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Creatine Ethyl Ester

Review of Creatine Ethyl Ester

What is Creatine Ethyl Ester?

Creatine ethyl ester (CEE or creatine-ester) is an ethyl ester derivative of creatine. It is marketed by a number of manufacturers as being a more bioavailable form of creatine with greater absorption and a longer half-life than creatine monohydrate. However, there is no current research to back up these claims. In fact current research suggests that not only is it rapidly degraded to creatinine in the stomach it is actually less effective than creatine monohydrate at increasing muscle creatine levels or improving muscle mass, strength or power.

Who Should Consider Taking Creatine Ethyl Ester supplements?

Creatine ethyl ester appears to be less effective than creatine monohydrate at raising muscle creatine levels, increasing muscle size or muscle strength. For a cheaper more effective alternative consider creatine monohydrate.

Summary of Creatine Ethyl Ester's Phyiological Effects:

  • Less effective than creatine monohydrate at increasing muscle creatine levels even when taken at double the recommended dosage
  • Creatine ethyl ester had no significant increase in total body mass, fat free mass
  • No additional benefit to increase muscle strength or performance than creatine monohydrate or a maltodextrose placebo
  • Creatine ethyl ester significantly elevates plasma creatinine levels
  • Rapidly degrades to creatinine in the stomach

Creatine Ethyl Ester Research

Since creatine is known to have low bioavailability a number of different variations of creatine have been developed to try to overcome the low bioavailability. Creatine ethyl ester is produced by the process of Esterification which is sometimes used within pharmeuceutical industry to increase the bioavailability of certain drugs and health supplements that would otherwise have low bioavailability. Manufacturers of creatine ethyl ester have made a number of claims regarding it’s effectiveness in comparison with other types of creatine, including: “improved bioavailability”, “vastly superior absorption” and “longer half-life”. However, current research does not support these claims and it has so far proved less effective than creatine monohydrate.

Research suggests that creatine ethyl ester has a short half-life in the blood (Katzeres et al., 2009), appears to convert easily to the inactive creatinine (Giese and Lecher 2009; Spillane et al., 2009) and has little ergogenic benefit (Spillane et al., 2009).

In one study creatine ethyl ester was found to be ineffective at increasing blood and muscle creatine levels and had no additional benefit to increase muscle strength or performance than either creatine monohydrate or a maltodextose placebo (Spillane et al., 2009). In this study subjects took a loading phase of 0.3g/kg fat free body mass (~20g/day) of either creatine monohydrate, creatine ethyl ester or maltodextose for 5 days followed by a maintenance phase of 0.075g/kg fat free mass (~5g/day). When compared with the placebo, the levels of serum creatine and muscle creatine were significantly greater in the creatine monohydrate group but not significantly greater in the CEE group. The level of serum creatinine increased significantly in the creatine ethyl ester group, throughout the study, but not in the placebo or creatine monohydrate group indicating that a significant amount of creatine ethyl ester was being degraded to creatinine within the gastro-intestinal tract after ingestion. The researchers stated that “it appears that the skeletal muscle uptake of creatine ethyl ester was not significant enough to increase skeletal muscle creatine levels without significant degradation to creatinine occurring.” and concluded that compared with creatine monohydrate, CEE was not as effective at increasing serum & muscle creatine levels or improving body mass or performance measures. Therefore there is currently insufficient evidence to support the claims made about creatine ethyl ester even when taken at double the current recommended dose.

Is Creatine Ethyl Ester effective?

Current research does not appear to suggest that creatine ethyl ester is effective at enhancing muscle creatine levels, muscle strength or performance even when taken at double the current recommended dosage.

How to take Creatine Ethyl Ester?

Due to lack of effectiveness in current research we are unable to recommend an effective dose for creatine ethyl ester. For a research proven and cheaper alternative consider creatine monohydrate.

Creatine Ethyl Ester Side Effects

Creatinine ethyl ester appears to be safe and well tolerated although it has undergone less extensive research than creatine monohydrate.

Creatine Ethyl Ester References

Giese MW, Lecher CS. (2009) Qualitative in vitro NMR analysis of creatine ethyl ester pronutrient in human plasma.Int J Sports Med. 2009 Oct;30(10):766-70.

Katseres NS, Reading DW, Shayya L, Dicesare JC, Purser GH. (2009) Non-enzymatic hydrolysis of creatine ethyl ester.Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2009 Aug 21;386(2):363-7.

Spillane M, Schoch R, Cooke M, Harvey T, Greenwood M, Kreider R, Willoughby DS. (2009) The effects of creatine ethyl ester supplementation combined with heavy resistance training on body composition, muscle performance, and serum and muscle creatine levels. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009 Feb 19;6:6.