Creatine vs Glutamine - Final Comparison
So this is what it's come to; we have to decide which supplement is better.
We went over the basics for both, so this shouldn't be too hard.
If you had to choose right now, which would you pick: creatine or glutamine?
I don't really know which I would choose myself, so let's do a little point-by-point comparison.
Creatine and glutamine are both pretty handy supplements. Both are created naturally in our bodies and can hold off muscle catabolism. And you can get by on your natural body stores of creatine alone, but if your body is running low on glutamine it'll break down your muscle protein. So to me, that'd make glutamine supplementation a little more important. (Creatine: 0, Glutamine: 1)
But, glutamine is in more food sources than creatine. So, in terms of needing to use a supplement, creatine would win this one. If you eat a healthy diet, you're probably already getting 5 - 8 grams of glutamine daily from your food alone. (C: 1, G: 1)
Both creatine and glutamine provide energy to your body; creatine gives energy to your muscles and glutamine gives energy to your immune system and helps replenish your glycogen stores. But, since you're supplementing to boost your performance in exercise, I think I'll probably give this one to creatine; it gives your muscles extra energy for explosive movements. (C: 2, G: 1) You'll most likely have food in your stomach while you exercise, and won't be relying much on your glycogen stores for energy, otherwise I would have given it to glutamine.
Both supplements can volumize your cells and speed up recovery. But creatine will make your muscles look more pumped up and full from water retention, and it'll also enhance hypertrophy and make your muscles even bigger. (C: 3, G: 1)
The water retention from creatine might make you look bloated and your muscles feel softer. But, since you may not notice either, we'll only give glutamine half a point. (C: 3, G: 1.5)
You'll have big gains at first with creatine, but those gains won't be consistent after a while, which is why it's recommended to cycle your creatine supplementation. Your gains will be more consistent with glutamine; there's no need to cycle on and off or to go through a loading phase. (C: 3, G: 2.5)
Both supplements can increase fat loss, but glutamine will boost your growth hormone. A small dose of 2 grams on an empty stomach will raise your growth hormone levels by 400%! (C: 3, G: 3.5)
Creatine can lower your cholesterol, and it will also hold off lactic acid build up and may boost your memory. That means you can lift harder and longer in the gym without that burning feeling in your muscles holding you back, and you might have a better chance of remembering the cute personal trainer's phone number. (C: 5, G: 3.5)
Glutamine will keep your nitrogen levels in balance. It also seems that people like glutamine more; it's not banned anywhere and its use isn't frowned upon in competition. But that doesn't really mean it's any better of a supplement, so we'll only give it half a point for that and a full point for the nitrogen. (C: 5, G: 5)
Neither supplement is stable unless stored in their dry powder form, plus there are really no real side effects from either, if you use the proper dosages. But it does seem that glutamine has less documented risks though, so we'll give it another half point. (C: 5, G: 5.5)
It's so close; both sides are putting up a good fight! So let's get to what really matters most.
How much are these supplements going to cost?
Prices are going to vary by brand and by store, but I did some research on the internet so that you didn't have to. And I was a little surprised to find that I could get creatine slightly cheaper per gram than I could get glutamine.
If you go through a loading phase with creatine, you're looking at 385 - 630 grams you'd need for two months, which depends on your size and how many grams you'd take for your maintenance dosage. But if you don't do the "loading" for the first week, you're looking at consuming 280 - 560 grams of creatine in two months. So, if you bought this 1000 gram jug I found (with shipping included), it would cost you around $8.74 - $14.30 for two months with a loading phase. Without that initial week of loading, it'll only cost you around $6.36 - $12.71 for those two months.
Now, you already know there's no reason to load up on glutamine, but you may require a larger daily dosage per gram compared to creatine. If you only take 5 grams a day then you'll only need 280 grams of glutamine for two months. But, if your body's under a lot of stress, then you may be taking around 15 grams a day. Then you'd need 840 grams of glutamine for two months. So, if you buy the 1000 gram jug I found, you're looking at spending anywhere from $7.44 to $22.31 for two months of supplementation.
AND THE WINNER IS...
...creatine, by way of decision!
Now, that was a close call, but you don't have to trust my judgement; the number of benefits for both are almost too close to call. Spend a few hours on the internet and do your own research, just make sure you're getting your information from reliable sources. Or better yet, read a book.
Both supplements are beneficial, so try them out and see which works best for you. I've used them both separately and at the same time. You can even find some supplements that have a good dosage of both creatine and glutamine in them, which could save you some money.
Now I hope, at the very least, that you learned something from this series of articles and can use your knowledge for gains in the future.
© 2007 Ben Guinter