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Creatine Nitrate (An Overview)

Updated: Aug 15

Evidence-Based. Scientifically Reviewed by Michael Sharpe, MSc and Rebecca McManamon, RD.


Safety Warning: On its own, creatine is perfectly safe, but it seems the combination of creatine and nitrate may increase the risk of cancer due to the formation of nitrosamines and therefore we recommend avoiding it.


Creatine nitrate is an alternative form of creatine, it is more water soluble than other forms, such as creatine monohydrate. However, it is less commonly used and may have some drawbacks.



What Is Creatine Nitrate?

Creatine nitrate is a kind of creatine in which the molecule has a nitrate group attached to it.


It is a synthetic form of creatine monohydrate and is made by combining nitric acid and creatine in water, when supplemented it's essentially like taking nitrates and creatine together. (1)


So far, just one study has been published, demonstrating that creatine nitrate is about 10x more water soluble than either creatine monohydrate or buffered creatine.


For a powdery texture to develop, like commonly seen when mixing creatine monohydrate, 10 times as much creatine nitrate is required in a given amount of water.


This suggests that creatine nitrate would have a less grainy flavour while drinking.


There has been no research on its effect on exercise performance or strength. Therefore, there's no research to support claims that creatine nitrate is better than creatine monohydrate.


Nitrates are inorganic salts that may be found in most fruits, vegetables, and cereals. Nitrate in the diet is linked to improved exercise endurance and heart health. (2, 3)



Benefits

There are some potential benefits of supplementing with creatine nitrate, mostly similar to other forms of creatine, such as monohydrate.


Better Texture & Taste

Due to the improved solubility of creatine nitrate, it can mix better with liquids, resulting in an improved taste and texture when compared to other forms of creatine, such as creatine monohydrate.


Improved Exercise Performance

48 active and healthy men were given a low or high creatine nitrate dosage (1.5 or 3 grams), a high dose of creatine monohydrate (3 grams), or placebo for 28 days in a study.


Participants who got a high dosage of creatine nitrate were able to bench press more weight than those who took a placebo, indicating that their exercise performance was improved.


The results were similar between the creatine monohydrate and nitrate groups. (4)


Taking creatine nitrate for 6 days increased the weight lifted in bench and leg press exercises in another study. Exercise performance and endurance were also enhanced. (5)


Increased Muscle & Strength

Creatine supplementation boosted lean tissue mass and muscular strength in older persons aged 57-70 years, according to one meta-analysis of 22 research. (6)


In a research on 48 healthy males, creatine nitrate boosted fat-free and lean mass after 28 days of ingestion. (4)



How It Works

Creatine nitrate is broken down in the body into creatine and nitrate. Separately, creatine and nitrate may have positive benefits for the body.


Creatine

Creatine is taken from the stomach and delivered to the muscles via the circulation, where creatine transporter proteins take up creatine molecules. (12)


Many variables influence the overall absorption of creatine into muscles, including total creatine concentration, hormones, and activity.


If the muscle has achieved its maximal storage capacity the transporter proteins will take in less creatine. (12, 13)


Creatine boosts endurance and increases energy storage in muscles during extended physical activity.


It also increases muscle mass by lowering levels of myostatin, a protein that inhibits muscle development, and boosting satellite cells, among other actions. (14, 15, 16)


Nitrates

The body does not directly benefit from nitrate. Rather, the advantages of dietary nitrate supplementation are due to nitric oxide, which is created by the breakdown of nitrates. (2)


Nitrates are converted to nitrites in the mouth by bacteria, which may subsequently be broken down into nitric oxide or nitrosamines in the stomach. (18)


When oxygen levels are excessively low, tissues produce nitric oxide. Increased nitrite and nitric oxide concentrations in the blood relax blood vessels and the heart, lowering blood pressure. (19, 20, 21, 2)


By lowering oxygen and energy needs per unit of force, nitrate supplementation may increase muscular endurance during exercise.


It may also lower energy needs, which helps to increase workout performance indirectly. (17, 21, 2)



Dietary Sources

There are many dietary sources of creatine and nitrate, as shown below. Typically, you may not consume the optimal amount in the diet, therefore creatine and nitrate can be supplemented in powder and pill form to boost your levels.


Creatine

Creatine is mainly found in animal products, including the following: (7)

  • Red meat

  • Fish

  • Poultry

  • Milk

  • Dairy products


Uncooked meats (chicken, beef, etc) contain around 3.4 g/kg of creatine, which declines when cooked. Milk has a significantly lower creatine content, around 0.7 g/kg. (8, 9)


Nitrates

Fruits and vegetables are the major sources of nitrates. The following vegetables have very high nitrate contents (>2500 mg/100 grams of fresh weight): (10, 11)

  • Celery

  • Cress

  • Chervil

  • Lettuce

  • Red beetroot

  • Spinach

  • Arugula



Dosage

A daily consumption of 1-3 g of creatine nitrate was shown to be safe and without side effects in clinical investigations. (22, 23)


A dose of 6 grams a day was shown to be safe in one trial, however supplementation was only for six days at a time, and further research is required to validate the dosage's long-term safety. (1)


Adverse Effects

Consuming creatine nitrate at a daily dosage of 1-3g for 28 days was shown to be safe and well-tolerated in two studies. (4, 23)


Adverse effects were reported infrequently and were not severe. Some of the reported adverse effects are as follows: (4)

  • Dizziness

  • Headaches

  • Increased heart rate

  • Palpitations

  • Nervousness

  • Hazy/blurred vision



Risks

Creatine nitrate nitrites may react with dietary amines in proteins to produce cancer-causing nitrosamines. (24)


Vitamin C and other antioxidants found in natural nitrate sources prevent the production of nitrosamines.


A lack of antioxidants while taking creatine nitrate may raise the danger of nitrosamine production. (24)


In acidic circumstances, creatine combined with nitrites in cells to generate N-nitrososarcosine (NSAR), another cancer-causing chemical. (25)


There are other risks too, such as that creatine nitrate might be contaminated with melamine and other substances that disrupt hormone systems.


Also, excess creatine consumption has been linked to renal injury in many case studies. (26, 27, 28)



References

This section contains links to research, studies, and sources of information for this article, as well as authors, contributors, etc. All sources, along with the article and facts, are subjected to a series of quality, reliability, and relevance checks.

Real Muscle primarily uses high-quality sources, such as peer-reviewed publications, to back up the information in our articles. To understand more about how we fact-check and keep our information accurate, dependable, and trustworthy, read more about us.

This evidence based overview of creatine nitrate features 28 reference, listed below.


1. Dalton RL, Sowinski RJ, Grubic TJ, Collins PB, Coletta AM, Reyes AG, Sanchez B, Koozehchian M, Jung YP, Rasmussen C, Greenwood M, Murano PS, Earnest CP, Kreider RB. Hematological and Hemodynamic Responses to Acute and Short-Term Creatine Nitrate Supplementation. Nutrients. (2017, Dec 15)

2. Bailey SJ, Fulford J, Vanhatalo A, Winyard PG, Blackwell JR, DiMenna FJ, Wilkerson DP, Benjamin N, Jones AM. Dietary nitrate supplementation enhances muscle contractile efficiency during knee-extensor exercise in humans. J Appl Physiol (1985). (2010, Jul) (Randomised Controlled Trial)

3. Brkić D, Bošnir J, Bevardi M, Bošković AG, Miloš S, Lasić D, Krivohlavek A, Racz A, Ćuić AM, Trstenjak NU. NITRATE IN LEAFY GREEN VEGETABLES AND ESTIMATED INTAKE. Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. (2017, Mar 1)

4. Galvan E, Walker DK, Simbo SY, Dalton R, Levers K, O'Connor A, Goodenough C, Barringer ND, Greenwood M, Rasmussen C, Smith SB, Riechman SE, Fluckey JD, Murano PS, Earnest CP, Kreider RB. Acute and chronic safety and efficacy of dose dependent creatine nitrate supplementation and exercise performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. (2016, Mar 31) (Randomised Controlled Trial)

5. Dalton RL, Sowinski RJ, Grubic TJ, Collins PB, Coletta AM, Reyes AG, Sanchez B, Koozehchian M, Jung YP, Rasmussen C, Greenwood M, Murano PS, Earnest CP, Kreider RB. Hematological and Hemodynamic Responses to Acute and Short-Term Creatine Nitrate Supplementation. Nutrients. (2017, Dec 15) (Randomised Controlled Trial)

6. Chilibeck PD, Kaviani M, Candow DG, Zello GA. Effect of creatine supplementation during resistance training on lean tissue mass and muscular strength in older adults: a meta-analysis. Open Access J Sports Med. (2017, Nov 2)

7. Brosnan ME, Brosnan JT. The role of dietary creatine. Amino Acids. (2016, Aug) (Review)

8. Harris RC, Lowe JA, Warnes K, Orme CE. The concentration of creatine in meat, offal and commercial dog food. Res Vet Sci. (1997, Jan-Feb)

9. Hülsemann J, Manz F, Wember T, Schöch G. Die Zufuhr von Kreatin und Kreatinin mit Frauenmilch und Säuglingsmilchpräparaten [Administration of creatine and creatinine with breast milk and infant milk preparations]. Klin Padiatr. (1987, Jul-Aug) (Translated)

10. Hord NG, Tang Y, Bryan NS. Food sources of nitrates and nitrites: the physiologic context for potential health benefits. Am J Clin Nutr. (2009, Jul) (Review)

11. Hord NG. Dietary nitrates, nitrites, and cardiovascular disease. Curr Atheroscler Rep. (2011, Dec) (Review)

12. Persky AM, Brazeau GA, Hochhaus G. Pharmacokinetics of the dietary supplement creatine. Clin Pharmacokinet. (2003) (Review)

13. Speer O, Neukomm LJ, Murphy RM, Zanolla E, Schlattner U, Henry H, Snow RJ, Wallimann T. Creatine transporters: a reappraisal. Mol Cell Biochem. (2004, Jan-Feb)

14. Greenhaff PL, Casey A, Short AH, Harris R, Soderlund K, Hultman E. Influence of oral creatine supplementation of muscle torque during repeated bouts of maximal voluntary exercise in man. Clin Sci (Lond). (1993, May) (Clinical Trial)

15. Saremi A, Gharakhanloo R, Sharghi S, Gharaati MR, Larijani B, Omidfar K. Effects of oral creatine and resistance training on serum myostatin and GASP-1. Mol Cell Endocrinol. (2010, Apr 12) (Randomised Controlled Trial) ✔

16. Olsen S, Aagaard P, Kadi F, Tufekovic G, Verney J, Olesen JL, Suetta C, Kjaer M. Creatine supplementation augments the increase in satellite cell and myonuclei number in human skeletal muscle induced by strength training. J Physiol. (2006, Jun 1) (Randomised Controlled Trial)

17. Cermak NM, Gibala MJ, van Loon LJ. Nitrate supplementation's improvement of 10-km time-trial performance in trained cyclists. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. (2012, Feb) (Clinical Trial)

18. Duncan C, Dougall H, Johnston P, Green S, Brogan R, Leifert C, Smith L, Golden M, Benjamin N. Chemical generation of nitric oxide in the mouth from the enterosalivary circulation of dietary nitrate. Nat Med. (1995, Jun) ✔

19. Gladwin MT, Raat NJ, Shiva S, Dezfulian C, Hogg N, Kim-Shapiro DB, Patel RP. Nitrite as a vascular endocrine nitric oxide reservoir that contributes to hypoxic signaling, cytoprotection, and vasodilation. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. (2006, Nov) (Review)

20. Lundberg JO, Weitzberg E. NO generation from nitrite and its role in vascular control. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. (2005, May) (Review)

21. Bailey SJ, Winyard P, Vanhatalo A, Blackwell JR, Dimenna FJ, Wilkerson DP, Tarr J, Benjamin N, Jones AM. Dietary nitrate supplementation reduces the O2 cost of low-intensity exercise and enhances tolerance to high-intensity exercise in humans. J Appl Physiol (1985). (2009, Oct) (Randomised Controlled Trial)

22. Galvan E, Walker DK, Simbo SY, Dalton R, Levers K, O'Connor A, Goodenough C, Barringer ND, Greenwood M, Rasmussen C, Smith SB, Riechman SE, Fluckey JD, Murano PS, Earnest CP, Kreider RB. Acute and chronic safety and efficacy of dose dependent creatine nitrate supplementation and exercise performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. (2016, Mar 31) (Randomised Controlled Trial)

23. Joy JM, Lowery RP, Falcone PH, Mosman MM, Vogel RM, Carson LR, Tai CY, Choate D, Kimber D, Ormes JA, Wilson JM, Moon JR. 28 days of creatine nitrate supplementation is apparently safe in healthy individuals. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. (2014, Dec 20)

24. Derave W, Taes Y. Beware of the pickle: health effects of nitrate intake. J Appl Physiol (1985). (2009, Nov)

25. Archer MC, Clark SD, Thilly JE, Tannenbaum SR. Environmental nitroso compounds: reaction of nitrite with creatine and creatinine. Science. (1971, Dec 24)

26. Deldicque L, Francaux M. Potential harmful effects of dietary supplements in sports medicine. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. (2016, Nov) (Review)

27. Pritchard NR, Kalra PA. Renal dysfunction accompanying oral creatine supplements. Lancet. (1998, Apr 25) (Case Reports) ✔

28. Koshy KM, Griswold E, Schneeberger EE. Interstitial nephritis in a patient taking creatine. N Engl J Med. (1999, Mar 11) (Case Reports)

Citations with a tick indicate the information is from a trusted source.

 

The information provided in this article is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the guidance of a physician or other competent professional before following advice or taking any supplement. See our terms and conditions.



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