Creatine has always been one of the best-selling supplements to ever hit the market. The reason? It works! And while the most researched and most popular form of creatine is monohydrate, a laundry list of other forms now exists. Creatine monohydrate is a very effective form of creatine, but these other forms can be absorbed by the body and taken up by the muscles differently. The answer may not be to completely replace monohydrate with other forms, but to combine them to get the benefits of each form for maximal results. That’s precisely what numerous supplement companies are now doing—offering creatine products that blend three or more different forms, such as creatine monohydrate, creatine citrate, and creatine alpha-keto-glutarate. And there are a host of other forms being used that may be equally as effective when combined.
This tried-and-true form of creatine is the one that made it the most popular supplements to ever hit shelves and online shopping carts. Hundreds of studies have been done on creatine showing that it significantly boosts muscle size and strength, and even muscle power and endurance, not to mention a host of other health benefits. The majority of these studies used monohydrate. It works, and that’s backed by science.
This form of creatine is composed of the creatine molecule attached to citric acid— an intermediate of the Krebs cycle (the metabolic pathway that produces aerobic energy within your muscle cells). Because of this, creatine citrate may provide your muscles greater energy than other creatine forms. The citrate also allows it to dissolve better when mixed in water, which enhances its uptake by the body. One study from Baylor University (Waco, TX) even reported that supplementing with creatine citrate actually increased the number of creatine receptors in muscle cells. Having more receptors means that more creatine gets taken up by the muscles.
This form of creatine is simply creatine attached to alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG). You are likely familiar with the popular nitric oxide booster arginine alpha-ketoglutarate. Like arginine-AKG, attaching the alpha-ketoglutarate to creatine may allow you to take in more and increases the amount that gets into your muscles.
This table lists several products that contain one or more of the creatine forms discussed above, in addition to several other varieties that are very effective, too.