Creatine with a transport system is a specialized sports nutrition supplement designed to enhance your body’s ability to absorb and utilize creatine. These supplements, typically used pre-workout, combine creatine with ingredients like simple carbohydrates and amino acids, which stimulate an insulin response. This process effectively delivers creatine to your muscles, thereby increasing the levels of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) – the primary energy source for muscle function – and promoting muscle growth and strength.

The added transport system not only optimizes creatine’s absorption and delivery but may also provide additional benefits such as anabolic action and improved muscle nutrition. However, the effectiveness of these systems can vary, with the quality and composition of supplements differing across the market. Therefore, it’s crucial to choose well-balanced products with a reliable form of creatine, like creatine monohydrate, for optimal results.

Despite their higher price point, creatine supplements with a transport system are considered the most effective option in sports nutrition. However, beware of poorly designed products that seem more gimmick than science, as they often fall short in effectiveness compared to well-formulated counterparts.

Occasionally, you’ll come across supplements that seem to be a product of scientists’ ignorance, created merely to stand out and attract customer attention. However, these “innovations” often lag behind in effectiveness when compared to well-balanced creatine supplements with a transport system. When choosing the best supplement, pay attention to the form of creatine. Creatine monohydrate is a top choice. The most effective transport substances will be discussed in more detail below.

Creatine and Carbohydrates

Independent research carried out at Creighton University provided documented evidence of the positive impact of the “creatine and carbohydrates” combo on workout results. This research found that this combination boosts workout results by an average of 20 – 30% more than pure creatine alone.

Another intriguing study showed that those who consume the “creatine and carbohydrates” combo not only enhance creatine absorption by muscle cells by 50% but also improve the formation of muscle glycogen. This research also demonstrated that results improve even for athletes whose bodies don’t respond to pure creatine.

Creatine and Protein (Amino Acids)

Scientists hypothesized that the stimulating effects of carbohydrates are linked to insulin, the levels of which increase not only due to carbohydrates but also amino acids. Recent research confirmed that insulin could amplify the accumulation of creatine in skeletal muscles, but only at concentrations close to or exceeding 100ml/l. Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) also exerts a similar effect.

Dr. G.R. Steenge conducted an experiment to ascertain whether protein consumption would enhance creatine retention to levels typical of simple carbohydrates. The study results indicated that consuming creatine along with 50 grams of protein and 50 grams of carbohydrates effectively stimulates insulin release and creatine retention, just as consuming creatine with 100 grams of carbohydrates does. In other words, it’s feasible to mix creatine with a gainer. This not only sums up their actions but also mutually enhances their effect, and it’s also quite convenient.

A good alternative to proteins could be amino acids. Their advantage is that they are less calorific compared to proteins, which is relevant for people losing weight. At the same time, they are absorbed much faster as they don’t require enzymatic catalysis, leading to a significant insulin surge. This, in turn, facilitates the transport of creatine.

Creatine and Taurine

When it comes to bodybuilding, some of the most beneficial features of taurine are its activating influence that amplifies the intensity of workouts and, therefore, improves athletic performance. It also aids in quicker recovery post-workouts and has the capability to boost insulin secretion.

Moreover, taurine has a direct anti-catabolic effect. As a result, it’s included in many creatine supplements to augment cell volume and muscle growth.

Creatine and Alpha-lipoic Acid

Alpha-lipoic acid intensifies insulin metabolism even in the presence of insulin resistance (insensitivity to insulin). Insulin resistance is a condition where the body produces adequate insulin in response to elevated blood glucose levels but doesn’t react to insulin as it should. This disorder has become quite common nowadays (Type 2 Diabetes).

Alpha-lipoic acid is included in several creatine transport systems because of its potent impact on insulin metabolism, even in individuals with metabolic disorders.

Creatine and L-arginine

Arginine plays a significant role in nitrogen exchange processes. Several distinct qualities of L-arginine provide a powerful stream-like delivery of creatine into muscle cells. L-arginine is a precursor for the synthesis of nitric oxide, which has pronounced vasodilatory properties. This improves blood flow in the muscles for a faster and more voluminous transport of nutrients, including creatine. The more blood flowing through muscle capillaries per unit of time, the more nutrients will be delivered to muscle cells. Also, nitric oxide helps reduce blood pressure, which serves as a good preventive measure against hypertension often seen in weightlifters. Finally, nitric oxide enhances sexual potency due to improved blood flow in sexual organs.

In addition, L-arginine has a wide range of beneficial properties that should not be ignored, especially in the context of bodybuilding. It enhances insulin sensitivity, which is crucial for accelerating creatine transport, and stimulates the secretion of growth hormone. Beyond boosting performance, it also improves the body’s immune function, reducing the time required for injury healing, including tendons. L-arginine may also reduce the risk of heart diseases and improve the reproductive characteristics of sperm. With such a broad spectrum of positive qualities, it’s evident that L-arginine is an essential supplement for those dedicated to fitness and health.

Research also exists that contradicts the benefits of L-arginine. These are discussed in more detail in the main article on arginine.

Creatine and L-Glutamine

L-Glutamine is an amino acid that plays a vital role in insulin metabolism at the cellular level. Studies have shown that enriching your diet with L-Glutamine can even prevent the onset of insulin imbalance in the body. It’s included in many creatine transport systems to increase cell volume and muscle growth. Besides, it helps prevent overtraining, improves brain function and is well-known for its anti-catabolic and immune-stimulating properties. Generally, glutamine is one of the most common amino acids in the human body. It makes up 60% of skeletal muscles and accounts for 20% of circulating free amino acids.

Creatine and D-Pinitol

D-Pinitol is a herbal extract with insulin-like properties. Research has revealed that consuming creatine with small doses of D-Pinitol (0.5 grams twice a day) can enhance creatine retention. However, consuming higher doses of D-Pinitol (0.5 grams four times a day) didn’t elevate creatine concentration levels. More research is needed on this topic.

Creatine and Vitamin E

A study led by G. B. Gerber revealed that vitamin E aids in the absorption of creatine by muscles. The experiment was conducted on mice artificially induced with a Vitamin E deficiency. In this state, early stages showed higher levels of free creatine in serum, compared to the control group, which then dropped below control group levels. Scientists concluded that muscle absorption of creatine decreases with a deficiency of Vitamin E, consequently increasing the pool of free creatine.

So, to sum up, carbohydrates and proteins (amino acids) are proven to have the most significant and effective impact on accelerating the transport and absorption of creatine.

Pure Creatine or Creatine with a Transport System, What to Choose?

Every athlete faces a choice: you can either purchase creatine monohydrate – a cost-effective and efficient form of creatine, known for its excellent value for money, and combine it with various transport systems listed above, or you can choose a pre-made mix of creatine and transport systems.

The current sports nutrition market is brimming with supplements falling under the category of creatine with a transport system. Almost every reputable company releases several types of these supplements. Most of them have a diverse composition, often including more than 30 components, especially when it comes to brands like MuscleTech.

At first glance, this might seem appealing, but if you analyze the composition from a physiological and biochemical perspective, such variety is not always advantageous or appropriate. Some components are poorly compatible, others are used in insignificant doses, which aren’t capable of producing the desired effect, and some components are best taken at different times, and so on.

Moreover, many supplements include cheap components (carbohydrates like maltodextrin), yet their price is inflated several times. In these cases, it’s much more cost-effective to take regular monohydrate and mix it with carbohydrates yourself – even regular sugar will do.


The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only. The content presented on this website should be considered solely as opinions and personal experiences. Read more