What is Creatine Nitrate?

Scoop filled with fine white powder and Creatine Nitrate tablets

Creatine supplements have become a staple for individuals aiming to enhance anaerobic exercise performance and increase muscle strength and power output.

While creatine monohydrate remains a popular choice, a lesser-known variant, creatine nitrate, has emerged on the fitness scene, gaining attention for its unique properties. 

In this article, we explore the basics of creatine nitrate, its potential benefits, and key considerations

Creatine nitrate is an alternative form of creatine that is gaining attention in the fitness industry. It combines the standard creatine monohydrate with a nitrate group, potentially offering unique benefits, including improved cardiovascular function and higher water solubility. While early research is promising, more studies are needed to fully understand its effectiveness and safety compared to traditional creatine supplements.

Quick Summary

  • Some evidence suggests that supplementation with creatine nitrate may enhance muscle endurance in an ergogenic manner.
  • Research on creatine nitrate is still in its early stages, with one study suggesting it is 10 times more water-soluble than creatine monohydrate.
  • Creatine nitrate supplementation is likely to be simply creatine supplementation plus nitrate supplementation. 
  • The International Society of Sports Medicine (ISSN) recommends creatine monohydrate over creatine nitrate, citing a lack of conclusive evidence supporting the latter’s superiority.

What is Creatine?

Creatine, derived from the Greek word “kreas” (meaning “meat”), is a naturally occurring compound found in muscles and obtained through dietary sources like meat and fish. 

Our bodies naturally produce creatine in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas, combining the amino acids arginine, glycine, and methionine.

Crucial for energy production during high-intensity exercise, creatine is a popular supplement among athletes and fitness enthusiasts, shown to enhance strength, increase muscle mass, and improve exercise performance.

What is Creatine Nitrate?

Creatine nitrate is an alternative form of creatine that is currently being tested to see if it has value as a dietary supplement. 

In creatine nitrate, the standard creatine monohydrate molecule is combined with a nitrate group. 

Research on creatine nitrate is still in its early stages, with one study suggesting it is 10 times more water-soluble than creatine monohydrate. 

Possible Benefits of Creatine Nitrate

  • In a double-blind, randomized controlled trial (DB-RCT) published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 48 men who were both healthy and active were assigned either a low or high dose of creatine nitrate (1.5g, 3g), a high dose of creatine monohydrate (3g), or a placebo over a 28-day period. 

Creatine monohydrate and creatine nitrate groups exhibited a substantial rise in muscle creatine levels by day 7. However, for the creatine nitrate group, this increase was followed by a decline by day 28. On the 28th day, noteworthy enhancements in bench press lifting volume (kg) were observed across all groups. 

Those who received a high dose of creatine nitrate demonstrated an enhanced ability to lift heavier weights during bench presses compared to participants who received the placebo, leading to an overall improvement in exercise performance.

  • In a separate DB-RCT involving 28 men and women, the intake of creatine nitrate for six days increased the amount of weight lifted during bench press and leg press exercises. Additionally, this supplementation exhibited improvements in exercise and endurance performance.

Limited research exists on its effects on exercise performance or strength, and claims of superiority over creatine monohydrate lack substantial evidence. 

Creatine Nitrate Formula

Benefits of Creatine Nitrate Together

Creatine, a naturally occurring compound, is produced in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas. Creatine supplementation enhances phosphocreatine levels in muscles, replenishing adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the primary energy source during intense exercise. This boost in ATP leads to improved performance, strength, and power output. With numerous creatine supplements out there, it’s tough to figure out the best one. Check out our other article for recommendations on the top creatine supplements.

Nitrates are inorganic salts that are present in a variety of fruits, vegetables, and cereals. Nitrates, found in creatine nitrate, are linked to improved exercise endurance and heart health, including systolic and diastolic blood pressure, adding a potential layer of benefit.

Creatine nitrate supplementation is likely to be simply creatine supplementation plus nitrate supplementation. 

Creatine Nitrate vs. Creatine Monohydrate

The distinction between creatine nitrate and monohydrate lies in their structures. While creatine nitrate features a nitrate group bonded to creatine, creatine monohydrate incorporates a water molecule. This structural difference renders creatine nitrate slightly more soluble. 

Nevertheless, it’s important to note that creatine monohydrate is also highly soluble and supported by a more extensive body of scientific evidence substantiating its benefits.

Strong man lifting heavy dumbbell at the gym

Some evidence suggests that supplementation with creatine nitrate may enhance muscle endurance in an ergogenic manner. However, as this effect seems unrelated to changes in muscle creatine content, it raises the possibility that the benefit may be derived from nitrate rather than creatine itself. 

It remains uncertain whether supplementation offers any additional benefits beyond simply co-ingesting creatine monohydrate with a nitrate source.

The International Society of Sports Nutrition’s Stand:

ISSN recommends creatine monohydrate over creatine nitrate, citing a lack of conclusive evidence supporting the latter’s superiority. Both forms are generally well-tolerated and utilized for muscle mass gain.

Nitrates for Athletic Performance

Nitrates

Nitrates are inorganic salts present in most vegetables, fruits, and grains. Nitrate has gained popularity as an ergogenic aid, with recent studies showcasing its positive impact on sports performance when consumed through nitrate-rich foods. 

Researchers believe that nitric oxide, produced by the breakdown of nitrates, contributes to the benefits of dietary nitrate supplementation, including improved exercise endurance and heart health.

Nitrate Supplementation In Sports

One significant benefit of nitrate supplementation is a reduction in the energy cost of exercise, leading to enhanced efficiency at submaximal workloads.

Notably, studies involving well-trained individuals have demonstrated promising outcomes. In a study by Larsen et al. (2007), sodium nitrate supplementation, achievable through regular green vegetable intake, resulted in reduced oxygen consumption (VO2) during submaximal exercise, improving cycling efficiency by approximately 1.4%. 

Similarly, Bailey et al. (2009) observed a 19% reduction in oxygen use at moderate workloads and a 16% improvement in cycling exercise endurance after daily ingestion of 500ml of beetroot juice for six days.

Nitrate supplement displayed on a table

More recent research has linked these physiological changes to improved competitive performances. Lansley and colleagues (2011) reported a 3% to 4% enhancement in 4km and 16km cycling time trials in trained individuals after consuming a single dose of beetroot juice just 2.5 hours before exercise. 

These findings suggest that nitrate supplementation may offer valuable benefits in enhancing exercise efficiency and performance, particularly in endurance activities.

While it is still in the early stages, research indicates that athletes preparing for endurance events may experience advantages by incorporating nitrate before training and/or competition. 

The application of nitrate in other sports, such as team and power sports, remains an area yet to be explored.

Are There Any Issues With Creatine Nitrate Supplementation?

Creatine and nitrates are popular dietary supplements among active individuals, but there is limited knowledge regarding the potential effects and safety of their co-ingestion on performance. Only two prior studies have explored this aspect.

Moreover, we don’t have enough studies to support that  creatine nitrate really works. Research shows that creatine monohydrate is absorbed by the body at a rate of up to 98%, meaning only 2% is wasted.

For creatine nitrate, studies suggest that 100% of the creatine is absorbed, leaving none wasted. However, it’s essential to realize that we’re only talking about a 2% difference in absorption between creatine monohydrate and creatine nitrate which is not a significant difference.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is creatine nitrate the same as creatine?

While creatine nitrate and creatine share a common base, they differ in their molecular structures. Creatine nitrate combines creatine and nitrate, whereas traditional creatine supplements often come in the form of creatine monohydrate. The nitrate component in creatine nitrate may contribute additional benefits related to cardiovascular function and blood flow compared to creatine alone.

What are the 5 benefits of creatine?

Enhances strength and power output
Modestly increases lean mass when paired with resistance exercise
Reduces body fat in trained athletes
Enhances stored energy
Improves high-intensity exercise performance

How much creatine nitrate do you need?

Optimal creatine nitrate dosage can vary among individuals and is influenced by factors such as body weight, fitness goals, and overall health. However, a common starting point is around 2 to 5 grams per day. It’s essential to follow product-specific recommendations and, when in doubt, consult with a healthcare or fitness professional to determine the ideal dosage for your specific needs.

What does creatine nitrate taste like?

The taste of creatine nitrate can vary depending on the formulation and any added flavors or sweeteners in the product. Generally, creatine nitrate is available in flavored powders or capsules. Some users may find the taste neutral or mildly tart, while others may prefer flavored options to mask any inherent bitterness. It’s advisable to read product reviews or try small samples to find a creatine nitrate supplement with a taste that suits your preferences.

Final Takeaway

In conclusion, while creatine nitrate shows promise in enhancing muscle creatine levels and exercise performance, it remains a relatively understudied supplement compared to the well-established creatine monohydrate. The unique combination of creatine and nitrate in creatine nitrate holds potential cardiovascular benefits, but claims of superiority over creatine monohydrate lack substantial evidence. 

The International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends creatine monohydrate due to a lack of conclusive evidence supporting creatine nitrate’s superiority. Additionally, the overall safety and potential synergistic effects of co-ingesting creatine and nitrates require further investigation. 

As research on creatine nitrate continues, individuals should carefully consider their fitness goals, consult with healthcare or fitness professionals, and stay informed about emerging findings in the evolving landscape of sports supplementation.

References

Joanna Tsintaris | Registered Dietitian | MS Nutrition & Dietetics

Joanna Tsintaris | Registered Dietitian | MS Nutrition & Dietetics

Joanna is a registered Dietitian in the UK and Biomedical Science graduate with first class MSc in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is also the founder of Nourish (RD)—an online health and nutrition clinic offering personalized 1:1 dietetic advice.

Learn More About Joanna

More posts from Joanna Tsintaris | Registered Dietitian | MS Nutrition & Dietetics

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