Over the past few weeks, I have been inundated with advertisements and questions from athletes inquiring about a new and supposedly miraculous Creatine formula, CreGAAtine, which is said to be 8.5 times more effective than creatine monohydrate. After seeing many new creatine formulations show up over the years, some even claiming to increase your bench press 6x, I was naturally intrigued and decided to investigate the research behind CreGAAtine. Here is what I found.
The strength of the study referenced in the advertising was quite weak, with only 14 participants in total. What's more, the combination of GAA and Creatine is not new, as I can find a product selling as far back as 2021. If it were truly 8.5 times more effective than creatine monohydrate, everyone would be using it right now.
CreGAAtine is a proprietary blend, meaning the manufacturers won't tell you how much of each ingredient is in the formula- this is a red flag. It is composed of 2 ingredients: creatine and guanidinoacetate acid (GAA). GAA has been deemed safe.
The advertising of CreGAAtine implies that this is a brand new 'magical' compound, when in reality, it is simply two ingredients blended together. No different to if you took a scoop of each and added it to your own drink.
Creatine uptake into the cell is via one pathway, while the addition of GAA increases the creatine uptake into the cell via four pathways. This is why it has been hypothesized that adding GAA to creatine will significantly enhance the results from using creatine. However, this is likely only true if you have a defect in the creatine transporter. It is highly unlikely that you have the defect.
The advertising for CreGAAtine boasts that it is 8.5 times more effective than creatine monohydrate. The study states that there was only a 1.5% increase in the brain of the creatine monohydrate group, compared to a 5.3% increase in the brain of the CreGAAtine group. The issue here is that other studies have reported an increase in brain phosphocreatine content of 5-15%, which is much higher than the 1.5% and 5.8% seen in this study. Clearly, the 8.5x increase was cherry-picked for promotional purposes, and does not reflect the increase in creatine concentration in the muscle.
The same can be applied when you look at the muscle creatine content. The study states an increase in muscle creatine of only 2% in the creatine group however, in many other studies creatine monohydrate increase muscle creatine by 20-40%....not only 2%......In the CreGAAtine group the muscle creatine increase by 16.9%. This increase doesn’t look so amazing now when you compare it to other studies.
The study also showed an increase in bench press performance of 6.1% for CreGAAtine and 5.0% for creatine monohydrate. This improvement is too small, and the study is too small, to make any conclusions from, especially when looking at the differences between this study and other studies.
The advertising also states that CreGAAtine is taken up by four different transporter pathways, compared to just one for creatine monohydrate. It is possible that taking CreGAAtine could be beneficial if you have a creatine transporter defect, but these are incredibly rare (estimated at 1-2% of people with intellectual disabilities). However, studies have shown that taking 5 grams of creatine monohydrate for over 30 days leads to muscle creatine saturation, so there is no need to add GAA to “fix” this problem.
Another statement made by the companies advertising CreGAAtine is that it works for “creatine non-responders”. It is currently hypothesized that creatine non-responders already have high amounts of creatine in their muscle, not that they can’t absorb it, so this claim is again far-fetched.
The manufacturers additionally claim that CreGAAtine does not cause water retention, unlike creatine monohydrate. It is true that monohydrate can cause water retention in the short term (around 3 days), however, longer-term studies over 4 weeks have shown that creatine supplementation does not alter total body weight relative to muscle mass. Looking at their study, it is likely that their claim that CreGAAtine does not cause water retention is because they use less overall creatine (2g vs 4g). Thus, it will cause less muscle hydration in the short term.
Creatine monohydrate is also stable in a tub, contrary to what their advertising may say. Creatine monohydrate is very stable as a powder and does not show any signs of degradation or turning into the inactive form creatinine for years, unless exposed to water. Just make sure you don’t mix your creatine and store it- consume it straight away. GAA is also very stable, so packaging it in a sachet is merely for marketing purposes.
Price-wise, CreGAAtine is incredibly expensive compared to creatine monohydrate, yet with seemingly no benefit. Creatine monohydrate can be bought for around 0.67c per serve, while CreGAAtine will cost you around $2.63 per serve depending on the company.
Apparently there is another “mind blowing” study on basketballers coming out in the future that shows how great CreGGAtine is compared to Creatine Monohydrate. Some brands will elude to a “coming study” the backs up their claims but in my experience the study is either very poor or never gets published. However, I am very much looking forward to reading it.
In conclusion, the claim that CreGAAtine is more effective than monohydrate is simply false. It is incredibly understudied. The data seems to be cherry-picked for promotional purposes, as you can see when comparing it to other studies.
At this stage, there is no compelling evidence for CreGAAtine over creatine monohydrate - don’t believe the hype.
If you'd like to this new creatine form you can just mix Creatine Monohydrate and guanidinoacetate acid (GAA) together yourself. It will be much cheaper that way.
I’ll be sticking to pure German creatine monohydrate which I use in CreCharge.