The Truth Behind Creatine Ethyl Ester

November 12, 2012

The Truth Behind Creatine Ethyl Ester

University of Tulsa researchers have finally figured out the truth behind creatine ethyl ester, so that athletes can finally stop playing the guessing game when it comes down to it.

The Problem with Nutritional Supplements

In general, practically every fitness or bodybuilding magazine out there will feature tons of nutritional supplement advertisements, which all claim to make athletes faster, stronger, bigger and better. What you might fail to notice, though, is that they have disclaimers that state they haven’t actually been approved by the FDA yet.

Since they haven’t been FDA-approved, their manufacturers can actually make various health claims that leave athletes with no choice but to go through trials and errors to find out whether their statements are true or not.

Unfortunately, creatine ethyl ester is one of these supplements. In fact, a study has already been done on this particular supplement, led by biochemistry and chemistry undergraduate researchers and a chemistry professor named Gordon Purser.

The Truth Behind Creatine

Purser says that creatine is very popular in the world of nutritional supplements because it promises to give athletes more lean muscle mass, which they need to take part in weight-lifting and resistance training.

Well, creatine works. In fact, scientific studies show that non-endurance athletes can take creatine for effective and safe results in terms of getting stronger and increasing their lean muscle mass.

However, there is a problem. Muscle cells have trouble absorbing creatine properly, so they have to take a lot of it in order for it to become effective in the first place. This can take its tolls on the kidneys and cause water retention and bloating – which isn’t good for bodybuilders who need to have defined muscles in competitions.

Because of this, chemists have tried to modify creatine by creating creatine ethyl ester, which can be taken in smaller doses and can thus be less taxing on people’s kidneys and would produce less bloating overall.

Did It Work?

Although esterification tends to work well on a lot of substances, nobody really knew how it would work with creatine and supplement marketers moved ahead so fast, they didn’t really wait for results.

Plus, a 2005 article in a bodybuilding magazine called Flex stated that creatine ethyl ester could be directly absorbed by the muscle cells, so it didn’t need to depend on insulin nor did it cause bloating because it sat outside of the muscle cells. After that, everybody just assumed it would work that way. However, one TU researcher and bodybuilder wasn’t convinced about its stability just yet and decided to do some research on the supplement. He then found out that it wasn’t as stable as everybody assumed it was. Luay Shua and Nicholas Katseres, two medical students, decided to continue the research with him soon afterwards to find out the truth for good.

In reality, creatine ethyl ester proved to be incredibly unstable when placed in the blood. In fact, in just a couple of minutes, it completely broke down into ethanol and creatine. Although this doesn’ t make it harmful per se, it does end up working exactly the way creatine itself does, but mixed with ethyl alcohol.

The Potential Side Effects

Aside from the breakdown, creatine ethyl ester could lead to two negative side effects, as well. First of all, athletes take less of it than recommended, so they don’t get enough creatine for their muscles overall. Second of all, it costs twice as much, so athletes will end up wasting more money on it in the long run. What do you think would be better? Think about it.

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