Creatine is one of the most well-researched and effective sports supplements to exist today. It’s one of the best supplements to increase power, strength, and peak performance for any athlete at any level.
However, there are many different types of creatine, and finding the best type can be a challenge due to so many choices. You have many options such as Creapure, creatine malate, kre-alkalyn, and monohydrate, making it confusing to know which provides the best results.
So, how can you determine which is the best form of creatine? You’ve come to the right place!
This article weighs up the differences between kre-alkalyn and monohydrate, outlining which may be the better one to go for. We will also include some special mentions to help give you a more well-rounded perspective, so that you can decide what type of creatine is right for you.
Firstly, what is creatine and what does it do?
Creatine is a non-essential dietary protein-like compound found naturally in the body and in some foods, such as meat and fish. Once ingested, creatine travels to the muscle cells and attaches to an energy phosphate, turning it into phosphocreatine (PCr), or creatine phosphate.
Through this process, creatine can then donate the PCr molecule, which causes a chemical reaction and creates ATP (adenosine triphosphate). This compound is then utilized by muscle cells for rapid energy use and muscle contraction.
Thus, having more creatine in your muscle cells will lead to more ATP being produced, which comes in particularly useful during high intensity activity. This then leads to gains in strength, power, speed, and muscle growth.
The primary benefit of creatine is improvements in strength and power output during resistance training. When creatine is taken alongside a resistance training program, it may help increase lean mass. Additionally, it has also been shown to have potential benefits for anaerobic running capacity and even cognitive performance.
What is Creatine Monohydrate?
Creatine monohydrate is the most widely researched form of creatine, and notably the most effective in enhancing exercise performance, promoting muscle strength, and increasing lean mass.
Research has consistently shown that creatine monohydrate supplementation increases muscle creatine and phosphocreatine levels by a significant amount, thus enhancing anaerobic training capacity and increasing training volume.
However, despite the much positive research in this area, creatine monohydrate does have a few possible drawbacks.
- It may cause gastrointestinal issues such as bloating or cramping due to the conversion by-product, creatinine
- Creatine monohydrate often requires a loading phase for about 5 days before the regular dosing strategy thereafter
- Creatine monohydrate also sometimes requires cycling, such as 1 week loading phase, 5 weeks of maintenance, and 1-2 weeks off
What is Kre-Alkalyn?
Kre-alkalyn is a patented pH-corrected form of creatine, which was created to address the possible side effects associated with monohydrate, or creatinine.
Kre-alkalyn contains alkaline powder in order to adjust the pH balance, unlike many other forms of creatine which don’t have this.
This way, kre-alkalyn has the ability to deliver concentrated amounts of creatine without the conversion to creatinine, which is the culprit to many of the side effects.
In summary, kre-alkaline does not require a loading phase, has minimal side effects, and is thought to be a more bioavailable form of creatine compared to monohydrate.
Though, does this necessarily mean kre-alkalyn is the better form?
Creatine Monohydrate Vs Creatine Kre-Alkalyn
While kre-alkalyn does have many advantages, such as no need to have a loading phase, etc. This does not necessarily mean it is the best form.
Creatine monohydrate may have some slight downsides, but ultimately it is the most inexpensive and proven type of creatine on the market.
It is the most widely used form of creatine, and the form most used in research, which is a strong indication of its effectiveness and safety. Many, if not all, of the positive effects associated with creatine use (such as increases in muscle strength, size, and power) come from research on monohydrate.
Many manufacturers in recent times have made bold claims around their versions of creatine being more present in muscles, however as much as 99% of monohydrate is delivered to your muscles, so there isn’t really much to improve on when it comes to bioavailability!
Additionally, the effectiveness of kre-alkalyn is not yet widely research, particularly when compared to monohydrate. However, you can definitely still get the gains from both of these forms of creatine!
What About Other Forms of Creatine?
- Creatine Hydrochloride (HCL)
The main advantages with this form of creatine is that is holds less water, thus has minimal bloating side effects.
While many manufacturers market this type as superior to monohydrate, there are not many claims to back this up. Though, it may be worth a try if monohydrate does give you side effects such as bloating and GI issues.
- Creatine Nitrate
The primary benefit with this form of creatine is that is requires a smaller dose. Though, some claims have lead people to believe that it provides additional benefits due to the nitrate molecule.
However, once again, research has not quite fulfilled these claims and it is thought to be just as effective as monohydrate!
The Bottom Line
Creatine is one of the most popular and widely-recommended sports supplement on the market today. With so much research backing up its efficacy and safety, it is often a no-brainer supplement for athletes of any level.
However, there are many different types of creatine which each claim to have certain advantages over the most popular and well-research form, monohydrate.
While creatine monohydrate does have minor downfalls, such as a required loading phase and potential side effects, this is not particularly true for every user, nor does it impact it’s actual effectiveness on muscle strength and power.
Other popular forms of creatine include kre-alkalyn, creatine hydrochloride, and creatine nitrate, which all claim to have smaller advantages over monohydrate, such as no required loading phase, minimal side effects, and additional benefits.
However, there is no solid research to back up many of these claims, and it turns out that these forms are just as effective as monohydrate, which has truly to be shown as the most inexpensive and effective form.
Creatine monohydrate has high solubility and bioavailability, making it very efficient and a tough form to beat!