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Ingredients Commonly Added To Creatine

In this article, we will discuss some common ingredients that you may find in your creatine supplement.  This is not a complete list, but should cover many of the basic formulations on the market.  Creatine is often sold in complexes that are filled with “other” ingredients.

Waxy Maize Starch
This is a cool starch that actually helps draw water and creatine into the muscle cells.  It seems to work really well at providing volumization according to anecdotal reports. There are several variants of this starch out there, but it is pretty good for increasing the potential of creatine and helping you feel “full”, which, let’s face it, is why people loved creatine from the start. Still, this is just another carb source that is slowly metabolized into muscle sugar, not anything revolutionary.

This is sort of the precursor to creatine. It has been used for many years now and, quite honestly, it doesn’t seem to do much past what regular creatine will do for you and has a lesser effect.  It has also been alleged to cause damage to other tissues and increase damaging proteins in the body. Accordingly, it will often have betaine included to help quench the cellular proteins that cause damage and reduce ROS levels.  Probably isn’t a good thing to have in your creatine since it seems to be just a lot of money for nothing and can increase homocystine levels.

Guanidino Propionic Acid (GPA)
GPA can be used in creatine formulations to help increase insulin sensitivity and also provides some ergogenic benefit on its own.  GPA has been shown to cause some damage to tissues though because it reduces cellular energy output (the opposite of what creatine does). This makes it pretty useful for weightloss but is, logically, counter-productive with creatine.

Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)
This helps increase insulin sensitivity and, along with sugar, helps bring creatine into the cell.  It is a good ingredient that has a good place in those products that contain a lot of sugar.

This is an insulin mimetic that helps bring sugar and creatine into the muscle.  Unlike ALA, which increases the sensitivity to insulin, this actually acts like insulin by shuttling sugar into the muscles.

This extract of bitter melon is another insulin mimetic that shoves more nutrients into the muscle.  It is a little better than the others out there since it shuttles both amino acids and sugars into the muscle. The other products just shuttle sugar into the muscle, so this has a big advantage.

You will find caffeine in many formulas to help increase the “feel” of the product.  This isn’t a good idea, but people do it to give you something that adds to the stimulation effect of a supplement.

This is another insulin mimetic product that can increase the loading phase of creatine and act like insulin.

Cinnamon Extraction (Cinnulin PF (TM))
Cinnamon extract also has very good insulin mimetic effects that can be a good combination with creatine and sugars.

Peak ATP (TM)
This is literally ATP, the body’s main energy source. Adenosine Tri Phosphate is broken down rapidly in the gut however, so little oral ATP,if any, gets into the blood stream. That being said, it can help by adding small amounts of Adinosine and Phosphates.  ATP is charged by creatine during the cellular process. So, it isn’t a bad idea to take some with your creatine. However, the amounts in sports supplements are not really enough to do anything positive in my opinion.

Liquid Serums
This is one of those products that just won’t die, no matter what people do to kill it. The small amounts of creatine in there are pretty pointless and there is reason to believe that the creatine contained therein degrades quickly to inert ingredients.  Like a bad email chain, this product will not go away since it tastes like fruit juice and looks like something cool and interesting.  I would not buy these liquid creatine products no matter what new version is offered.

IP6 – Inositol Hexaphospate
IP6 is simply the pseudo-vitamin Insitol with 6 phosphates bound to it.  This is actually a really cool ingredient that adds additional benefits to creatine by supplying much needed phosphates along with IP6, which happens to be a pretty good ergogenic aid itself.  The only downside to IP6 is its cost, which makes it tough to include enough to make it worthwhile for most creatine mixes.

Amino Acids – Example: Leucine Taurinate
These are simply just joining two amino acids and may or may not provide benefit over singular amino acids. These amino acids usually have no science behind them and are often“feather dusted” into formulas to make them sound cool.  Often these ingredients are just linking of two known amino acids in hopes that the interesting name will “wow” you.  Peptides when designed correctly have a really good possibility of being better than the singular amino acids, but not when just thrown together to sound good in trace amounts.  Creaine mixes may have quite a few ingredients, but if you need a microscope to read them, then they are probably nothing special.

This is just a common sugar that is very fast digesting.  It’s a fine energy source and should spike insulin and get “more” creatine into your system.

This is just a combination of Maltose and Dextrose.  According to many experts, it isn’t a very good carb source, since the Maltose makes for a pretty unusable carb until it is further metabolized.  There is information that shows that maltodextrin is a lower GI carb, which is why it is included in many formulas.  Unfortunately, it is really not much better than sugar for reducing insulin load and is worse for replenishing carb sources.  No idea why this became so popular except that it is one of those “urban legend” products.