Creatine: Magnesium Creatine Chelate, often abbreviated MCC, is a newer form of creatine that is chemically bonded to magnesium rather than a water molecule as in creatine monohydrate. This special form of creatine is absorbed through a different pathway than creatine monohydrate. Creatine monohydrate is absorbed through a sodium-dependent transporter, while magnesium creatine chelate is absorbed through a lignand-gated cation channel. Because the magnesium that is bound to the creatine is a cation, the entire molecule now becomes a cation, making it absorbable through this pathway while creatine monohydrate is not. (1)
The idea with magnesium creatine chelate is that this different way of being absorbed may be more efficient, making the creatine more bio available (meaning less creatine is converted to waste product and more is absorbed). A more bio available creatine would mean less subcutaneous (under the skin) water retention and higher concentrations of creatine in the muscle, yielding better gains.
Magnesium creatine chelate has been shown to be effective for increasing strength as well as water retention within the muscle. (1, 2) One study that compared a dosage of 2.5 g daily of magnesium creatine chelate, creatine monohydrate, or maltodextrin (the placebo group) found that creatine magnesium chelate is no more or less effective than creatine monohydrate. (1) These findings do confirm that this different pathway by which magnesium creatine chelate is absorbed is effective, but because there are only two legitimate studies ever done on magnesium creatine chelate, and given the results of the magnesium creatine chelate vs. creatine monohydrate study, we can’t say for sure right now that it is any better than creatine monohydrate.
It is possible, however, that supplementing with a mixture of both magnesium creatine chelate and creatine monohydrate could give better creatine loading effects in the muscle due to the creatine being absorbed through multiple pathways. This is just a possibility, and more research really needs to be done on magnesium creatine chelate before we can reach solid conclusions about its effects.
1. Selsby JT, DiSilvestro RA, & Devor ST. (2004). Mg2+-creatine chelate and a low-dose creatine supplementation regimen improve exercise performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research / National Strength & Conditioning Association. 18(2), 311-5.
2. Brilla LR, Giroux MS, Taylor A, & Knutzen KM. (2003). Magnesium-creatine supplementation effects on body water. Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental. 52(9), 1136-40.