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Creatine supplementation has been shown in a number of studies to promote better gains in lean body mass and strength during resistance training compared to training alone.
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The primary way creatine supplementation works is by increasing muscle creatine levels thereby enhancing muscle energetics. The primary form of creatine used is creatine monohydrate which is water soluble and is transported into muscle by a specific transporter. Several other creatine products have been developed that allege to enhance the transport of creatine into muscle. One such product is creatine ethyl esters (CEE). Esters are compounds made from the combination of an alcohol and a carboxylic acid. The idea behind "esterifying" creatine is that it will change the physical properties of the compound making it more stable and bioavailable. The hope is that an ester bond may protect the compound from being digested in the gastrointestinal tract by typical enzymes or it may increase its solubility so that it bypasses the typical creatine transporter in muscle. Despite the claims, no study had actually tested whether CEE worked better than creatine monohydrate, until now. Researchers had 3 groups of untrained men participate in a 7 week resistance training program with training sessions 3x/wk. The groups supplemented with either creatine monohydrate (CM), CEE, or placebo. Blood level of creatine were higher with CM than CEE or placebo. Muscle levels of creatine were also higher with CM after 7 days than both groups, but by 7 weeks the CEE group did have an increase in muscle creatine but is was slightly lower than the CM group. Blood creatinine (the breakdown product of creatine) was higher in the CEE group indicating less bioavailability. The training program enhanced body composition and muscle strength, but there were no differences between groups. The results show no beneficial effect of CEE over creatine monohydrate on adaptations to training. Since CEE was shown to increase the breakdown of CEE it suggests a less efficient form of creatine and this was confirmed by a lower muscle creatine level achieved with CEE. This is consistent with earlier work in culture that showed a significant portion of the creatine in CEE was converted to creatinine. The bottom line CEE does not seem to live up to its claims and may be an inefficient form of creatine compared to creatine monohydrate.

Spillane M, Schoch R, Cooke M, Harvey T, Greenwood M, Kreider R, Willoughby DS. 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(1):6. [Epub ahead of print]