By Corey Lewis, CPT, CSCS
There are many forms of creatine, but which one is the best for you? Creatine monohydrate has been around for decades and has been shown to be one of the most effective supplements on the market. It doesn’t mix very well with water, though, and much of it isn’t absorbed by the body. Heath scientists have created several alternatives to creatine monohydrate to address these issues and possibly add additional benefits. Today I will explore the evidence surrounding creatine nitrate and the possible benefits you may find. Keep reading to find out the latest scientific evidence about this supplement.
Creatine is primarily used by athletes and fitness enthusiasts who want to add more lean muscle mass. It works by helping you burn fats and sugars and turn them into energy so your muscles can do more work. When you supplement with creatine, your body generates energy faster, and this helps you lift more weight and recover faster after your workout.
Taking multiple supplements with synergistic effects is a practice called stacking, and creatine is a common addition to many stacks. Nowfoods Selenium, MCT oils, and collagen supplements are often combined with creatine in stacks intended to increase energy, improve flexibility, and build muscle. Weightlifting benefits are increased when you use creatine and other supplements. They will help you build more muscle than weights alone.
Athletes who want to increase their lean muscle mass usually go a step further and include a good protein supplement. If you use a protein shake, you can hide powdered supplements in your drink and get your entire stack in one go. Creatine nitrate mixes easier in water than the monohydrate, so it is easier to add to your stack.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of protein when building muscle. But not all protein is the same. Branch chain amino acids (BCAA) like you can find in Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy give you more benefits than other forms of protein. BCAAs build muscle faster than other forms of protein, and they reduce muscle soreness and help speed your recovery post-workout. They also help the body regulate blood sugar without using insulin, protecting you from diabetes.
There are many formulations of creatine that attempt to improve on the original. Creatine monohydrate is not very soluble in water, so several formulations have combined with molecules that are. Nitrate is one of these molecules, but it does more than make creatine more soluble.
Nitrate is used in other supplements, too. Bodybuilders and athletes take nitrates in the hope that it will improve blood flow and lead to more power and less fatigue.
The nitrates used for creatine nitrate are also found in foods like spinach and beets and can provide a wide range of health benefits. In the body, nitrates are converted into nitric oxide, which signals blood vessels to relax and expand. This increased flexibility helps protect the heart from atherosclerosis and other diseases, and it also increases the volume of blood and oxygen. It also makes it easier for the body to clear the lactic acid and other wastes that build up during exercise.
Early studies have shown that supplementing with certain blends of creatine nitrate does produce higher concentrations of creatine in your bloodstream and muscles. This shows that this formulation can be absorbed better by the body than creatine monohydrate and can help you improve your performance.
These investigations have also shown that creatine nitrate works as well as regular creatine to create lean muscle mass. Studies are ongoing to see how strong this effect is, and if creatine nitrate is significantly more effective than other forms of creatine. It is so new that the health community does not have enough data yet to draw conclusions.
But what we do know is that creatine nitrate works at least as well as the monohydrate, it mixes better with other supplements, and the nitrate provides protective functions for the heart and blood vessels.
The different forms of this supplement all provide similar results and have a low incidence of side effects. The one that is right for you depends on your needs and circumstances.
While creatine supplements have a reputation for building muscle mass, they can help you in many other areas, too. They can provide a boost to functional fitness exercises that help you train for specific tasks. Many injuries from exercise or even daily activities like yard work and childcare are a result of bad form. Targeted exercises help you fine-tune your workout so you can perfect your form and reduce your chances of injury. Adding creatine speeds the process of optimizing your muscles for your own personal tasks.
Strength training will boost your brainpower and cardiovascular health, too. Exercising the muscles of your body helps protect your memory and improves performance on mental tasks. Creatine can help you perform these workouts easier and reduces fatigue, making you healthier and smarter at the same time.
Adding muscle to your body turns the dial up on your metabolism, helping you burn more calories. This makes creatine ideal if you want to use weight training for fat loss. Muscle is much more compact than fat, so using creatine can help you slim down and burn fat while increasing your strength and power.
I use creatine for all of these reasons and more.
If you are considering creatine or creatine nitrate, I would also encourage you to try stacking. Using multiple supplements at the same time gives me a powerful boost. I change my stack on a regular basis, rotating new supplements in and old ones out to see if I can find better combinations. Sometimes I will change my stack when I start training for a different sport or new exercise routine. I need different boosters when I’m training for a race than when I’m working on bodybuilding.
If you are looking for safe, new ways to enhance your athletic performance, give creatine nitrate a try for 30 days and compare your results. You may be pleasantly surprised.