picture of cemetery

2021 update:

A review paper just published examined the studies published on the various forms of creatine that at least have studies, and as expected, concluded as I did over a decade ago per below: Monohydrate is still the form to go with. The authors concluded:

“Due to the paucity of studies on alternative forms of creatine as well as high prices on the market of these alternative forms, CrM remains as the most extensively studied form of creatine that shows efficacy, safety, and lowest cost to consumer.”

So, since writing this article and updating it as new studies have come out, nadda has changed as far as best bang for the $ in creatine supplements.

The abstract and link to paper are below.

2020 update: HCL vs CM study can be found HERE

See 2012 update to this article HERE

The Creatine Grave Yard © 2009

Looks like another “high tech” form of creatine has got one foot planted firmly in the creatine grave yard. What is the creatine graveyard? It’s where forms of creatine – other then monohydrate – go when either science has shown them inferior to monohydrate, and or it’s life cycle of hype has come to and end.

I refer specifically to creatine ethyl ester (CEE). As with the many “high tech” forms of creatine before it, all manner of claims were/are made about how superior it is to creatine monohydrate (CM). It always starts the same. First the company will invent a long list of negatives about CM such as “poorly absorbed” or “causes bloat” or “is not stable” and then goes onto claim their form of creatine has solved all those invented negatives. The problem is, the data already shows CM does not suffer from virtually any of the negatives they invent, nor do they show their form “cures” those negatives.

Sellers of CCE for example claimed CEE was better absorbed and utilized vs. CM, and that has been shown to be nonsense. There have been several in vitro (test tube) studies pointing to the fact CEE is inferior to CM, but a recent study done in humans puts a final nail in the coffin as far as I am concerned. This study is titled “The effects of creatine ethyl ester supplementation combined with heavy resistance training on body composition, muscle performance, and serum and muscle creatine levels” The full study is public access and can be read here:
CEE Study

Warning, the abstract is confusing and not well written. If you read the full paper, it’s clearer. If you don’t have the time or interest to read it, the take home is: although all subjects in this study (CEE vs. CM vs. Placebo) experienced approximately the same effects; they all had improvements in bodycomp and got stronger. Why? Because they used untrained subjects in the study. Thus, a drawback of this study was due to using untrained people, they couldn’t differentiate between PL, CEE, and CM in terms of effects on bodycomp and strength within that time period as newbies always make fast progress in the beginning. No news there.

However, the study did achieve the essential point, which is it clearly showed the claims of CEE false: CEE had much higher creatinine levels and lower muscle creatine levels compared to CM in this study, thus, yet again, the claims by sellers of CEE that it’s superior to CM and that CM is “poorly absorbed” or “causes bloat,” or my favorite “CM is not stable,” etc are false. They also looked at changes in water compartments (CEE actually had a trend toward greater extra cellular water then CM BTW, so there goes that stupid “no bloat” claim for CEE…) and other issues claimed to make CEE superior, and it failed.

CEE is less stable then CM, increases creatinine to a much greater extent then CM, and is inferior for increasing muscle creatine levels to CM. This study is not perfect by any means, but when combined with what else exists, and the counter studies sellers of CEE offer (which is to say zero), well you don’t have to be a scientist to see the writing on the wall there…
CEE will be added to the creatine graveyard with a ton of others all claiming to be superior to CM which all started with big claims and now sit in the grave yard.

Two essential points about the grave yard before we get to that:

(1) Because they are in the grave yard does not mean they are worthless. Some forms, such as magnesium creatine chelate for example looked promising, but a head to head study with CM found it no better. Remember, another form does not have to show it’s the equal of CM, it has to show it’s superior to CM per its claims. Forms such as creatine pyruvate and many others on the list may be just as effective as CM, but not superior, so it comes down to cost. Others on the list have in fact been proven inferior to CM in studies, such as serum creatine, various liquid creatine versions, and now CEE. Serum creatine was all the rage a few years ago, and studies found not only was it inferior to CM in every respect, it contained virtually no creatine! Of course, there were still those on the various forums using ‘bro logic’ with “bro, I don’t care what the studies say, it works like da bomb for me!” posts, but I digress….Finally, other forms on the list simply lack any data at all to compare to CM. The companies selling these forms will routinely make claims of superiority with nadda for hard data to support them. Therefore, it’s impossible to really separate fact from fiction (i.e., marketing hype) to recommend them.
Me, I will use what has literally hundreds of studies to support its efficacy and safety over a form with zero data to support it’s claims of superiority over CM. Thus, they get put into the grave yard. Future studies may get them out of the graveyard, but I aint holding my breath…

(2) CM is not perfect. It’s not very soluble, and in about 30% of users, does not appear to work at all. At higher doses, generally above 3g-5g or so in a single dose, can cause stomach upset for some, among other small, but significant drawbacks for some users. Therefore, I am in favor of continued research into improved delivery technologies, improved forms of creatine, and so on. I’m all for it, but as they say, don’t piss on me and tell me it’s raining. In God we trust, everyone else must show data. Hard data talks, BS walks.

I could randomly take two forms from the list below, say dicreatine malate and creatine ethyl carbonate ester and make dicreatine malate creatine ethyl carbonate*, but would it be superior to CM? Unknown as there would be no data. I could just invent a bunch of unproven claims like others do and sell the stuff… Do companies just invent a form of creatine for no other reason then it sound “high tech”? Hell, one company (BSN) is currently in court over one form they sell, called CEM3 or “Creatine Ethyl Ester Malate” which according to the charges “does not exist and is impossible to manufacture”! As I said, CM is not perfect and I am all for continued research into improved (vs. just different!) forms of creatine and or improved delivery technologies, but companies should do their due diligence on these products and stop with all the hype and CM bashing to sell unproven products.

So, without further delay, here is my current list for the creatine graveyard:
The Creatine Graveyard List:

Creatine ethyl ester (CEE)
Creatine hydrochloride
creatine pyruvate
creatine taurinate
creatine ethyl ester malate
creatine ethyl carbonate ester
creatine gluconate
creatine malate
dicreatine malate
tricreatine malate
creatine citrate
tricreatine citrate
creatine phosphate
creatine alpha-ketoglutarate
creatine-6,8-thioctic Acid-ketoisocaproic Acid Calcium (CREAKIC)
creatine pyroglutamate
“conjugated creatine” (Con-Cret)
magnesium creatine chelate
creatine anhydrous
dicreatine orotate
tricreatine orotate
creatine alpha-amino butyrate
creatine HMB
“titrated creatine”
“creatine serum”
“liquid creatine”
glycocyamine (precursor)
creatinol-o-phosphate (analog)

* = for the sake of an example. I have no idea if such a form is chemically possible, nor do I care.

Efficacy of Alternative Forms of Creatine Supplementation on Improving Performance and Body Composition in Healthy Subjects

A Systematic Review

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: February 11, 2021

Novel forms of creatine have appeared in the marketplace with substantial claims of improved efficacy compared to creatine monohydrate (CrM). The purpose of this study was to conduct a systematic review on alternative forms of creatine to determine (a) whether they are effective ergogenic aids and (b) whether they outperform CrM.

A separate comparison was conducted to determine average cost of various forms of creatine. Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), PubMed, Medline, and Google Scholar were systematically reviewed according to PRISMA guidelines. The design of the review was set to answer the PICOS model (participants, interventions, comparators, outcomes, and study design).

Seventeen randomized placebo controlled clinical trials examining exercise performance outcomes and body composition were included in the analysis. Magnesium-creatine chelate and creatine citrate, malate, ethyl ester, nitrate, and pyruvate were the only forms researched in the literature.

Of these studies, only 3 studies compared the alternative creatine form to CrM, making it difficult to compare efficacy to CrM. There were no consistent findings of performance enhancement among alternative forms of creatine when compared to placebo.

A review of the marketplace shows that CrM is the lowest cost form of creatine. Due to the paucity of studies on alternative forms of creatine as well as high prices on the market of these alternative forms, CrM remains as the most extensively studied form of creatine that shows efficacy, safety, and lowest cost to consumer.

  1. Marc David 15 years ago

    Excellent write up! And right after I received yet another email … pitching Creatine Gluconate. Then it goes into all kinds of Bro Logic.
    Loved the term!

  2. Author
    Will Brink 15 years ago

    Yes, I was going to point you toward it per your questions on gluconate. My guess is it’s as good as CM, but not better. Factor in costs, and CM is again the easy choice.

  3. Jason 15 years ago

    What about micronized creatine? Is it any better than non-micronoized creatine?

  4. Author
    Will Brink 15 years ago

    Micronized mixes easier. That’s it’s only major advantage.

  5. Jason 15 years ago

    If I already have CEE pills, should I dump them? In other words, are they harming me?

  6. Frank 15 years ago

    Kre-Alkalyn in the graveyard? Come on dude. Do you take the stuff?

  7. Matt L 15 years ago

    Nice write up Will.
    I’ve always been a bit skeptical of those products with no credible studies that cost 3x’s as much MH.
    Sometimes I wonder if I’m actually missing out, but I’ve always figured that if anything is really that much better than MH, eventually someone will do some studies and give me a better reason to believe that it’s worth spending more on.
    But until then, I’m happy with my economical MH.

  8. Jim Persson 15 years ago

    Why do you not like Kre=Alkalyn; I thought it was equal to CM but less side effects and makes less creatinine?

  9. Author
    Will Brink 15 years ago

    Kre Alk is on that list for the same reason all the others are, which is outlined. The claims made by the company have either been proven to be false, and or there is not data to support them. A good review on that can be found here:

  10. Vengeance 15 years ago

    I think the wrong question is being asked in those studies. The question shouldn’t be whether or not CEE(or other forms) is better than CM in creatine responders, but whether it’s better for non-resonders, in which case most non-responders claim it is. I don’t think there are any studies testing the other forms vs CM in non-responders specifically.

  11. Author
    Will Brink 15 years ago

    That’s the question that should be asked (and now answered) because that’s exactly the claims made by sellers of CEE. Now a study where they took known non responders to CM and gave them CEE would be interesting for sure, but all the major claims of CEE have been debunked in my view. I see no reason it’s going to have any magical effects on CM non responders, but I agree it would make for an interesting study.

  12. Jason 15 years ago

    Will- I was still hoping you could answer my question regarding whether I should continue using up the CEE I already have? If it breaks down to creatinine won’t it be damaging my liver? Should I bite the bullet ($), trash it and go buy some monohydrate?

  13. Author
    Will Brink 15 years ago

    I would finish the CEE and move onto CM or throw out the CEE and get CM if it worries you.

  14. kelvin groves 15 years ago

    Thanks will another item i wont be putting on my shopping list.

  15. Mervyn 15 years ago

    Interesting article – just had an ad for ” Creatamax-X4™” – surprised that it is endorsed by a renown trainer –

  16. John Brennen 15 years ago

    I see that Kre-Alkalyn is in the graveyard, which may be deserved. I can say that I have had digestive probs with CM and none with
    Kre-Alkalyn. That is why I buy it and it works well for me.

    • Gerrit 13 years ago

      Hi. Sorry to see Kre-Alkalyn here aswell. I used to be on roids some time ago and lost a lot of srength since going of the roids. I saw Kre-Alkalyn on BB.com and gave it a try and must say I gained all my strentgh and endurance and size since using it for only three month now. Dont know what it does, bla, bla ,bla, bla, ATP and so but THIS STUFF WORKS!!!

      • Author
        willbrink 13 years ago

        Gerrit, Kre-alk is nothing but CM and baking soda essentially. Works, better then regular CM? How? It should 'work' approx the same as CM. Read carefully what puts various brands/types into the Graveyard, as well as my other responses here for more clarification on the issue.

  17. Alan Brewer 15 years ago

    Thanks so much for that Will. You have answered a question for me that i wanted to know the answer to. So now I can just go ahead and buy the cheaper Creatine Monohydrate, and not bother with the CEE. I wonder if you can clear up another anomally (if that’s the right term)? What is the difference between the capsules and the powder? The dosage (5g) of the powder seems to be far greater than that of the capsules. So how does that work?
    Besrt Regards Al

  18. Author
    Will Brink 15 years ago

    Caps generally cost more and may be be poorly absorbed. Read report. If you really want to know what works and what does not for pretty much all supplements on the market, including nutrition and training, and save yourself years of wasted time and money, I highly recommend you consider my ebook Bodybuilding Revealed. Good luck.

  19. Mike 15 years ago

    Thanks for another great blog, Will. It’s great to see someone point out that although technology and medicine move forward, it’s about 10% the rate at which new products hit the shelves. Just like new vehicles and changing styles or additional gadgets, supplement manufactures realize that advertising the newest “research-substantiated” and “breakthrough” products is going to sell the product faster than putting the same stuff on the shelves year after year. Not to mention the psychology; the more the “new and improved” product costs, the more credibility we give it, and the more willing we are to buy. We’re experiencing the highest rate of these “breakthrough” supplements because it’s all about who can virtually trademark the newest “term” as the new industry benchmark. When it comes to bodybuilding, I’m a proponent of hard work and sticking to the [supplement] basics, while keeping up-to-date with new options, techniques and ideas. Not to mention keeping my body free of these “mystery substances.”

  20. Author
    Will Brink 15 years ago

    Mike, I think you hit the nail on the head with those comments. Of course they don’t usually uses a term like “research-substantiated” as that’s too specific and too easy to disprove! Terms like “clinically proven” which does not really mean anything are what’s common. The problem is, the few companies that really do their best to use good science to sell their products are drowned out by the companies who use hype and BS over good science.

  21. jindrich 15 years ago

    Hello Will,
    thank you for excellent article!
    Creatine monohydrate did work for me at higher doses at 15 grams(15 grams once a day).
    I have to write that Gaspari’s SIZE ON (tablets) works like nothing before… My muscles feel full-going to explode…

  22. Martin UK 15 years ago

    I’ve never tried CM as all the info I read said it had to be taken with a ton of sugar / glucose several times a day and I didn’t want to sugar load. So I tried Kre-alkylyn, just 2 caps a day and no sugar and it worked great.
    So how about NOS Will? Doesn’t nicotinic acid do just the same job at a fraction of the price?

  23. Author
    Will Brink 15 years ago

    You don’t need to take sugar with CM, though studies suggest increased uptake when taken with high GI carbs. You can download my free report on creatine on the brinkzone site or http://www.creatine-report.com for more info on that. Not sure what you mean regarding NOS (nitric oxide synthase?) and nicotinic acid.

  24. Martin UK 15 years ago

    They both give you good pumps in the gym, NOS is about $60 and Nicotinic acid about $3.

  25. Author
    Will Brink 15 years ago

    I wouldn’t bother with either of them honestly. Neither has ever been shown to actually build muscle or improve strength. The pump is secondary to those goals.

  26. Mike M 15 years ago

    I’ve used CM many times, and it always causes bloat. Last year I added Kre-Alkalyn to the few supplements I take and it clearly has made my my workouts and my jogging easier.
    I tried it with skepticism, because I know from experience that most supplements are just marketing hype. There is no question that Kre-Alkalyn works.

  27. David 15 years ago

    Very glad you make this point about all the silly new forms of creatine. Our team at vitamins-dot-nl has been trying to keep these products out of Holland but sadly there is really no state organisation that prevents this type of consumer fraud.
    I hope this gets blogged around the world!

  28. andrew t. 15 years ago

    Will, I’ve have always wondered if products such as HMB and Vanadylsulphate actualy produce results in trained and untrained subjects. Also do you offer brand specific advice on these products? I’m a soldier in the military deploying in a few months and I need some strength and size gains before and during my deployment to AFgahnistan. straight shooting will serve volumes here……

  29. Roland Gilead 15 years ago

    Why Is Di-Malate in the graveyard? I use it and I notice better results than CM.

  30. Author
    Will Brink 15 years ago

    Andrew, I cover HMB, etc and pretty much everything on the market in my ebook, and give brand ame recs on them on the forums that come with the ebook, so if you want to know what works, what does not, as well as training and nutrition, and save yourself years of wasted time and $$$, the ebook is what you want. The data on HMB is conflicting at best and VS I didn’t know was even being sold anymore. Waste of $$$.
    Roland, the reason it’s on the list is explained fully in the write up. Not much else I can add to that. That you feel it works better for you then CM is great, but that’s not objective science.

  31. Roland Gilead 15 years ago

    Thanks for the response. Which write-up are you refering to? The short essay of yours that I just read? It has no scientific basis to say that it doesnt work..or that it doesnt work better.I also read your “creatine report” and to put it in the graveyard without putting it through its paces frankly bewilders me. If anything it should be in the E.R. or something haha. Obviously I will keep using DM as I get better results from it, and I had previously been a CM user for over 15 years.

  32. Author
    Will Brink 15 years ago

    Roland, “It has no scientific basis to say that it doesnt work.” is not how objective science works. You don’t prove a negative. That there is no scientific basis that it DOES work, is why it’s on the list. “Putting it through its paces” is to have actual hard data showing it’s equal to, much less superior to, CM, which does not exist. So other then the manufacturers claims, there is zero proof it’s superior to CM. Again, n =1 anecdotal reports like yours “I think it works better then CM for me” is fine, but it’s not science nor should it ever trump objective research. Again, read the above I wrote clearly, about why they are on the list, as well as “bro logic” which is what you are using here. Again, if you feel it works for you, great, but it’s not objective science and none exists for the form you currently use.

  33. Roland Gilead 15 years ago

    Why should it be in the graveyeard then..as in dead and not good for anything but rotting, if it hasn’t been thouroughly reseached? That notion seems like your getting ahead of yourself. My “Bro logic” is validated in the fact that I have compared the two with my own body. I am not endorsing its usage for anyone else based on that though, thats my own opinion, as CM bieng the king of creatines is yours. You lump all of the creatines into a mold of lesser or at the maximum equal effects, without there bieng any reasearch to prove or disprove that they ALL belong in that category. Thats hardly objective. Thats opinion bub. You would have to test them all equally and compare to be truly objective.
    CM may be the most reasearched, but it may not be the best form. Only time, research and hard data as you say will prevail in the combat of the creatines. Hard lifting guinea pigs,like myself though have been there done that and can SEE and FEEL the difference between them all.

  34. Author
    Will Brink 15 years ago

    I will not repeat myself as I think I have been very clear about why each are on the list. You seem unable to understand the difference between objective science methodology and simple subjective opinion. Thus, I am done attempting to explain it. Please refrain from future posting on the topic unless you have something new to offer here. Thanx and good luck with your efforts in the gym.

  35. Matt 15 years ago

    That’s the blessing and curse of DSHEA of 1994.
    It’s nice that we have freedom to buy stuff that HASN’T been shown empirically to be bad for our bodies, because that makes it more of a pain in the butt for people with alternate agenda’s to ban stuff that SHOULD be legal. But with that freedom, it also opens the door to products whose effectiveness is questionable, or even products that are bad for our health. So there are definite pros&cons to the current legislative status of the supplement industry in the USA.
    If someone comes out w/ a new product, and they have to chose between paying for expensive peer reviewed studies on the product, (Risking the possibility of it showing the product to be worthless) or simply selling based on some testimony of some random gym rats espousing what we are referring to on here as “bro logic”, and making a lot of money until someone else produces the expensive studies that either support or refute those claims, the choice is obvious. To a business minded person it’s just common sense.
    I’m NOT inferring that I personally take that position, but the reality of the current legislative specifications does have a tremendous influence on the mentality of companies in the business, and I DO understand WHY that is the case. Albeit (one could argue) unfortunate.
    The problem is, that if we started REQUIRING that the companies (as opposed to the FDA or whoever) be the ones responsible for baring the “burden of proof”:
    A: The wealth would be concentrated in the hands of the few companies rich enough to afford the studies, which creates a sort of supplement company “oligarchy”. (Weather that’s good or bad is for you to decide, since it no doubt depends on your perspective and intentions.)
    B: Prices for products that finally did become validated as being safe and effective would be MANY times more expensive. BAD if your a consumer, and GOOD if your one of those few companies that monopolized.
    This would partially be to offset the high prices of the studies, but also to compensate for the money lost in products that didn’t make the grade, (but still cost the company money to produce and study).
    I don’t have a “perfect” solution.
    for the consumers: If more people remain agnostic about newly hyped products until more credible evidence is produced, then the smart companies would quickly realize that investing their time into long-shot products and riding the initial wave of excitement until people realize it’s nothing special, will no longer seem as attractive an option.
    I suspect that this would be better than discarding DSHEA because products that people who have done their home work chose to invest in will not be in danger of arbitrary banning. So the responsibility would be on the individual to become aware of the available information (or lack thereof) on a product they chose to consider.
    The companies will always just be adjusting to the conditions of the market and legislation anyway. If consumers will buy any crap that “Big Eddie” or whoever at the gym says worked, then the companies will be compelled to put new unqualified stuff out and hype the hell out of it until proven otherwise.
    There’s an upshot AND a down shot to that. If it really IS all that great and the research to support it is just simply lagging behind, then you get an effective product for low cost, but if it’s NOT really all Big Eddie cracked it up to be, then you are paying for a placebo effect. In which case, self hypnosis cd’s would probably be cheaper and last longer.
    What people do with their money is not only a personal responsibility, but it also has ripple effects on the practices on the industries practices because business people will always have to react to the stimuli of their environment, or else they wouldn’t BE business people.

  36. sandow 14 years ago

    I find it disheartening that even after a product has been trashed by science, people still want to defend it. There is such a strong anti-science, anti-intellectualism current in bodybuilding that allows shady manufacturers to keep selling their snake oil, and the sad thing is the consumer actually would rather believe the lies, and will vigorously defend the lies. Your anecdotal experience means nothing. That includes mine as well. There are far too many variables in a persons training, diet, other supplementation, and the most significant variable, the mind
    That is why studies need to be placebo controlled, because people can trick themselves into believing a product works and they will perform better. People will experience negative side effects (like bloat) because they expect them. Creatine bloating is very rare and not at all the way most people describe it. People are too easily influenced by marketing and other people’s opinions to adequately evaluate a supplement. That is why strict scientific protocols are needed to determine if a product truly is effective. I have been in this area for a long time and have seen hundreds of products come out and are praised highly, and then later disappear because they were not really effective. Placebo is your wallets enemy.

  37. sandow 14 years ago

    One other comment. It is not the role of science to prove a product does not work, it is the DUTY OF THE PRODUCER TO PROVE THEIR PRODUCT DOES WORK. I can not stand it when people ask critics of a product to prove it does not work. That is scientifically, logically, and ethically backwards, wrong headed reasoning. If a person makes a substantive claim about their product, ie my new product will make you stronger, I the proponent has the burden of demonstrating the truth and validity of this statement. The skeptical person asking for proof of these claims is completely in the right. The skeptic has absolutely no burden to disprove the products effectiveness. The product has to be proven effective. Just because someone makes a claim to efficacy does not make it so. They have to be able to substantiate those claims. Only a fool would take a company’s “word for it” that a product works as advertised. They are trying to get your money, demanding proof before handing it over is the wise course of action.

  38. Sultan17 14 years ago

    I was looking for a type of creatine in the grave yard that I couldn’t find a headstone for…creatine hydrochloride as in GNC’s Pro Performance AMP. The label claims 189% improved muscle creatine absorption, the power of 5g of creatine in 2 tablets, and 400% increase in dose efficiency. I would imagine that it probably falls into the category of “equal to or less effective than CM, but at an equal or higher cost,” but would you mind confirming or referring me to a resource if you can? Thanks for all your expertise!

  39. Author
    Will Brink 14 years ago

    Sultan, I guess I need to add that one to the list, but it’s hard to keep up with them all! If CM saturates muscles cells to 100% (and it does) how does one make something 189% better? Anyway, I don’t know exactly what that claim is based on so, it’s hard to know if it’s as you say, “equal to or less effective than CM, but at an equal or higher cost,” but my guess is you are probably correct there.

    • Michael 12 years ago

      Hey will and sultan.
      i know i have missed the boat massively as this was posted in 2009 but i have recently noticed some creatine HCL in the salt form….
      I am a pharmacist and understand how the HCL substituent works to change the micro environment around each its attached molecule, altering the pH all in an effort to increase solubility, which is a very proven method in copious amounts of therapeutic drugs. However, is this the case with creatine? i struggled to find any reliable data on creatine itself (i.e dissolution coefficients or pKa values etc) and couldnt make an educated response as to weather it would increase the dissolution rate more so then CMono.
      whats your take on all of this? Is the pKa of creatine even in a valid range to make all of this worth while?
      love the website.
      constructive, unbiased, zero marketing sh**, and backing of all the claims you make.

      • Michael G 9 years ago

        Hello Will,
        Could you be so kind and reply to Michaels (the guy from the post above me, this is not me, just the same name as it happens).
        I’m really curious and been watching and reading your inputs religiously but haven’t found a statement on Creatine HCL. I am using it alternatively to CM and observe a really good performance in the gym when i use HCL.

  40. Kieran 14 years ago

    I’ve tried many Creatine and personally CM has always the one I have to be found to be the best in terms of increased strength and muscle mass. I took Kre-alk tabs and though they were absolutely hopeless!

  41. Jack S. 14 years ago

    I can’t take CM as it upsets my stomach and I seem to have a hard time getting it down.
    Over the last year I’ve been using a product with Creatine Kre-Alkalyn and beta-alanine in pill form. My workouts went through the roof for about 6 months, but settled down after that. Now I’m about to try a similar product with beta-alanine and creatine magnesium-chelate. Most people would question why I would change something that was obviously working. I just can’t stop searching for a magic pill, or at least something close to magic.

  42. lesil jyoti 14 years ago

    kre alkalyn “Kre-Alkalyn is the top most creatine supplement on the market. It does work, sharing my experience..”

  43. James 14 years ago

    I am one of the unfortunate few who can’t take monohydrate due to stomach upset. I can barely eat all day after taking 5 g in the morning; obviously counterproductive to gaining weight or strength.
    Do you know of any studies at all with malate forms of creatine? If it is even AS good as CM but without the stomach upset I would be thrilled. Some of the tricreatine and dicreatine malate products have come down in price recently so they are making a little more since economically.
    I should note that I am a chemist so I do see through the hype surrounding the “structures” of these supplements. In fact, since creatine is an amino acid and is what is known as a zwitter ion (both positive and negative charges in the same molecule that cancel each other out to make the molecule net neutral), it can’t form the types of bonds or structures most of the supplement companies claim. For example, tricreatine malate does not exist as a discreet molecule. It is just a mixture of creatine and malic acid. However, the three “OH” groups on malic acid may form what is known as hydrogen bonds with the creatine and thus take the place of the waters of hydration in creatine monohydrate. This could change it’s physical properties (solubility, taste) but it is unlikely to change it’s biological effect unless there is synergy (or an antagonistic effect) between malic acid and creatine.
    I don’t have access at this time to a decent scientific library or I wouldn’t need to ask but are you aware of any studies AT ALL that look at creatine malate mixtures? Just using my knowledge of chemistry and biology, my GUESS would be the malate formulations would be no different than the monohydrate in terms of creatine loading and creatinine formation. The malate part may have an additive effect on ATP production (or not).

    • Author
      Will Brink 14 years ago

      There are no studies that directly compare CM to that form. On paper, Cr-malate should be at least as effective as CM. The malate, as you point out, might have some added benefits due to the Krebs cycle, but data is lacking specific to that form of creatine vs CM. If you have problems with CM, malate, citrate, gluconate, and Mg forms might be worth trying. They will cost a bit more, but at worst, should be equal in effect to CM. Unlike CEE, and some others in the graveyard list, they are not likely to be any worse then CM in terms of conversion to creatinine, etc.
      On CM, make sure it’s fully dissolved before taking. That often solves most stomach issues.

  44. Kevin Huxford 14 years ago

    God bless you, man. I recently encountered one of those pro-Kre-Alkalyn pages that claims CM degrades completely to creatinine in 8 minutes in water and was about to panic to buy another pre-workout drink that uses Kre-Alkalyn instead of any of the other forms. I use a pre-workout drink for the energy and psychological benefits, preferring one with some form of creatine for consolidation purposes.
    After reading this and a few other sites, I realized that the stability difference claims aren’t quite legitimate, so I’ll finish what I have, rather than make a panic buy to replace it.

    • Author
      Will Brink 14 years ago

      Kevin, CM is quite stable for at least days. No worries there.

  45. Conway 14 years ago

    Hey there,
    I’ve just bought some CR2 (Creatine Di-Phosphate) and i didn’t see any comments related to it. You have creatine phosphate in the graveyard, so im hoping there’s a bit of a difference in CR2.
    I’ve done small bits of research on CR2 but it’s very hard to find something that isn’t written by ALRI. From what i’ve read, you have a great knowledge of the different types of creatine so it would be really great if you could shed some light on the di-phosphate if you know anything about it.
    Great thread so far, and i hope you can help me.

    • Author
      Will Brink 14 years ago

      Conway, that form will be in the graveyard list for the same reasons as the others: simply no real solid data showing it to be superior to CM.

  46. Kevin Huxford 14 years ago

    I just thought of a question: I know Kre-Alkalyn is in the graveyard because it is, at best, only equal to CM. But I just remembered today that Cytosport uses Kre-Alkalyn in their Monster Milk RTD formula. Is there any data to back up the idea that it doesn’t break down to creatinine in liquid? Mind you, I don’t buy a protein drink based on content other than the actual protein, but I’d be interested in finding out if that Kre-Alkalyn is providing any benefit at all.

    • Author
      Will Brink 14 years ago

      Kevin, there’s no reason to think the Kre-alk is more stable in liquids then CM over time. CM is stable in liquid for days at least (contrary to claims by makers of Kre-alk) but over months, a % will convert to creatinine. Creatine, in any form, is not stable in liquids over long periods of time, so I would not recommend using creatine added to liquids that sit on store shelves for months at a time. The Creatinine will not do you any harm per se, but you are not getting the dose of creatine you paid for either.

  47. Kevin Huxford 14 years ago

    Thanks, Will! I really appreciate the quick response to my comments.

  48. Lewis 14 years ago

    There is so much hype on Kre-Alkalyn by people that seem to know there stuff.
    Or at least that seems to know there stuff. Like Elliott Hulse, Dan Doberman and many more.
    It gets very fratration tring to figure out who is telling you the truth and who is just tring to sell you something.
    What is your outlook on Kre=alkalyn creatine..(help)

    • Author
      Will Brink 14 years ago

      Lewis, as that brand of creatine is listed in the graveyard, and I outline how types/products are added to the list, you already have my opinion. There is nothing that convinces me it’s superior in any way to monohydrate at this time.

    • Jef Delaeu 12 years ago

      It has been proven that Kre-Alkalyn does the same thing as mono. Nothing more, nothing less, you only pay a lot more for it.

  49. Amanda Thim 13 years ago

    I admire the post created by you and would look for similar posts by you which would surely help us in one or the other ways. Thanq

  50. Tonda Weisenhorn 13 years ago

    I have been seeking savvy recommendations on natural health and think that your site is a good source of information. It is not easy to find reliable suggestions on the Internet, but I think I can put this to use! If you know of any more savvy ideas, please let me know. Thanks a bunch!

  51. Steff G 13 years ago

    I'd say it all depends on the person. We all respond differently. I used CM and the effects were bloat and slightly more strength on the bench.. I used CEE and lost bloat. Bench went from 187lb's to 222lb's in just two weeks.
    Your write up is very good though. Dont get me wrong. Im not one of those internet forum whores that take the piss outta people 🙂 Good write up.

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  53. Nick 13 years ago

    Will, im taking optimum micronized creatine and supposedly its a top brand creatine. What's you thought on that creatine, the brand Optimum and Gaspari Nutrition?

  54. scott 13 years ago

    Will talk about tanning without the sun for bodybuilding.

  55. Tony 13 years ago

    Hey Will, I was wondering what your thoughts are on Creatine Nitrate, I got some pills called Cre-8 by Body Fuse and wasn’t sure about them and I thought that I should ask someone who would know, so thanks for your help, it’s very much appreciated.

  56. David 13 years ago

    Hi Will,
    I was wondering if you could tell me if my creatine is kept in a dry cool place for a long period of time will it degrade ?
    I found i have nearly 180 Tablets of CM in my supplement stash(I know now creatine tabs are a poor choice). I looked container but the expiry date is no longer legible i was wondering. I know its not more than 4 years old.
    Is it safe to use ? I hate to waste money

  57. Rosario Faucette 13 years ago

    Thanks alot for this fascinating article! I wish i had discovered this site ages ago, so much valuable information…

  58. David 13 years ago

    Hi Will,
    I appreciate your website and have learned a gret deal from your well researched informative articles and videos.
    I am 46 years old and have tried many different creatines over the years and I have to tell you that Con-Cret creatine is far superior to monohydrate for “me” and “my body”.
    I play a lot of ice hockey and need to be a little on the leaner side and agile but strong. I have absolutely no stomach issues with Con-Cret (which I did with Monohydrate) and it has allowed me to drop weight and gain signifigant strength. It also mixes instantly in a very small amount of water. I have intoduced it to a lot of the younger guys around the rink and they have had the same experience.
    Just because there may not be any “scientific research” to back up their claims doesn’t mean that the product does not work for some people.
    Based on my experience it is worth every penny and I will never go back to Monohydrate. If regular Creatine works for you, that’s great , but try to have an open mind based on actual user experience.
    Keep up the good work,

    • Author
      Will Brink 13 years ago

      “Just because there may not be any “scientific research” to back up their claims doesn’t mean that the product does not work for some people. ”
      If you read my article closely, you will see I make a similar point, but it also means the effect may simply be placebo, and or no more effective then CM but at a higher $$$, etc. That’s why legit studies need to exist, to parse all that out.

  59. ON Gold Standard Whey 13 years ago

    Wow, superb weblog format! How lengthy have you ever been running a blog for? you make running a blog glance easy. The entire look of your web site is magnificent, let alone the content material!

  60. Keagan 12 years ago

    Will….thanks for sharing your knowledge. Im a “Newbie” in weightlifting and Im a hard gainer. Simply put : skinny 135lb weakling. My goal is to put on at least 15-20lbs of muscle mass. I have a few questions. I recently bought ” Amplified Creatine XXX (micronized)” from GNC. What are your thoughts on this creatine? Its a powder with 3g micronized arginine and 7g amino acid complex. Ive heard alot of bad things about taking creatine like…its going to absorb all your fluids and if you dont drink exactly 8 glasses of water a day it will be toxic and make you sick or worse. So Ive been reluctant to start it b/c I dont consume nearly that much water. Any advice you could provide me with will be greatly appreciated. Thanks again!

  61. Kristy 12 years ago

    I know powder is a better form than tablets, but how does Creatine Diphosphate stach up in your opinion? Does the CM you mention come in a tablet form?

    • Author
      Will Brink 12 years ago

      That form would be on the graveyard list for reasons listed in the article. Tablet forms of creatine are a waste of $$$ generally. Stick to powders.

  62. Risel 12 years ago

    Dear Will,
    I have been reading this blog and I am wondering how you say all this and bash a creatine which on its label shows the study results proving that it worked better than CM with a LOWER DOSE?! (With only a quarter of the regular dose actually.) Other creatines that you put into this “graveyard” have the benefits of CM but provide different benefits. Creatine Malate with the bonded Malic Acid helps to get rid of lactic acid build up to improve endurance. Creatine Nitrate helps to vasodilate the blood cells. You never take an Arginine supplement with Creatine?? This is where the dollar difference comes in. If you want to be cheap there is nothing wrong with that but don’t slam products that are PROVEN to out perform CM. CM is a solid product that can give good results but the same technology for 30+ years will improve at some point. For creatine this has already happened but you refuse to accept it.

    • Author
      Will Brink 12 years ago

      My logic for placing those forms in the graveyard, as well as additional comments below it, are outlined fully, so I will not rehash it here. I read the primary studies, have been published in science journals on creatine (see my bio), have done paid consulting for major manufacturers of creatine and other supplements, been an invited speaker on the topic, etc, etc,
      Thus my knowledge of creatine exceeds the detractors of my conclusions in this article by miles. Thus, you are welcome to believe what you will, and I will continue to supply the insider knowledge I have of the topic without allowing supplement hype pushing pretend research to change my approach…If you feel you have a legit study to supply that counters anything I have stated, feel free to supply it 🙂

      • jimmy 12 years ago

        Well, personal experience trumps biased science. All I know is monohydrate makes me feel awful. Kre-alkalyn has never done that. Therefore, putting kre-alkalyn on your dead list makes me not trust your reviews of other products as well.

        • Author
          Will Brink 12 years ago

          No, placebo effect does not trump science. Biased? Share your extensive science knowledge/background and outline how the data is biased. One more time, KA is CM + soda ash, so add some baking soda to your CM if you’re so convinced it’s superior. KA is in the graveyard for reasons explained, and supported by recent studies. If you prefer placebo effect driven by misleading marketing, that’s your business. I just supply the facts as they exist, and let people (hopefully) make decisions based on objective science vs bro science and placebo.
          BTW Jimmy/CG, nice attempt at posting as two different people, but I checked the IP and they are identical (IP Address: Communications) which usually means the person is a company rep and or has some
          vested interest in the product.
          So, you are busted. Good luck…

  63. Jef Delaeu 12 years ago

    I actually started to doubt the credibilty of this article as soon as I saw COP (creatinol-o-phosphate) in the list. It has ‘creatin’ in its name but it’s not a creatine and doesn’t work like creatine. I do agree that most / all of the ‘better’ creatines are total bogus.

  64. Bear 11 years ago

    First time taking creatine any suggestions need help please

    • Author
      Will Brink 11 years ago

      Lots of free articles here and an entire vid series covering all the most common questions on creatine under “topics” heading at the top of the page. Start there. Good luck

  65. Jonathan 11 years ago

    Hey Will! Love the article. I do have a question though. I know Con-cret made your list. Now what is the differences between them in terms of how they will effect your body? Like gains in muscle, endurance etc. I currently use con-cret. I’ve never taken any other kind. I LOVE con-cret. My question in short is, is Con-cret inferior or not proven to be better just the same as mono?

    • Author
      Will Brink 11 years ago

      No studies exist looking at the effects of Con-Cret on end points like strength, performance, muscle mass etc either alone or compared to CM with one small study finding faster serum levels with Con-Cret likely due to it’s improved solubility. “On paper” it should be as effective as CM, but considering the price compared to CM, and the lack of real head 2 head studies, I see no reason to use Con-Cret. However, I don’t consider it a scam product (eg, various liquid creatines) or sub sub par to CM like CEE. If you like Con-Cret and don’t mind spending the extra $$$ on it, I’d say keep using it.

  66. John 11 years ago

    hi will i have been taken creatine monohydrate for 4 months now with great results.My friend told me controled labs green madnitude is way better,but after reading your article i doubt there is a difference.Please could u set me straight.cheers will.

    • Author
      Will Brink 11 years ago

      Simply read the label on the product and see what forms of creatine are used and compare to the list above. I recall they used a mixture of creatine forms.

  67. John Smith 11 years ago

    Hi Guys,
    You’ve convinced me that nothing has been proven superior to CM. How should I take it?
    1. Should I load or not?
    2. Should I take it pre-workout or post-workout?
    3. What should I use pre or post workout (dextrose, maltodextrin, fruit juice, etc.).

    • Author
      Will Brink 11 years ago

      Under “topics” at the top of the page, will take you to the creatine vids I did which covers most common questions on creatine. Give those a watch 🙂

    • Author
      Will Brink 9 years ago

      All covered in my vid series on creatine found in the Topics section above.

  68. brian g 11 years ago

    what about CREAPURE.. and the HIPE of claims

    • Author
      Will Brink 9 years ago

      Do a search for Creapure on the site here. I cover it in several places. That’s the creatine source I use and recommend.

  69. Danny Ottaway 11 years ago

    I have been using a product called Phosphagen 2.0 for almost 3 weeks combined with a strenuous workout schedule. My weight has pretty much remained the same. I can see that I have leaned up just a bit. Is this a good product? If so should I expect a little weight gain in these 3 weeks? Thank you in advance for your time to respond……Danny

    • Rob G 7 years ago

      Expensive =D

  70. Joe rosa 10 years ago

    How do u rate creatine amp 189
    ThAnks joe

  71. Rob G 7 years ago

    Sir, I read the creatine Ethyl Ester vs Monohydrate.and I wasn’t surprised. There are too many marketed versions that don’t surpass the effects of good old Creatine Monohydrate. Now my question is, is Creatine HCL any good? And do patented forms of Creatine Monohydrate like the German Creapure have any better benefits? I currently take Doctor’s Best Creatine powder featuring Creapure 300 grams ($11). Thank you sir.

    • Will Brink 7 years ago

      You’ll find HCL listed in the article… No study to date finds it superior to CM.

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