While there are numerous types of creatine out there, you should always go with a basic monohydrate supplement. This is creatine in its simplest form, and it is the cheapest, and most well-researched form of the supplement available.
What Types of Creatine Are on the Market?
Monohydrate is creatine in its simplest form. It is what’s found in the vast majority of creatine supplements, and out of all the different creatine types, we strongly recommend this over any others. This is because it’s both the cheapest, and most well-researched form of creatine available on the market.
Creatine monohydrate is well-known to provide significant benefits to nearly all athletes, including improved high-intensity exercise performance, muscle growth, reduced fatigue, and better recovery. You will begin to experience the benefits of creatine once your body’s stores are fully saturated. With a simple dosage of 3-5g a day, you will fully saturate your creatine stores in around 2-4 weeks on average.
The main reason companies offer other types of creatine is because they’re trying to get people to spend extra money on a product that will have the same basic effects as a much cheaper monohydrate supplement. Because of this, be wary of any company trying to market any of the other types of creatine mentioned on this list. These other types of creatine are little more than a marketing scheme.
Creatine HCL is one of the most popular forms of creatine behind monohydrate. It is a product of Creatine Monohydrate and Acetyl Chloride which are used as reactants with ethanol as a solvent. This process produces Creatine HCL, which is much more soluble than creatine monohydrate. This means it will mix much easier in liquid.
However, solubility is often conflated with bioavailability by those trying to sell Creatine HCL. While it’s often claimed that you can take less HCL to get the same effects as monohydrate, there is minimal evidence to back this claim up.
Creatine HCL is also much more expensive than monohydrate. You can expect to pay up to 3x more for an HCL supplement compared to a monohydrate, making it a much less budget-friendly option. It’s also been around for far less time than monohydrate, meaning it has not undergone the rigorous testing of creatine’s most basic form.
While HCL is likely completely safe, the lack of research surrounding it is concerning. Because monohydrate has been studied for decades, we can be more confident of its effectiveness and safety.
3. Kre-Alkalyn (Buffered), Ethyl Ester, Creatine Magnesium Chelate, Etc.
After HCL, there are plenty of other less-common alternatives to Monohydrate available. These include kre-alkalyn, ethyl ester, citrate, tri-creatine malate, and too many others to name.
While the marketing claims and chemical formulas vary, the same criticisms we made about Creatine HCL remain true. These alternative forms of creatine are designed to trick those who don’t know any better into spending more money on functionally the same product as monohydrate.
While many of them likely deliver the same effects as monohydrate, they often cost significantly more. In fact, one study found that out of the 16 alternative forms of creatine available on Amazon, they averaged out to be around twice as expensive as monohydrate.
On top of this, 88% of them had little to no evidence to support their claims of bioavailability, efficacy, or safety. So, if it’s not already clear, we strongly recommend sticking to monohydrate over any alternative forms of creatine.
What Is the Most Studied, Most Effective and Most Affordable Form of Creatine?
As you can see from the information listed above, the best form of creatine by far is monohydrate. Other forms of creatine are mostly marketing schemes to charge more for what boils down to the same basic product.
What’s worse is that these products are not nearly as well-researched as creatine, meaning there may be adverse health risks associated with them that aren’t present with monohydrate.
If you take one thing away from this article, it should be that any non-monohydrate form of creatine is not worth your money, and if you want all the benefits associated with creatine supplementation, go with monohydrate 100% of the time.
Powder vs Capsule Form: Is There a Difference?
Aside from different formulas, creatine can also come in different forms, usually powder or capsules. So, is there a difference here similar to the difference between monohydrate and other kinds of creatine?
If you’re buying a basic creatine monohydrate supplement, there won’t be any difference in its effects whether you’re taking it in a powdered or capsule form. The reason creatine comes in these different forms is simply because some people prefer one form over another. They will typically come with similar serving sizes, and similar prices as well.
Overall, when making the decision between creatine powder and capsules, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, decide which supplement is more convenient for you to take. While most people find powder to be easier, some people may prefer to swallow a couple pills instead of mixing creatine into water. It’s also worth noting that getting specific doses will be easier with pills, as they’re usually 1g/capsule.
However, this won’t be a factor for most people who take a standard serving of 5g a day. Ultimately, which form of creatine is right for you will completely come down to a matter of personal preference. Of course, whether you’re buying powder or pills, make sure it’s monohydrate!
Best Creatine: Transparent Labs Creatine HMB
If you’re looking for a high quality creatine monohydrate supplement, our top pick is Creatine HMB from Transparent Labs.
Now, don’t be confused by the name – this is not a modified form of creatine. HMB is simply an added ingredient to the monohydrate base of this supplement. Each serving of Transparent Labs’ creatine supplement contains 5g of creatine monohydrate, making it the perfect dose for most people.
So, you may be wondering, what is HMB? Transparent Labs claims that HMB has similar ergogenic effects to creatine (increasing power output & lean body mass, etc.), and this is partly true, although the ergogenic effects of HMB have less scientific evidence than creatine and require further study.
The other ingredient found in this supplement – Vitamin D – has a wide range of benefits. These include performance enhancing benefits like increasing muscular strength, as well as general health benefits like helping to prevent disease and improving bone health. Each serving of Creatine HMB contains 63% of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin D.
Another reason Creatine HMB is such a great supplement is its flavor options. If you’ve been looking for a creatine supplement, you’ve probably noticed the vast majority of them are exclusively unflavored.
Transparent Labs on the other hand offers 11 unique flavors to choose from! This makes Creatine HMB a great choice if you prefer a flavored drink, although they do also offer an unflavored version.
It’s worth noting that this is a fairly expensive supplement at around $1.50 per serving. If you’re looking for a more basic creatine, you can easily find a supplement for well under a dollar.
Although the inclusion of HMB is unnecessary, the true value from this supplement also comes from the inclusion of Vitamin D and the multiple flavor options.
What Type of Creatine Is Best?
What Is the Difference Between Types of Creatine?
Does It Matter What Type of Creatine You Take?
Which Creatine Is Better Hcl or Monohydrate?
While there are numerous different forms of creatine on the market, there isn’t a single one that we can recommend over standard monohydrate. The vast majority of different forms of creatine are simply marketing gimmicks used to charge more for the same core product.
On top of this, monohydrate is much more well-researched than any of these alternatives, making it the safest choice as well. While creatine is one of the best sports supplements available, don’t fall for any marketing tricks, and stick with monohydrate.
If you’re looking for a high-quality, deluxe monohydrate supplement, we recommend checking out Transparent Labs Creatine HMB.
Do you currently take creatine, or are you looking to try it for the first time? Were you aware that creatine monohydrate is the best, cheapest, and safest form of creatine around? Let us know in the comments below!
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