Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "

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'Creatine Ethyl Ester can't work'

If we are to believe the research that chemists from the American Marian University are about to publish in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, then the creatine analogue creatyl better known as creatine ethyl ester is a waste of time as a supplement. The compound can't work. It converts spontaneously into creatinine, a waste product of creatine.



Creatine ethyl ester [uppermost structural formula shown on this page] is a pro-nutrient. It has to be converted into creatine in the body [the middle structural formula shown]. This happens when it loses its ethyl spine, which the esterases in the body are responsible for. At least, that's what supplements manufacturers always thought.

The ethyl spine on creatine ethyl ester is there to ensure that the compound can travel faster through the body and make its way to the muscle cells, where it is converted into creatine. Creatine works like a battery for muscle cells. The creatine molecule charges itself with energy in the form of phosphate groups, and releases these during intensive training. This is what enables you to train harder and build up more muscle and strength.

Creatine is still the most researched and most effective legal supplement known in the power sports world. The supplements industry has made many attempts to manufacture new, more effective versions of creatine, and creatine ethyl ester is one of these.

That's why many users take creatyl just before training and notice the effects immediately. It apparently helps them to manage that one extra rep. But if you believe the American chemists' publication, youd put this down to the placebo effect.

The Americans mixed creatine ethyl ester with water in test tubes and used NMR technology to observe what happened to the molecule, for an hour. Although there were no esterases present in their test tubes, the molecule converted spontaneously, not into creatine but into creatinine [see the bottom structural formula on this page]. Creatinine is not active in muscles. Russian sports scientists came to a different conclusion in the 1980s, but that's a different story.

Creatine ethyl ester converts into creatine more easily at a lower pH. At a pH of 5.5 there was as much creatinine and creatyl present in the solution. The researchers only found small quantities of creatine.

Water has a pH of 7. Rainwater can have a pH as low as 5 as a result of air pollution. Tomatoes and grapes have a pH of 4.5, and tomato juice a pH of 4. The human stomach is considerably more acid, with a pH of 2. Its easy enough to work out.

Creatine is remarkably stable in the body, the researchers observe. Creatine ethyl ester on the other hand is not. The modification means that the molecule converts into creatinine at the slightest provocation. So the compound can't be effective and may even be unhealthy, say the chemists. "It appears CEE supplementation would actually provide high plasma concentrations of pharmacologically inactive creatinine rather than ergogenic creatine, and these acute levels may far exceed those determined to be within normal ranges", they conclude.

Researchers at Baylor University published an earlier study which shows that ordinary creatine works better than creatine ethyl ester. In that study the amount of creatine in the muscles of the test subjects did increase. According to the chemists at Marian University this is impossible. But in the Baylor University study the test subjects did not take the creatine ethyl ester in the way it should be taken: you take it just before you start training.

We still believe that creatine ethyl ester works.

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2009 Oct 16;388(2):252-5.

Study: 'creatine ethyl ester doesn't work' 25.03.2009