Powdered Vs Liquid Creatine – Which is better?

I thought that liquid creatine was a thing of the past. Creatine monohydrate powder is one of the most studied sports supplements ever that’s continually proven to be safe and effective. So much so that I’m surprised to see the liquid version still being sold. 

I thought, maybe there’s some benefit to the liquid version. Who knows? My theories have been proven wrong before. That’s okay. It’s how we learn.  

So I set out to get to the truth. Is it possible that you can take a tiny dropperful creatine serum and see the same results as the powder? Answering this question was pretty easy actually. 

After reading this article you’ll see why. You’ll know which supplement is worth your money and which isn’t worth taking if it was given to you for free. 

Before we answer the liquid vs powder creatine debate I want to give you more details about each supplement in case you aren’t familiar with them. 

What Is Liquid Creatine?

Also referred to as creatine serum, companies that sell this product claim it contains creatine in liquid form. They say their product is more convenient to use since it’s already prepared for you to take. They also often say that it doesn’t cause you to be bloated after taking it and doesn’t require as large a dosage as creatine powder to see results.

What Is Creatine Monohydrate Powder?

This type of creatine supplement has the appearance and consistency of sugar and needs to be mixed into water or other drink before it’s taken. It’s the OG of creatine supplements and has been available as a sport supplement since the early 1990s. 

Liquid Vs Powder Creatine – What Does Science Say?

To answer this question I did a pubmed search on liquid creatine. It brought back 2 studies that tested it in a variety of ways. Here are the results of each study for you to see which product works and which doesn’t.

Study One – Which Is A Better Performance Enhancer?

Here scientists conducted a head to head test of creatine powder vs a liquid creatine supplement sold by Muscle Marketing USA (MMUSA) to learn which is better for boosting our performance when we sprint as hard as possible.

The guys in the study were competitive and physically fit soccer and rugby players used to doing lots of sprints. Each of them took liquid creatine for 6 days and creatine powder for 6 days. They waited enough time between taking either supplement to allow their body to clear itself of any extra creatine. This way neither type of supplement could negatively or positively have an impact on the other’s results. 

Before and after taking each type of creatine the athletes performed a series of all out sprints on a stationary bike. This was done to measure how hard they’re able to sprint and how much all out sprinting they can do. 

Here are the results. After taking creatine monohydrate powder for 6 days, they were able to sprint harder and do way more sprints than they did in their before supplementation. When the same guys took liquid creatine their performance didn’t improve. At all. 

So, if you want to improve your ability to sprint and go hard in and out of the gym, creatine powder is the one to take. Maybe if you take liquid creatine for a longer amount of time it’ll help you out but there’s no information that says it does. 

Winner: Creatine Monohydrate Powder

Study Two: Which Supplement Contains More Creatine?

In this experiment sports scientists had a group of guys take either liquid or powdered creatine or drink plain water over 3 weeks time. Blood tests were done before and after each of the drinks for creatine content. Their urine was also tested for the same purpose.     

After analyzing each of their blood and urine it was determined that the powder significantly increased the amount of creatine in their blood and urine. Just like it has in many other experiments. 

The liquid creatine which was again the one sold by Muscle Marketing USA (MMUSA) like the other study didn’t increase blood levels. At all. The same as water. There was also 0 creatine in the guy’s urine.

A third test was done on the liquid supplement to see how much creatine it had per serving. The result? Again a big, fat 0. None. Nada. Zip. Zilch. There was absolutely no creatine in it. But there was plenty of creatinine. It’s a waste product that’s removed from our body when we pee. It doesn’t build muscle or do anything else creatine does. 

So this means that the liquid creatine supplement contained creatinine and not creatine. All you’re doing when you take it is peeing it straight out. 

Winner: Creatine Monohydrate Powder

What About Building Muscle, Getting Stronger?

There are no studies to date that test for any of these benefits after taking liquid creatine. Given the results of the research I review in this article my guess is that researchers don’t find much reason to do the work. 

Creatine monohydrate on the other hand has been analyzed and tested in over 700 studies and shown to help you gain muscle, increase your strength, and recover faster during hard workouts. There’s even some data which shows taking creatine monohydrate powder may help you live longer too.

Don’t Waste Your Money On Liquid Creatine

Even though there’s only 2 studies that’ve been done comparing the 2 supplements, the fact that there was 0 creatine in the liquid based supplement and it did nothing to improve sprinting performance I’m very reluctant to say it’s worth trying. I can say I definitely won’t be. 

Especially when there have been almost 1000 scientific studies done on creatine monohydrate that show it works for the vast majority of the people who take it. Over 70%! 

As long as you take it as directed and put in the work at the gym, you’re almost guaranteed to see positive results. 

References 

Gill ND, Hall RD, Blazevich AJ. Creatine serum is not as effective as creatine powder for improving cycle sprint performance in competitive male team-sport athletes. J Strength Cond Res. 2004 May;18(2):272-5. 

Harris RC, Almada AL, Harris DB, Dunnett M, Hespel P. The creatine content of Creatine Serum and the change in the plasma concentration with ingestion of a single dose. J Sports Sci. 2004 Sep;22(9):851-7.

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