Considered to be the most effective bodybuilding supplement in existence today, creatine is a metabolite that is produced by the body and is comprised of 3 amino acids: arginine, methionine, and glycine. The supplement’s main function is to extend the ATP cycle when training, ATP being the molecule that fuels muscle contractions while performing a weight lifting exercise.
As the number of reps increases, ATP gets depleted setting the stage for the production of lactic acid which causes muscle fatigue, thereby prompting the end of the exercise. This is where creatine supplements come in; they essentially increase the time interval prior to ATP depletion and thus increase the number of reps that can be performed, which results in more muscle growth.
The supplement has been proven to enhance the performance of athletes and bodybuilders, as well as individuals outside the sports world; for instance, creatine is used to help prevent muscle loss it the elderly.
The supplement comes in a number of different forms, but the basic function is the same in that regardless of the form, the supplement serves to increase muscle volume and ameliorate strength in addition to increasing ATP levels.
Creatine supplements come in 5 different forms: powder, liquid, gum, pill, and effervescent powder.
Powdered creatine is the most popular of all creatine forms. It is the cheapest and can easily be mixed into a shake or a glass of juice. From a medical standpoint, powdered creatine is well-tested as it has served as the basis for virtually all studies of the supplement.
Liquid creatine costs more than its powdered counterpart. However, the advantage of liquid creatine lies in the fact that it is absorbed by the body quicker and more efficiently. Weightlifters who take the supplement in powder form usually have to wait 30 to 45 minutes prior to engaging in a workout session in order to maximize its effects. With liquid creatine, there is not much of a waiting period.
Another advantage of liquid creatine is that unlike the powder, it doesn’t latch on to food particles which can cause a hindrance in absorption and thus decrease the effects of the supplement.
Although not very popular among weightlifters and athletes in general, creatine gum can be very effective. By virtue of its release in the mouth through chewing, the supplement’s absorption rate is estimated to be higher than that of powder and liquid.
Creatine pills are steadily gaining in popularity. One of their advantages is that they can be purchased as 100 percent creatine or as mix of minerals, vitamins, and amino acids along with the metabolite. Although, pills can present a problem with dosage as they have to be taken as they come.
Essentially consisting of creatine, sodium and an effervescing agent, this form of creatine provides a substantially better absorption rate. It is also a better tasting version of the supplement as compared to the other forms.
The downside to effervescent creatine is two-fold; it’s highly expensive and comes coated with sugar which is generally avoided by bodybuilders.