In the past we had a look at creatine monohydrate which was agreed to be one of the best supplements anyone can go on. But what would happen if you replace the monohydrate attachement with an Ethyl Ester? A lot of supplement companies throw about a extravagant claims about it saying that it’s more bioavailable, has a greater absorption and a longer half life than creatine monohydrate. But is it true?
In summary, the main claims surrounding Creatine ethyl ester are false. It is:
- Less effective than creatine monohydrate at increasing muscle creatine levels even when taken at double the recommended dosage
- Creatine ethyl ester had no significant increase in total body mass, fat free mass
- No additional benefit to increase muscle strength or performance than creatine monohydrate or a maltodextrose placebo
- Creatine ethyl ester significantly elevates plasma creatinine levels
- Rapidly degrades to creatinine in the stomach
It’s widely known that creatine has a low bioavailability within the body. A number of variotions have been developed to help overcome that problem. One of which was Creatine ethyl ester. Esterification is a process used by pharmaceutical companies to improve the bioavailability of a certain compound. A lot of claims regarding Creatine ethyl ester were published such as “improved bioavailability”, “vastly superior absorption” and “longer half-life”. However, the most recent research suggests that these claims are infact false and that it’s not as effective as creatine monohydrate.
It’s been demonstrated that creatinine ethyl ester has a short half-life within the blood (approx. 1 minute) and is broken way too quickly before it can even reach the targeted muscle cells. It’s also been shown that there is no metabolic way in which creatinine ethyl ester would get converted to creatine, but rather creatine ethyl ester is actually a pronutrient for creatinine with no ergogenic effects shown from its supplementation.
Creatine ethyl ester appears to also be ineffective at increasing blood and muscle creatine levels and had no additional benefit to increase muscle strength or performance than either creatine monohydrate or a maltodextose placebo. In this study subjects took a loading phase of 0.3g/kg fat free body mass (~20g/day) of either creatine monohydrate, creatine ethyl ester or maltodextose for 5 days followed by a maintenance phase of 0.075g/kg fat free mass (~5g/day). When compared with the placebo, the levels of serum creatine and muscle creatine were significantly greater in the creatine monohydrate group but not significantly greater in the Creatine ethyl ester group. The level of serum creatinine increased significantly in the Creatine ethyl ester group throughout the study but not in the placebo or creatine monohydrate group indicating that a significant amount of creatine ethyl ester was being degraded to creatinine within the gastro-intestinal tract after ingestion. The researchers stated that “it appears that the skeletal muscle uptake of creatine ethyl ester uptake was not significant enough to increase skeletal muscle creatine levels without significant degradation to creatinine occurring.” and concluded that compared with creatine monohydrate, Creatine ethyl ester was not as effective at increasing serum & muscle creatine levels or improving body mass or performance measures. Therefore there is currently insufficient evidence to support the claims made about creatine ethyl ester even when taken at double the current recommended dose.
Current research doesn’t appear to suggest that creatine ethyl ester is effective at enhancing muscle creatine levels, muscle strength or performance even when taken at double the current recommended dosage. However, it must also be noted that no side effects were noticed when it was used as a supplement.
For a cheaper more effective alternative you should consider creatine monohydrate.
1- Giese MW, Lecher CS. (2009) Qualitative in vitro NMR analysis of creatine ethyl ester pronutrient in human plasma.Int J Sports Med. 2009 Oct;30(10):766-70.
2- Katseres NS, Reading DW, Shayya L, Dicesare JC, Purser GH. (2009) Non-enzymatic hydrolysis of creatine ethyl ester.Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2009 Aug 21;386(2):363-7.
3- Spillane M, Schoch R, Cooke M, Harvey T, Greenwood M, Kreider R, Willoughby DS. (2009) The effects of creatine ethyl ester supplementation combined with heavy resistance training on body composition, muscle performance, and serum and muscle creatine levels. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009 Feb 19;6:6.