first game back. This was followed by a LOT of smaller ongoing tears that seemed to plague me. I read some articles that claimed creatine can increase the muscle cells rapidly without allowing for small fibre and tissue to adjust, placing greater strain on them. Admittedly, myself and several others would go on a loading phase for 3 weeks followed by only one week off before repeating the same dose. Does anyone know if this is true? I wanted answers at the time and stopped taking creatine which, coincidentally or not, was at the same time the injuries went away. 6 years down the track I would love to have my previous size back but refuse to touch anabolic steroids and still a little hesitant when it comes to creatine. Is there any evidence of such effects or can anyone point me toward other reports on effects of creatine monohydrate?

  16. keven g on March 15th, 2009

    …….do you really think creatin monohydrat will give you big muscle ….if so go read more ……and do researche becaus just creatine monohydrat wont give you 1/10 of the gaine on any steroids product

  17. Creatine on March 26th, 2009

    Great Article

  18. Ray t on April 22nd, 2009

    What about CellTech?

  19. Adam on May 5th, 2009

    I have takin cell-tech for the past 4 years. i found the stuff great on loading stage. It bluked me up fast and i had good gains on everything around the gym. I am now trying BSN Cell-Mass, i have been taking it for approximatly 4 weeks now. My second work out on the stuff was great i felt like i could walk through walls. My bench increased from 117kg to 137kg in one work out. My squat went from 127kg to 137kg in my first work out on Cell-Mass. i knew i could do more but i did not want to increase the weights anymore. The next work out i did the 137kg benchpress and then ended up squatting 182kg to parrallel. Cell-Tech is good but so far i have found Cell-Mass to be the best.

  20. inmypjs on June 12th, 2009

    Taking 1g of Kre Alkalyn creatine is equivalent of taking 10g of normal creatine, and
    Kre Alkalyn creatine is stable in water because its PH buffered! It comes in pill form. It works just as good if not better because of less side effects.

    Something you forget to mention is Creapure. NSI from Vitacost sells it for $20 with 300 caps. Creapure is micronized creatine with the highest in quality, purity and safety.

  21. Aymen on June 17th, 2009

    never tried it before. i always like the monohydrate.

  22. Vishal on July 8th, 2009

    Well yea you are right that 1g of kre-alkyln is equal to 20g of normal creatine. But 90 caps bottle will not last you more than 5-6weeks.On average the cycle requires you to have atleast 3caps a day(for kre-alkyln) the maths…. On the other hand 1000g normal creatine can last you up2 6months using the cycle. monohydrate does lead the stomach problems IF your water ntake is bad

  23. Mark on October 15th, 2009

    I just started going to the gym not long ago and I’m confused about what to take and how much to take. Everyone says a different story. I want to bulk up a little bit.
    Please help

  24. Ryan on October 27th, 2009

    Try Cellucor M5. It is extremely expensive online but if you shop around or even go on ebay, you can get it for half the price. Retail its about $90 for 1 month supply. So do your research. That was one of the first creatines I’d ever taken and I gained MASSIVE weight and I was only 15. Now they’ve improved it. There’s a GNC franchise store where I used to live and they probably sold at least 20 bottles a day. Really, give this a try.

  25. John on November 16th, 2009

    Very nicely written content great blog thanks for the info.

  26. The Rock on November 24th, 2009

    I tried MRI® CE2 HI-DEF…Work well for me. But I don’t think I have taking it long enough. I just took 1 bottle (180 tablets).

  27. Tyler on November 26th, 2009

    i need some answers!! tell which creatine you think is better? M5 creatine monohydrate or Ce-2 Creatine ethyl Ester?

  28. Mark on December 4th, 2009

    At the gym where I work out, California Strength, the olympic lifters have been using a new supplement called Podium Gold from csa nutrition. These lifters are probably the top in the US. One of them is Donny Shankle who uses a tablet version of this product that is not available yet and is the current US Olympic Weightlifting champion. The other two guys are Caleb Ward and Jon North. Jon uses a new powder version and he is hitting PRs every week. If their results are any indication, this may be the next big creatine although from what they tell me, it is not creatine but something related. If you go to their site, you can see it is a new compound but seems to be created by combining creatine with beta alanine.

  29. rs on December 13th, 2009

    Here is an official review from a medical perspective:

    Sports Med. 2005;35(2):107-25.
    Creatine supplementation and exercise performance: recent findings.
    Bemben MG, Lamont HS.

    Neuromuscular Research Laboratory, Department of Health and Sport Sciences, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019, USA.
    Creatine monohydrate (Cr) is perhaps one of the most widely used supplements taken in an attempt to improve athletic performance. The aim of this review is to update, summarise and evaluate the findings associated with Cr ingestion and sport and exercise performance with the most recent research available. Because of the large volume of scientific literature dealing with Cr supplementation and the recent efforts to delineate sport-specific effects, this paper focuses on research articles that have been published since 1999.Cr is produced endogenously by the liver or ingested from exogenous sources such as meat and fish. Almost all the Cr in the body is located in skeletal muscle in either the free (Cr: approximately 40%) or phosphorylated (PCr: approximately 60%) form and represents an average Cr pool of about 120-140 g for an average 70 kg person. It is hypothesised that Cr can act though a number of possible mechanisms as a potential ergogenic aid but it appears to be most effective for activities that involve repeated short bouts of high-intensity physical activity. Additionally, investigators have studied a number of different Cr loading programmes; the most common programme involves an initial loading phase of 20 g/day for 5-7 days, followed by a maintenance phase of 3-5 g/day for differing periods of time (1 week to 6 months). When maximal force or strength (dynamic or isotonic contractions) is the outcome measure following Cr ingestion, it generally appears that Cr does significantly impact force production regardless of sport, gender or age. The evidence is much more equivocal when investigating isokinetic force production and little evidence exists to support the use of Cr for isometric muscular performance. There is little benefit from Cr ingestion for the prevention or suppression of muscle damage or soreness following muscular activity. When performance is assessed based on intensity and duration of the exercises, there is contradictory evidence relative to both continuous and intermittent endurance activities. However, activities that involve jumping, sprinting or cycling generally show improved sport performance following Cr ingestion. With these concepts in mind, the focus of this paper is to summarise the effectiveness of Cr on specific performance outcomes rather than on proposed mechanisms of action. The last brief section of this review deals with the potential adverse effects of Cr supplementation. There appears to be no strong scientific evidence to support any adverse effects but it should be noted that there have been no studies to date that address the issue of long-term Cr usage.

  30. RedRum on March 3rd, 2010

    I’m in the gym about 8 months now and i’ve been on iron-tek creatine for 3 months, i deffinitely noticed an increase in strength but not in size. I’m about to switch to cell-tech creatine because size is what im looking for, but if you’re looking for the extra strenght and not the extra weight Iron-Tek creatine would do the job.

  31. visitha on April 18th, 2010

    Is Creatine Malate good for health? Why Creatine Monohydrate bad?

  32. Pete on April 28th, 2010

    I have been taken Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass for about 1 year and half, and have been taken Optimum Nutrition Crepure creatine for 2 months, and it has improved my gains in bench press for example. IE: I use to bench 105kg, where as know i can bench 125kg that is without a spotter! At the end of the day it all comes down to the nutrients, vitamins, protein, fruits, vegtables, red meat, fish, omega 3,6,9, etc. There is no quick fix to bulking up. Unless you want to damage your body with Growth Hormones or Steriods. Remember rome wasnt built in a day. My conclusion is Supplements do help, although you need to eat alot of good quality foods (Organic) and drink plety of water. Remember if your going to buy supplements, read whats in the ingredients, if you dont know what a certain word means, google it otherwise why put something in your body without knowing what harm or side effects it can do!

  33. heath on May 26th, 2010

    try anabolic switch i gained plenty of weight and also try kre-alkalyn

  34. Amit on August 5th, 2010

    Please tell me the best createn and whey protien name and mentioned with brand.

  35. PJ on August 15th, 2010

    Great review!!! Thx

  36. Taylor on August 29th, 2010

    Creatine hydrochloride is the best it is made by GNC’s Amplified line

  37. George Wiggins on September 14th, 2010

    The amplified creatine 189 is a great product as well. Great info. Thanks

  38. elton moore on September 28th, 2010

    thanks alot mate. the market is unfortunately full of money-making scams!

  39. alex on November 26th, 2010

    i take bsn’s no xplode for past 4 i hav bought optimum nutrients micronized creatine powder, can i take no xplode and creatine togethr..pls advice

  40. Manny young on January 23rd, 2011

    I confuse i just start going to the gym im confuse i dnt know what i should take what creatine is good 5.”6 and 125pounds

  41. nick on January 29th, 2011

    I just started taking cellucor’s M5 and i have gotten great results from it. The best part is that you don’t feel bloated after taking it. The pumps are great also!!!

  42. Mike on January 31st, 2011

    I’m 5’9″ usually between 155-165 depending on which creatine I use. I hit every body part through out the week but i noticed ethyl ester help the recovery but real slow on size. Monohydrate is bloating water strength(great for bodybuilding). I’m a basketball player, so i tend to like the recovery and leanness ethyl ester provides. Plus when coming off ester I don’t loose size and piss for 2 weeks. I guess it depends on your goals.

  43. chris on February 9th, 2011

    i think the best creatine is kre alkalyn pro . this creatine give the best pump 😉

  44. Mass Building on February 22nd, 2011

    Although there are a number of fitness and health care centers offering several bodybuilding regimes for people with different body structures, finding time for gym sessions is usually a challenge for most of us.