Efficacy of Alternative Forms of Creatine Supplementation on Improving Performance and Body Composition in Healthy Subjects: A Systematic Review

J Strength Cond Res. 2022 Sep 1;36(9):2663-2670. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003873. Epub 2021 Feb 11.


Fazio, C, Elder, CL, and Harris, MM. Efficacy of alternative forms of creatine supplementation on improving performance and body composition in healthy subjects: a systematic review. J Strength Cond Res 36(9): 2663-2670, 2022-Novel forms of creatine have appeared in the marketplace with substantial claims of improved efficacy compared to creatine monohydrate (CrM). The purpose of this study was to conduct a systematic review on alternative forms of creatine to determine (a) whether they are effective ergogenic aids and (b) whether they outperform CrM. A separate comparison was conducted to determine average cost of various forms of creatine. Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), PubMed, Medline, and Google Scholar were systematically reviewed according to PRISMA guidelines. The design of the review was set to answer the PICOS model (subjects, interventions, comparators, outcomes, and study design). Seventeen randomized placebo controlled clinical trials examining exercise performance outcomes and body composition were included in the analysis. Magnesium-creatine chelate and creatine citrate, malate, ethyl ester, nitrate, and pyruvate were the only forms researched in the literature. Of these studies, only 3 studies compared the alternative creatine form to CrM, making it difficult to compare efficacy to CrM. There were no consistent findings of performance enhancement among alternative forms of creatine when compared to placebo. A review of the marketplace shows that CrM is the lowest cost form of creatine. Due to the paucity of studies on alternative forms of creatine as well as high prices on the market of these alternative forms, CrM remains as the most extensively studied form of creatine that shows efficacy, safety, and lowest cost to consumer.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Body Composition
  • Creatine*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Performance-Enhancing Substances* / pharmacology


  • Performance-Enhancing Substances
  • Creatine