What is Creatine?

Creatine is a widely used dietary supplement known for its potential to enhance athletic performance and support muscle growth.

Creatine functions by increasing the availability of phosphocreatine (PCr) in muscle cells. During intense physical activity, PCr is rapidly broken down to generate ATP, the energy currency of cells. ATP supplies the energy required for muscle contractions. However, ATP stores are limited and quickly depleted during high-intensity exercise. By supplementing with creatine, individuals can increase their muscle stores of PCr. This allows for a more rapid regeneration of ATP, thereby extending the capacity for intense muscular contractions. The increased availability of ATP enables individuals to perform at higher intensities and for longer durations, leading to enhanced athletic performance and improved muscle strength and power. Additionally, creatine may also facilitate the influx of water into muscle cells, promoting cell volumisation, which has been associated with increased protein synthesis and muscle growth.

Creatine isn’t a miracle supplement, it just may help give a boost in the gym to squeeze out one more rep compared to if you weren’t taking it.

There are various types of creatine on the market.

Creatine Monohydrate – Recommended dose 5g daily (positive effects seen at 3g)

  1. Increased Strength and Power: Creatine monohydrate has consistently demonstrated the ability to improve strength and power output, making it beneficial for activities requiring bursts of energy.
  2. Enhanced Muscle Mass: Creatine monohydrate has been associated with an increase in muscle mass, primarily due to its ability to promote water retention within muscle cells, resulting in a fuller appearance.
  3. Improved Exercise Performance: Creatine monohydrate supplementation has been shown to delay fatigue and improve performance during high-intensity, short-duration exercises.
  4. Faster Recovery: By replenishing ATP stores, creatine monohydrate aids in faster recovery between intense exercise sessions, allowing for more frequent and effective training.
  5. No loading phase: Historically, instructions were to take 20g (4x5g) daily for a week to saturate muscles. Research has show that this “loading” phase had statistically insignificant results compared to just taking 5g daily.


  1. Water Retention: While the water retention caused by creatine can contribute to muscle fullness, it may also lead to temporary weight gain or bloating, which some individuals may find undesirable.
  2. Digestive Issues: Although rare, some individuals may experience digestive discomforts like bloating, diarrhea, or cramping when taking creatine supplements, regardless of the form.
  3. Individual Variations: The response to creatine supplementation can vary among individuals. While many people benefit from its use, others may not experience significant improvements in performance or muscle growth.
  4. Purity: Supplements listed as only “creatine monohydrate” have been known to test as low as 60% purity so unless you trust the brand, opt for a quality assured form of creatine (read the next section!)

Micronised creatine, CreatATP & Creapure

  1. Enhanced Bioavailability: Miscronised creatine is a form of creatine monohydrate that has undergone a manufacturing process to reduce particle size, potentially improving its solubility and absorption.
  2. Greater Purity: Miscronised creatine undergoes filtering to ensure it’s purity is higher. CreaATP is micronised creatine that is guaranteed to have minimum 99.5% purity and Creapure has a purity of 99.9%.

Creatine Hydrochloride (HCL)

  1. Lower Dose Requirement: Creatine HCL is touted as being more concentrated, which means smaller doses are needed to achieve similar effects compared to other forms. This can be beneficial for individuals who prefer lower serving sizes or have concerns about potential side effects associated with higher doses.
  2. Potential Digestive Benefits: Some individuals may find that creatine HCL causes fewer gastrointestinal discomforts, such as bloating or cramping, compared to other forms of creatine.
  3. Rapid absorption: Creatine HCL does not NEED to be taken every day due to it’s ability to be readily absorbed.


  1. Less research: Creatine monohydrate is one of the most researched sports supplements on the market. Creatine HCL lacks the same level of research so claims of it having the same effects as monohydrate haven’t been fully substantiated.

Conclusion: Creatine supplementation, regardless of the form offers several potential benefits for athletic performance and muscle development. Creatine monohydrate has extensive research supporting their efficacy, while creatine HCL may offer the advantage of lower dosage requirements and potentially improved digestion for some individuals. It’s important to consider personal preferences, potential side effects, and individual responses when selecting a form of creatine. As with any dietary supplement, consulting with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian is recommended to determine the most suitable option based on your specific needs and goals.

Heard enough? Visit our creatine supplement database.