If there’s one supplement that athletes and sports enthusiasts should consider, that would be the creatine monohydrate supplement. It is a supplement that can help to improve gym or workout performance.
In spite of the claims of the users of this supplement, still many people are in doubts regarding its safety and potential side effects (3, 4).
10 Best Creatine Supplements
#1. Klean Athlete Klean Creatine
This Klean Athlete product has 5 grams of creatine monohydrate per serving, making it suitable for people looking for a basic but effective creatine supplement.
Klean Creatine, like most other Klean Athlete products, is NSF Certified for Sport, ensuring that it fulfills stringent quality criteria.
It is quite flavorless, so it’s simple to incorporate into smoothies, shakes, and drinks.
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#2. MuscleTech Platinum 100% Creatine, Ultra-Pure Micronized Creatine Powder
The main content of MuscleTech Platinum 100% Creatine is micronized creatine. The micronized creatine is clinically researched and of high quality.
Thus, by taking this supplement you can expect to improve your endurance and strength as well as build lean muscle.
This supplement is very beneficial to hard-working muscles. It gives you the energy needed to train longer and harder.
With this, you can maximize your strength and size gradually. A study showed that a single maximum serving can help gain 6 pounds of muscle within 6 weeks.
#3. Creatine Monohydrate Powder Micronized
If there’s one creatine supplement that every athlete or bodybuilder should consider, it would be Creatine Monohydrate Powder Micronized by BulkSupplements. This performance formula will help you in improving your workout performance and boost muscular endurance.
This supplement is in powder form and can be taken either before or after working out. The good thing about this product is that it gives you the energy to perform a high-intensity exercise in order to achieve your fitness goals.
It also increases your speed to endure explosive workouts through the micronized creatine monohydrate. It plays an essential role to transport energy to your muscles to enhance strength and speed as well as gain muscle mass.
It is safe to use this supplement because it is clinically tested and verified. This product is perfect for people following a vegan diet. It’s because there are no unnecessary additives, dairy, soy, and sugar content.
#4. VINTAGE BUILD – The Essential 3-in-1 Muscle Builder
Do you want to build lean muscle? Well, this creatine supplement can be the best option for you. The Vintage Build is a supplement that provides effective results made possible through its muscle-building ingredients.
This product is tested and formulated with premium ingredients including BCAA, L-glutamine and creatine monohydrate. It claims guaranteed results for both men and women who want to achieve lean muscle growth.
Vintage Build delivers a highly effective and safe dose that’s why you can expect to build muscle, not bulk. It also boosts strength and allows fast recovery. Thus, you’ll be able to perform well during high-intensity workouts.
Taking this powder supplement is very convenient not to mention its great taste. You can mix the powder with plain water or combine it with your favorite protein shake.
#5. Kaged Muscle C-HCl, Patented Creatine Capsules
This product is a patented Creatine Hydrochloride. It supports power, strength and recovery. Unlike any other creatine supplements, Kaged Muscle C-HCl does not require loading or cycling.
The best time to take this supplement is during pre-workout at least 30 to 60 minutes. You can take it even with an empty stomach or with food.
The required dose depends on your body weight. Every 100 pounds of your body weight is equivalent to 1 serving of Kaged Muscle C-HCl.
For ordinary training days, you can take 1 serving, but for a high-intensity workout, 2 servings per 100 pounds are required. This product is not recommended for individuals below 18 years of age. Consult your health care provider prior to using this supplement.
#6. Thorne Research Creatine
Thorne Research is a supplement manufacturer specializing on high-quality, sustainably derived products.
This unflavored product has 5 grams of creatine per serving and is gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, and devoid of other common allergens.
It is indeed NSF Certified for Sport, which means it’s been thoroughly tested by a third party to assure it’s free of harmful pollutants and forbidden compounds for athletes.
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#7. Optimum Nutrition Creatine 2500mg
Each capsule of this supplement contains creatine monohydrate. It is formulated for maximum absorption and rapid disintegration. It also supports the nutritious goals of both amateur and professional athletes.
The suggested dosage of creatine monohydrate that you should take is 20 to 25 grams for 5 days for optimal muscle saturation. For best results, you should take the supplement along with a non-caffeinated and non-acidic beverage.
This creatine supplement is perfect for those who can’t drink the powder form. Some users of this product were happy and satisfied with its effect. They said that it’s very convenient to take this supplement.
#8. Crazy Muscle Creatine Pills
This has a 5g creatine per dose designed to improve muscle function and reduce recovery time and enhances your capacity to complete high-intensity workouts
It is gluten-free with a combined flavor of Creatine Monohydrate, Creatine Alpha Ketoglutarate, and Creatine Pyruvate.
#9. LIFEAID FITAID Recovery Blend
A natural caffeine drink with 40 calories per can.
It contains necessary vitamins and nutrients like Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAS), Glutamine, Glucosamine, Omega-3s, B-Complex, Electrolytes, Turmeric, CoQ10, Quercetin, and Green
Tea is all examples of branched-chain amino acids.
It is non-artificial flavors or sweeteners, salt, sucralose, or aspartame. It keeps your body moving and feeling wonderful.
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#10. BSN CELLMASS 2.0 Post Workout Recovery
This is a post-workout recovery supplement that aids in recovery, endurance, strength, and overall performance.
This is a 5g creatine matrix consisting of creatine monohydrate, creatine HCl, and creatine anhydrous and also 3g of glutamine and glutamic acid and also 10g of amino acid per day
It is naturally & artificially Blue Raz flavored and easy to include in smoothies, shakes, and other beverages.
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What is Creatine and How Does It Work?
Creatine is also called a protein’s building block and your body naturally produces it from the amino acids. It is also found in foods that are rich in protein like fish and meat. To get enough amount of creatine, you must eat a lot of fish and meat.
In this regard, athletes and bodybuilders prefer taking creatine supplements to enhance strength and build muscle. The amount of creatine stored in your body is affected by several factors like exercise, meat intake, level of testosterone and muscle mass.
About 95% of the creatine in your body is kept in muscles, while 5% is deposited in the brain, liver, and kidney (5). Thus, taking supplements increases the phosphocreatine that is stored in your body and eventually produces ATP or the body’s energy currency.
Aside from producing ATP, also works on different cellular processes such as an increase in muscle mass, recovery and strength. Here are some other ways in which creatine work:
- Increased workload – Taking creatine supplement will enable you to maximize your work that is also a key factor to achieve muscle growth for the long term (6).
- Raise anabolic hormones – Studies show that people taking creatine supplements can benefit raise in anabolic hormones like IGF-1 (7, 8).
- Improve cell signaling – Creatine also improves cell signaling that works on new muscle growth and muscle repair (9).
- Lessen protein breakdown – If you’ll take supplementation you can expect that the protein breakdown is reduced, thus increasing muscle mass (10).
- Boost cell hydration – Cell volumization effect is essential in muscle growth. By taking creatine supplement the water content in your muscle cells also increases (11, 12).
- Reduce myostatin levels – High levels of myostatin greatly impact your body as it inhibits the growth of new muscle. That’s why the best thing to do is to take a creatine supplement to reduce the myostatin level and eventually increase growth (13).
What is the Best Type of Creatine?
There are several types of research conducted showing that creatine monohydrate is the best type of creatine. This type is getting popular due to many amazing reasons.
But, keep in mind that it is quite difficult to dissolve inside your body. That’s why before you decide to take this supplement, you must know what to do to properly dissolve it.
What Are Creatine Supplements?
Creatine is available in various brands and forms. They don’t only vary in the actual change but also in the transport vector. The effective transport of creatine throughout your muscles depends on your genetic composition.
Here are creatine supplements and how they work inside your body:
- Creatine monohydrate – Studies show that it is the best option for supplementation. Aside from being inexpensive, creatine monohydrate also offers many benefits.
- Creatine citrate – It is more water-soluble as compared to monohydrate, but it’s not the better option if you think about effectiveness and absorption.
- Liquid creatine – It is less effective as a supplement and hardly dissolves. It takes several days to dissolve and it turns into creatinine when it breaks down.
- Micronized creatine – This type of creatine had undergone processes to refine the particle size and increase its water solubility. However, it is less effective and absorptive.
- Creatine nitrate – It is more water-soluble and offers ergogenic properties. The drawback is that there are no studies conducting proving it to be a better option.
- Creatine magnesium chelate – This creatine is bound to magnesium that works with creatine metabolism. A study showed that it also provides ergogenic effects, yet less water weight gain should be expected.
- Creatine pyruvate – Research reveals that this form of creatine produces higher plasma levels than monohydrate. However, it’s not the better choice if you want to enhance your performance or obtain greater muscle absorption.
Benefits of Taking Creatine
Creatine supplementation is beneficial not only for bodybuilders but also for athletes especially those playing football and soccer. It also shows positive effects on different aspects of your health such as:
- Effects on muscle gain – Taking creatine as a supplement is a great help to the weight training program. It is effective in building muscle mass and improve leg strength.A study showed that taking creatine for 12 weeks can help in increasing muscle fiber growth more than three times than doing training alone.
- Improve strength and exercise performance – Supplementing with creatine while doing a training program is a great help. It does not only increase strength but also weight lifting performance. Taking creatine facilitates more production of ATP that is essential to maintain the performance in an extended time.
- Promotes brain health – Another health benefit of creatine supplementation is to promote brain health. Your brain needs plenty of ATP and must store phosphocreatine in order to function properly. Taking this supplement can improve brain conditions including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Ischemic stroke, Huntington’s disease, spinal cord injuries, epilepsy, motor neuron disease and better memory function of the elderly.
- It provides a “cellular swelling” effect – Research shows that taking creatine will make your muscle look bigger due to its “cellular swelling” effect. It also shows positive effects in keeping a proper nitrogen balance.
- Facilitates better muscle recovery – If you attend workouts regularly, you should consider taking creatine supplementation. It helps your body recover faster after doing the workout. This way, you can expect to perform better in the succeeding session. Moreover, creatine is also useful in reducing blood sugar levels and treatment for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
How To Take Creatine
There are two ways of creatine supplementation as the loading and maintenance phase. During the loading phase, you need to take 20 grams of creatine for a week in split doses. In this phase, the muscle cells are saturated with creatine and you can expect faster results.
The next stage is the maintenance phase in which you’ll need to take 5 grams of creatine daily (1). You can skip the loading phase and proceed to the second phase, but it will take a longer time before you can experience the benefits.
On the other hand, creatine cycling is not a better option because it does not offer added benefits other than following the proper ways of taking creatine.
What to Look For in a Good Creatine Supplement
Knowing all the benefits of creatine, many people were attracted to use it. But, before you start make sure to know what you should look for in a good or effective creatine supplement.
A good creatine supplement is one that can offer effective and long-lasting results. It should be efficient in restoring ATP that is necessary to keep you energized while working out. You should also take supplements that can stimulate protein synthesis.
You must take a creatine supplement that can strengthen muscle cells and eventually makes you generally stronger and gain lean muscle mass.
The supplement must be able to buffer lactic acid. It is important to delay muscle fatigue, thus allows you to play harder on the field or work longer.
It’s important to be extra careful in choosing the supplement to take for your safety. The first thing to keep in mind is to ensure buying creatine supplements from a reputable seller.
Does Creatine Have Any Side Effects?
Creatine is the most talked-about supplement to build muscle and at the same time improve exercise performance.
Comprehensive studies were conducted and showed that no adverse effects were evident after creatine supplementation for 21 months. Likewise, there’s no evidence that this supplement harms the kidneys and liver, provided that it is taken in normal dosage (21, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19).
This means that to avoid adverse effects, people suffering from kidney and liver problems should consult first a health care provider before supplementing.
Some people were thinking that supplementing with creatine can cause cramps and dehydration, but no proven research is available. Rather, studies show that it can reduce dehydration and cramps while doing endurance exercise.
When is The Best Time to Take Creatine
Like any other supplement, there’s an ideal time to take creatine. It’s because proper timing can enhance the benefits that you may obtain from supplementation.
Taking the supplement before workout
Most weight lifters prefer to take creatine an hour earlier before a workout. It’s because the supplement works as a stimulant.
It will immediately absorb into your bloodstream and muscles; thus you can expect more improved performance and enjoy the full benefit of creatine supplementation.
Supplementing after workout
Taking creatine after working out is also advisable considering some biological factors. The creatine stored in your body is depleted after working out. Likewise, the food you’ll eat after working out may raise insulin and carbs for maximum creatine assimilation.
Another advantage of taking creatine after working out is that it enhances the process of muscle growth. But, you need to be careful in doing this option as it has negative effects when it interacts with caffeine. Likewise, you should not take the supplement before going to bed.
On the other hand, if you work out at night, the best time to take creatine is during breakfast or lunch. Make sure to eat a solid meal and drink enough water.
Regardless of the time that you take creatine, you should keep in mind that it doesn’t show immediate effects on muscle size and strength. You can only notice the full benefit once the supplement is fully saturated within your body.
Considering all the health benefits that creatine provides, we can say that it is safe to use it as a supplement. However, you need to be extra careful in choosing the supplement to take. As much as possible you must consult first your doctor to know if it’s safe for you.
As there are several forms and brands of creatine available, choose the one that will work best for you. Take time to read some customer reviews about the product. Keep in mind that muscle building is not an overnight task.
To enjoy the benefits of creatine supplements, you must work out and follow a healthy diet while taking the supplement. Indeed, creatine is a cost-effective and safe option for building lean muscle and improving performance.
is a registered dietitian with over 10 years of experience in the field of nutrition. She has a Master’s degree in Nutritional Science from Dhaka University and has worked with various clients to help them achieve their health goals through personalized diet plans. Mounota is passionate about educating people on the benefits of a healthy diet and lifestyle and has written extensively on the subject for various publications.