Creatine has proven to be very beneficial for resistance-trained athletes and is the most extensively researched form of creatine by far is creatine monohydrate 1. Research consistently demonstrates the efficacy of creatine supplementation by increasing muscle creatine and phosphocreatine concentrations by ~15-40%, increasing anaerobic exercise capacity and enhancing strength power and muscle mass 2-4. It’s also shown that creatine monohydrate is not degraded during normal digestion and nearly 99% of orally ingested creatine is either taken up by tissues or excreted in urine 5,6. Also, there are no medically significantly side effects reported 7,8.

New forms of creatine have been introduced into the marketplace by supplement manufacturers that claimed to have better physical and chemical properties, bioavailability, efficacy, and safety profiles than creatine monohydrate 1. Researchers with extensive experience in conducting clinical research studies on the efficacy and safety of supplementing the diet during training with various forms of creatine compared the effects of supplementing the diet with a buffered form of creatine vs. creatine monohydrate at recommended doses 9. They compared the effects of these two forms of creatine on muscle creatine retention, body composition, strength, anaerobic capacity and markers of health status. The researchers also determined whether ingesting the alleged buffered form of creatine would be associated with fewer side effects than creatine monohydrate as claimed.

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Results showed that changes in muscle creatine content tended to be greater in the creatine monohydrate group. There were no group differences observed in body mass, fat-free mass, fat mass, percent body fat, bench press and leg press 1 repetition maximum (1RM) strength, peak power, total work, serum blood lipids, markers of catabolism and bone status, and serum electrolyte status.

These results clearly show that supplementing with a buffered form of creatine is not a more effective and safer form of creatine to consume than creatine monohydrate.

Some interesting notes from this study are:

Results from this study don’t support the claim that a large amount of creatine monohydrate was converted to creatinine during the digestive process and resulted in less of an increase in muscle creatine than the buffered creatine. A significant increase from baseline in serum creatinine was also observed in the buffered creating group despite claims that buffered creatine completely prevents the conversion of creatine to creatinine. These findings don’t support contentions that creatine monohydrate is degraded to creatinine in large amounts or that buffered creatine is not converted to creatinine at all. Findings from this study do not support claims that buffered creatine is a more efficacious and safer form of creatine than creatine monohydrate!

AST is the premier company for sports supplementation, and all their products are backed by evidence-based research. AST developed a new micronized creatine monohydrate supplement that incorporates state-of-the-art particle micronizing technology (PMTTM). This technology sets a new standard for creatine monohydrate supplementation by actually producing creatine ‘micro-particles’ that are 20 times smaller than regular creatine powder. AST is committed to providing you the most effective, scientifically proven sports supplements on the market. We will keep you informed on the latest scientific findings and help you separate the fads from the truth!


1. Jager R, Purpura M, Shao A, Inoue T, Kreider RB. Analysis of the efficacy, safety, and regulatory status of novel forms of creatine. Amino Acids 2011;40:1369-83.
2. Kreider RB, Wilborn CD, Taylor L, et al. ISSN exercise & sport nutrition review: research & recommendations. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2010;7:7.
3. Greenhaff PL, Bodin K, Soderlund K, Hultman E. Effect of oral creatine supplementation on skeletal muscle phosphocreatine resynthesis. Am J Physiol 1994;266:E725-30.
4. Kreider RB, Ferreira M, Wilson M, et al. Effects of creatine supplementation on body composition, strength, and sprint performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1998;30:73-82.
5. Deldicque L, Decombaz J, Zbinden Foncea H, Vuichoud J, Poortmans JR, Francaux M. Kinetics of creatine ingested as a food ingredient. Eur J Appl Physiol 2008;102:133-43.
6. Ganguly S, Jayappa S, Dash AK. Evaluation of the stability of creatine in solution prepared from effervescent creatine formulations. AAPS PharmSciTech 2003;4:E25.
7. Buford TW, Kreider RB, Stout JR, et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation and exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2007;4:6.
8. Dalbo VJ, Roberts MD, Stout JR, Kerksick CM. Putting to rest the myth of creatine supplementation leading to muscle cramps and dehydration. Br J Sports Med 2008;42:567-73.
9. Jagim AR, Oliver JM, Sanchez A, et al. A buffered form of creatine does not promote greater changes in muscle creatine content, body composition, or training adaptations than creatine monohydrate. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2012;9:43.

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Buffered Creatine vs Creatine Monohydrate: Which is better?

by Paul C. Henning, Ph.D. CSCS time to read: 4 min