What Type of Creatine Is Best? Exploring Creatine Monohydrate
Whether you’re a pro athlete, a frequent gym goer, or even a weekend warrior, you’ll have heard of creatine supplements. But have you heard of creatine monohydrate? This is one of the top forms of dietary creatine you can take, especially for sports and exercise nutrition. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about this form of creatine…
What is creatine?
Creatine is an organic amino acid derivative made from a combination of arginine, glycine, and methionine. This is naturally synthesised in the human body (and that of other vertebrates) and serves a vital role in the metabolism of skeletal muscle. Creatine is a natural energy source that helps your muscles contract - which is especially important during exercise.
As humans, our bodies produce around half of the creatine we need in the kidneys, liver, and pancreas. The rest is supplied by our diet, through meat and meat-based products like red meat and seafood. For some people with specific dietary requirements, like vegetarians and vegans, creatine supplementation is one of the best ways to reach your body's creatine requirements.
The vast majority of the creatine in the body is used by your muscles, especially during exercise or other physical activity. The rest is directed to the brain, heart, and other tissue where energy is in high demand.
Learn more about creatine with our guide - The Power of Creatine: What it is and Who Should Use it?
How much creatine does the body need?
The human body makes on average around 1-2g of creatine a day1, which is around half of what you need for optimum benefit. The rest is obtained through your diet, either from your food or additional supplementation.
This is a constant process, as whilst the body stores creatine in your skeletal muscle, it’s degraded by a rate of 1-2% each day into creatinine, which is then passed through the blood and excreted through your urine2. So, in order to maintain your unsupplemented bodily average, you need to produce around 1-3g of creatine per day.
Alternatively, if you’re using creatine as a sports or nutritional supplement, you may want to consider using the loading/maintenance dose model.
With the loading phase, you’ll ingest a higher quantity of creatine (about an additional 20g of creatine per day, which is usually split into four equal doses of 5g throughout the day) for about a week. The loading phase aims to saturate your muscle creatine storage, and is followed by a maintenance phase. This is where you lower the dose back down to around 3-5g per day. This is usually used by athletes who have a specific event to train for, or wish to be in peak condition over their season.
With that said, you can start with a maintenance dose from the beginning when taking creatine. This is an option people also adopt as it helps them to achieve consistency with this supplement, which is an important consideration for its effectiveness.
What is creatine monohydrate?
Creatine monohydrate is one of the most studied nutritional supplements, as scientists have dedicated a lot of effort into understanding how this can affect the body in different ways. This particular form of creatine is made when a creatine molecule is bonded to a water molecule (which is where the monohydrate in the name comes from).
Due to its relative stability in comparison to other formulations3, and for the multiple performance benefits it can have (see below), creatine monohydrate is the most popular form used in supplements.
Learn more about creatine monohydrate with our article - Creatine Monohydrate: The Misunderstood Star of Sports Nutrition by Dr. David Synnott.
What is Creapure®?
Creapure® is the licensed name for the pure creatine monohydrate produced by Alzchem Trostberg GmbH in Germany. This is important to know because research recommends the use of German creatine monohydrate within dietary supplements due to the superior synthesising processes and ingredient quality assurances3.
At Kinetica Sports UK, we’re committed to offering high-quality supplements made from the best ingredients. For this reason, and many others, our 100% Creatine powder uses Creapure® - so you can trust that your supplements are safe and backed by the latest research.
What does creatine monohydrate do?
So, with all this in mind, what does creatine actually do within the body?
For starters, creatine monohydrate is an ergogenic aid. This is a term commonly used to describe nutritional tools that are used to increase your energy and enhance performance and recovery. Creatine monohydrate supplements can increase energy availability in the cells, which is incredibly useful to sustain high-intensity exercise over short periods2. Studies have shown that creatine monohydrate is particularly effective at improving your performance and muscle strength during resistance training4.
There are also some promising studies that suggest that creatine supplementation can help with rehabilitation after an injury, both in retaining muscle mass during recovery, and with shortening the recovery period overall5. So, whilst more research is needed in this area, it shows that creatine monohydrate supplements can be a valuable training tool throughout an athletic journey.
Additionally, there have been many studies into creatine monohydrate supplementation outside of the sports and exercise industry. Exciting and emerging research has demonstrated that creatine may have a positive impact on brain function and cognitive processing, especially in conditions where this is naturally decreasing - for example, as you age, or after traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and concussions6,7.
Since supplementing creatine with carbs or protein has been shown to augment creatine retention8, why not mix your creatine monohydrate with a Whey Protein Powder to make a delicious workout drink?
Why take creatine monohydrate?
As we mentioned above, the majority of people who take creatine monohydrate do so because it can have a big impact on their athletic performance.
But why should you take creatine monohydrate specifically over other forms of creatine?
For one, creatine monohydrate is the most efficient form of dietary creatine supplementation - as it contains the highest levels of creatine compared to others (like creatine nitrate, or creatine dipeptides)3. It’s also the most researched form of creatine, so there are plenty of studies exploring the benefits of taking this supplement.
Is creatine monohydrate vegan?
Most dietary creatine comes from red meat, fish, and other protein-rich animal products. Therefore, it is far less commonly found in plant-based diets9. Fortunately however, whilst there are many ways to develop creatine supplements, most are synthesised from sarcosine and cyanamide, which means there are no animal by-products.This means that creatine monohydrate is permissible within a vegetarian and vegan diet, although you should always check the label to be sure. For example, some creatine capsules may use bovine gelatin as a setting agent.
Buy now - 100% Creatine Monohydrate Powder
At Kinetica Sports, our 100% Creatine Monohydrate Powder is vegetarian and vegan-friendly, as well as being gluten-free. Our creatine monohydrate powder is also fully compliant with the exacting standards of WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) under the Informed Sport testing programme - so you know it’s a supplement you can trust.
You have the why, we have the how
At Kinetica Sports, we want to help you reach your goals. So, whether you’re a fitness professional, or a dedicated gym goer, explore our fantastic range of nutritional supplements to find the right one for you.
Shop Kinetica Sports Creatine Monohydrate powder now!
Or, for more advice and valuable supplement information - and even tasty recipes - explore the Kinetica Sports blog…
1. Brosnan, M.E., & Brosnan, J.T., 2016, ‘The role of dietary creatine’, in Amino Acids, 48(8):1785-1791. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26874700/
2. Kreider, R.B., & Stout, J.R., 2021, ‘Creatine in Health and Disease’, in Nutrients, 13(2). Available from: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/13/2/447
3. Antonio, J., et al., 2021, ‘Common questions and misconceptions about creatine supplementation: what does the scientific evidence really show?’, in Journal for the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 18(13). Available from: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1186/s12970-021-00412-w
4. Hall, M., & Thomas, H., 2013, ‘Creatine Supplementation’, in Current Sports Medicine Reports, 12(4):240-244. Available from: https://journals.lww.com/acsm-csmr/fulltext/2013/07000/creatine_supplementation.10.aspx
5. Juhasz, I., et al., 2018, ‘Creatine Supplementation Supports the Rehabilitation of Adolescent Fin Swimmers in Tendon Overuse Injury Cases’, in Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, 17(2): 279-288. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5950745/
6. Roschel, H., et al., 2021, ‘Creatine Supplementation and Brain Health’, in Nutrients, 13(2). Available from: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/13/2/586
7. Forbes, S.C., et al., 2022, ‘Effects of Creatine Supplementation on Brain Function and Health’, in Nutrients, 14(5). Available from: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/14/5/921
8. Cooper, R., et al., 2012, ‘Creatine supplementation with specific view to exercise/sports performance: an update’, in Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 9:33. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3407788/
9. Kaviani, M., Shaw, K., & Chilibeck., P.D., 2020, ‘Benefits of Creatine Supplementation for Vegetarians Compared to Omnivorous Athletes: A Systematic Review’, in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(9). Available from: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/17/9/3041