Creatine. Every serious strength athlete uses it or probably has at some point their career. I know that my career as a competitive powerlifter and bodybuilder has benefited greatly from it. When I speak of creatine, I typically mean creatine monohydrate. It is the most widely used creatine by far, and is the most researched. Another creatine has come into the light, known as creatine nitrate. Basically, it is creatine bonded to a nitrate, a polyatomic ion, instead of a single water molecule like creatine monohydrate. I’ve never tried it personally, but I do know a few things about it.
Every strength trainee wants the edge, and many will try every supplement under the sun, thinking some are better than others, and this is very true. There’s so many supplement companies with so many products, all promising to get you more pumped than the other guy. No matter what you do, don’t buy into the hype that the companies put out there for their products, even if they have “studies” saying that theirs is better. Believe the science, if there is any, that backs up their claims. There’s a reason creatine has held its own in the market for over 20 years, and continues to be the number one supplement on the market. But creatine is best? Could it be this creatine nitrate? Let’s take a look.
As I said before creatine nitrate is simply creatine bonded to a nitrate anion rather than a water molecule. So what does this mean? Does it make it more bioavailable? More water-soluble? Does it give a better pump? The companies claim that it is much more water-soluble, and to me, this is very believable, taken the characteristics of the nitrate family, which is highly soluble (something I actually remember from Chem 177). The thing is, how water-solubility has nothing to do with bioavailability. All this would do is make the product mix a little better in a drink, and mono is already pretty good with that. Unfortunately, there are no actual studies that say whether creatine nitrate is more bioavailable than normal creatine monohydrate, but from what the research done on creatine monohydrate already says, its pretty doubtful. More than 98% of creatine is absorbed by the body, while the remainder is converted to creatinine, a useless byproduct. So if creatine nitrate is actually more bioavailable, it is not by much.
So we know that creatine nitrate is unlikely more bioavailable, so how effective it is as a creatine product is no better than creatine monohydrate. So that’s it? Creatine nitrate sucks and mono is king? Not so fast. Nitrates are a great supplement on their own to get you jacked up by increasing nitric oxide in your body. This means you have more oxygen in your blood, giving you the ability to go harder in the weight room with your big sets, and get those last reps with ease. Many guys call creatine nitrate the best of both worlds with creatine and nitrate. Many say they get a better pump with creatine nitrate than with creatine alone. This chemistry does make sense to me, and this is my advice. If you want the benefits of creatine alone, it doesn’t get better than creatine monohydrate. If you want to try the power of nitrates as well, I would try a nitrate separately to see if its what you want. Then try creatine nitrate to see if it gets you both results in one, as many say it does. As there are no reliable scientific studies done on it yet, this is the way it must be done if you don’t trust what others say. Its all part of this journey. Enjoy the gains.
Philips, Shawn. “Stupid Human Creatine Myth #71 : Elevated Creatinine Levels.” Start Strong Monday. 2 September 2011. Web. 13 June 2014.
“Creatine Nitrate: Side effects, studies, and reviews.” The Best Creatine Supplement Guide. Web. 13 June 2014.