Background: Previous research has shown that plasma creatine levels are influenced by extracellular concentrations of insulin and glucose as well as by the intracellular creatine concentration. However, the form of creatine administered does not appear to have any effect although specific data on this is lacking. This study examined whether the administration of three different forms of creatine had different effects on plasma creatine concentrations and pharmacokinetics.
Methods: Six healthy subjects (three female and three male subjects) participated in the study. Each subject was assigned to ingest a single dose of isomolar amounts of creatine (4.4 g) in the form of creatine monohydrate (CrM), tri-creatine citrate (CrC), or creatine pyruvate (CrPyr) using a balanced cross-over design. Plasma concentration curves, determined over eight hours after ingestion, were subject to pharmacokinetic analysis and primary derived data were analyzed by repeated measures ANOVA.
Results: Mean peak concentrations and area under the curve (AUC) were significantly higher with CrPyr (17 and 14%, respectively) in comparison to CrM and CrC. Mean peak concentration and AUC were not significantly different between CrM and CrC. Despite the higher peak concentration with CrPyr there was no difference between the estimated velocity constants of absorption (ka) or elimination (kel) between the three treatments. There was no effect of treatment with CrPyr on the plasma pyruvate concentration.
Conclusion: The findings suggest that different forms of creatine result in slightly altered kinetics of plasma creatine absorption following ingestion of isomolar (with respect to creatine) doses of CrM, CrC and CrPyr although differences in ka could not be detected due to the small number of blood samples taken during the absorption phase. Characteristically this resulted in higher plasma concentrations of creatine with CrPyr. Differences in bioavailability are thought to be unlikely since absorption of CrM is already close to 100%. The small differences in kinetics are unlikely to have any effect on muscle creatine elevation during periods of creatine loading.