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Creatine Supplement Reviews


Boosting Strength & Performance with Creatine Supplements


BSN NO-xplode   |   BSN CellMass   |   Xyience NOX-CG3   |   MuscleTech Cell-Tech   |   SciFit Kre-Alkalyn 1500  |   ATP Advantage Creatine Serum   |   Higher Power Micronized Creatine


If you're looking for an immediate strength increase, than supplementing Creatine can help. Creatine occurs naturally in food and allows the body to create more energy during anaerobic activity.


4Ever Fit Creatine Monohydrate Powder

More specifically creatine helps the body generate ATP over a longer period and to regenerate it more rapidly. ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is broken down for intense muscular energy, usually lasting only a couple of seconds.


It is important to understand that the body has many energy pathways depending on the intensity and duration of the activity, as well as the available sources of fuel in the body at that moment. Creatine supplementation does not benefit endurance/aerobic activities, only high intensity anaerobic activities.


The human body gets creatine from food (mostly meat) and it can create creatine from amino acids. When levels of creatine become too high the kidneys filter it out. If creatine is supplemented in high doses for long periods of the time, the body tends to produce less and less creatine internally, instead relying on external supplementation.


Some studies have shown that caffeine intake (in certain forms) can counteract the effects of supplemented creatine, but others disagree. Creatine does contribute to weight gain, but this is mostly in the form of water weight. Some suggest that prolonged use of creatine could result in kidney problems, but no long term study data is available. There have been reports of stomach problems due to ingestion of creatine. Some believe that creatine usage, especially in combination with nitric oxide products may cause elevated blood pressure.

BSN CellMass - Esterfied Creatine

Certain fruit juices (citrus) may begin to break down creatine into its metabolized form creatinine. Creatinine is a waste product that must be filtered out of the body by the kidneys. For this reason, creatine should not be mixed with citrus juices.


Due to possible kidney strain and the fact that the body decreases creatine production when oversupplemented, SupplementMania does NOT recommend creatine loading. If you intend to use creatine, we suggest you take up to 5g just prior to intense exercise.


It should be understood that creatine supplementation provides only short term strength gains. It is not useful for endurance athletes, and strength gains are likely to diminish as soon as creatine supplementation is discontinued. For this reason SupplementMania only recommends supplementation of creatine for competitive strength/power athletes who fully understand the potential risks of taking a product that has not undergone long-term study.


Those taking creatine must get an adquate supply of water. Also, creatine monohydrate uses sugar as a transport, and thus users can often benefit from the addition of glucose with their creatine supply.

Which Creatine Product is Best?

There are many factors to consider, including: purity, price, composition, research, and results. The most expensive product is not necessarily the best, but you should choose products wisely as the least expensive product may not have the same level of purity and testing as more popular brands.


I believe that safety and performance are the most important factors, but often it is difficult to test and determine these factors.


There are three categories of creatine products:


These are products only contain creatine monohydrate. They are available in powders, liquids, and pills. For most purposes these products are the same, except for their delivery, purity, price, etc.



I like this product primarily for convenience. The dosage is a simple eyedropper of liquid and you're done. Creatine is not normally stable in liquid form (so you should't pre-mix creatine and let it sit). ATP Advantage is the exception, as it was engineered to remain stable.


You don't need to refrigerate it or anything like that, so this becomes an extremly simple, convenient way to take your creatine. Because it's in liquid form, it may be released into the body a little faster, but I wouldn't count that as a major advantage.


It is more expensive than creatine powder, but you're paying for the convenience of it. That's also the main reason why I put it at number one in the simple creatine category.


One other note: the original version of this said it contained "100% pure creatine monohydrate", but some newer versions say it contains a proprietary creatine blend. That could disqualify it from the simple creatine category, but I'm leaving it here anyway.


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There are a ton of other simple creatine products out there, and if you put brand name and purity aside, they are all identical. I don't have any data to measure purity, so the only thing I'm left with is price.


This product has an excellent price point and is advertised to provide the same amount of the same ingredient (creatine monohydrate) as all the other powder products out there.


Because all creatine monohydrate is just that... creatine monohydrate these are the only two recommended. This is not to say there is anything wrong with other popular products such as EAS Phosphagen, but the fact is the have the same ingredient and often cost a bit more (unless on sale).


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Higher Power Creatine

Creatine Blends

This is where it starts to get interesting. When I say creatine blends I'm including different creatine molecules, plus blends of sugar, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. The criteria for qualifying in this category is that the product does not contain a nitric oxide compound as well. This category will include creatine AKG (creatine alpha-ketoglutarate) and those containing glutamine as well.



For several years now, I have held MuscleTech Cell-Tech as the king of creatines. The composition of this supplement has changed over the years from a pure creatine monohydrate and dextrose supplement, to a much more advanced creatine delivery system.


This product provides a matrix of creatine compounds plus glucose (dextrose) that helps transport the creatine into muscle cells where it's needed. I have had very good personal results from this product, and I've known many others that also saw great gains.


I often don't believe the hype that advanced creatine products perform better than the simple ones, but I think this particular composion works a little better. My only negative is that you should not follow the directions on the package, because it advocates creatine loading. Take one scoop (5g) prior to your workout.


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MuscleTech Cell-Tech Hardcore


 



 



The latest advance in creatine technology is the Kre-Alkalyn buffered creatine. Through a patented system the creating is pH balanced and buffered for better stability and absorbtion.


This may sound like typical supplement marketing hype, but there are several advantages to this process over normal creatine. First, much small amounts of creatine can be used because it is more stable and more readily absorbed. This means there is little wasted creatinine produced which then must be filtered out.


Many users of this product have claimed that they did not experience the typical water weight gain associated with creatine monohydrate, nor did they have the same stomach problems. They did, however, have similar strength gains.

The SciFit Kre-Alkalyn compares to the Fusion Bodybuilding Purple-K buffered creatine product, but it is less expensive.


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SciFit Kre-Alkalyn Creatine


 



 


CellMass is a proprietary blend of creatine compounds along with glutamine. Glutamine is an amino acid that helps slow muscle breakdown for energy (because it's broken down instead).


This product has won many creatine product awards over the years, but I've never really felt it was quite as good as Cell-Tech or Kre-Alkalyn creatine. With that said, this is still a solid product in the creatine space.


BSN advertises that this product can be stacked with their NO-xplode product for even better results. However, because NO-xplode is a creatine and glutamine product (along with nitrix oxide which puts it in the next category), I'm not sure I really see the need for both. It would only tend to push someone more into a creatine loaded state rather than pumping up their creatine supply directly before a workout.


Like most products in this category (except Kre-Alkalyn) it does have some sugar and minerals/electrolytes in it. This one, however, also has the artificial sweetener sucralose in it, unlike Cell-Tech. I've talked to folks from BSN about this in the past, and they do not seem to have any intention of releasing products free of artificial sweeteners.


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BSN CellMass Creatine

Creatine Stacks

Now we're into the more complex products. All of these products contain creatine, glutamine, and nitrix oxide producers. The combination of these compounds creates a more intense muscle volumizing or pumped feeling. This translates into strength gains throughout the anaerobic cycle.


As with all of the products listed here, it's important to note that the gains acheived using these products are short term. However, if you're looking for the most powerful creatine products, then these are the ones.


I've had personal experience with these products and coached many people who have used them over the past couple of years. I've also received feedback from dozens of people who have used these products, all with similar stories.


The bottom line is these products work. There is no confirmation on their safety for long or even short term use. So as with all creatine products, these are meant only for competitive athletes with a real need to increase their performance over the short-term.



When it comes to pre-workout drinks, NO-xplode is the hands down winner. It absolutely works for short-term strength gains when taken 30 minutes or so prior to intense exercise. One of the reasons people like it so much is because not only can you see results, but you can feel it working.


The main thing you can feel is the caffeine. This leads me to the one major drawback... most users build up a tolerant to this product, and feel like they must take more and more to get the same effect. I think in many cases users are still getting the same kinds of strength gains they were originally, they just can no longer feel the "pumped" feeling they got in the beginning without taking a higher dosage.


As with any of these supplements, I recommend short term use. In that case, tolerance should be not become an issue. If you are sensitive to caffeine you should try the second product in this list, because it does not contain caffeine. Unfortunately this product does also contain the artificial sweetener sucralose and acesulfame potassium. As mentioned above, I do not recommend stacking it with CellMass as BSN recommends.


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NOX-CG3 from Xyience is another creatine, glutamine, nitric oxide combination pre-workout drink. In my experience it delivers results similar to NO-xplode, but without the caffeine jitters. It is comprised of three of each compound (3x Creatine, 3x Glutamine, and 3x NO). At least that's how the marketing literature reads. There's actually 4 nitric oxide boosters included.


I do feel that this product's performance is superior to that of plain creatine, primarily because it includes arginine alpha-ketoglutarate (A-AKG) which is a nitric oxide booster and muscle volumizer. Much like MuscleTech Cell-Tech this product contains creatine alpha-ketoglutarate, which is a precursor of glutamine and more easily absorbed than creatine monohydrate. Creatine AKG helps transport creatine into muscle tissue without a lot of sugar.


One big downside to this product is that it is relatively expensive, especially compared to NO-xplode. As with NO-xplode it contains the artificial sweetener sucralose.



There are a lot of other products in this category, including MuscleTech NaNO Vapor, VPX NO Shotgun, MRI Black Powder, Controlled Labs White Flood, and many more...


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