Creatine pyruvate is a novel form of creatine that is designed to enhance creatine’s absorption over the traditional form of creatine, namely, creatine monohydrate. Creatine pyruvate is 60% creatine and 40% pyruvate by weight. For an overview of the basics on creatine, please see our article, 'Creatine - The Basics'.
Creatine pyruvate is made synthetically by a German company Degussa AG, under the trade name CreapureTM Pyruvate. This is the same company that makes the well known CreapureTM Creatine Monohydrate.
Creatine pyruvate has the advantage of being better soluble in water than creatine monohydrate and thus can be sold as a component of sports drinks or in the form of effervescent tablets. After ingestion, the creatine-pyruvate molecule in the acid environment of the stomach rapidly splits to form creatine and pyruvate, and thus from a theoretical point of view might also combine the beneficial effects of creatine supplementation on the one hand, and the presumed ergogenic action of pyruvate on the other hand. Indeed, sponsored advertisements claim that the bioavailability of creatine originating from creatine pyruvate ingestion is better than for creatine monohydrate. Studies comparing the two forms have shown creatine pyruvate has the same beneficial properties of creatine monohydrate with regard to muscle strength, size and power in response to weight training.
One study has compared the absorption of creatine pyruvate with creatine monohydrate and found creatine pyruvate to result in slightly higher plasma concentrations than creatine monohydrate2. However, the authors of the study could not detect significant differences in the rate of absorption, which the authors attributed to the small number of blood samples taken during the absorption phase. The authors concluded that there is unlikely to be any major differences in bioavailability between the two forms since the absorption of creatine monohydrate is already close to 100%.
A study comparing the above two forms of creatine found creatine pyruvate to be superior in terms of its ability to maintain muscle force during intermittent exercise of maximal intensity1. The additional benefit of creatine pyruvate was thought to be due to the pyruvate moiety which may enhance aerobic metabolism.
Of the few studies that have specifically used creatine pyruvate, none have recorded any significant adverse side effects and with the unparalleled safety of creatine monohydrate having been proven, creatine pyruvate is like to have a similar safety profile.
Marketers of creatine pyruvate assert that with a better absorption profile, compared to creatine monohydrate, it may eliminate the need for high-dose creatine loading (~20 g/day) before shifting to a lower maintenance dose of 2-5 g/day.
Still a relatively new form of creatine, creatine pyruvate is not found in a very wide range of supplements. It make take further favourable studies to be published before more supplements containing this ingredient appear. In the meantime, get in contact with your favourite retailer to see what creatine pyruvate products they stock.
Creatine can be stacked with a myriad of products, with some of the more popular being protein and creatine-free pre-workout products. Beta-alanine is another popular nutrient that works via a separate mechanism to creatine to boost high-intensity exercise capacity.
1. Jager R, et al. The effects of creatine pyruvate and creatine citrate on performance during high intensity exercise. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2008;5:4.
2. Jager R, et al. Comparison of the new forms of creatine in raising plasma creatine levels. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2007;4:17.