Creatine is used by athletes all over the world to gain muscle and enhance performance. It is a naturally occurring substance our bodies make, an amino acid to be specific. It gives your muscle cells extra fuel to add more tissue and supply bursts of energy for you to use. This substance comes in hundreds of different supplements, whether in pill or powder form. You can make shakes with it, or stir it in food, or simply take a pill. Whichever way you take it, creatine supplements can increase your muscle mass dramatically. With so many options out there to choose from how do you know the best creatine supplement to choose? If you are looking for the answer, keep reading!
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Best Overall Creatine Supplement- Crazy Muscle Creatine Monohydrate Pills – Keto-Friendly Muscle Builder – 1,667 mg Tablets (138% + More Than Capsules) – Over 5 Grams of Creatine, Pyruvate + AKG – Optimum Bodybuilding Supplements
Crazy Muscle Creatine Monohydrate Pills are a pill-based creatine supplement that comes in a plastic bottle containing 90 pills per bottle. It is a keto-friendly creatine pill that will not interfere with a keto diet. Of all the creatine supplements available this supplement is the best value for the money in this price group. It helps support muscle growth as well as generating more energy and replenishing muscle stores in the body.
The supplement contains a 3-type blend of creatine which is unique to this brand and is also why it is named three-atine, after the 3 types of creatine it contains. It is a format you are probably already used to, just a capsule you can take with water or juice.
- 3 Types of creatine in one pill- Pyruvate, Alphaketoglutarate, and Monohydrate. The 3 creatine formula gives you a more varied and complete dose of creatine per pill.
- Maximized Absorption- The 3 creatine blend is absorbed faster by the body vs other normal creatines.
- Improve performance- Crossfit, runners, or bodybuilders will all benefit from the performance boost this creatine gives you.
- After workout recovery- After an intense workout, a creatine supplement like this will help revive and refresh your muscles.
- Convenient- Easy to take pill is simple to incorporate into your existing routine.
- Easy to take pill form- You can just take a pill on the go without the need to mix it in a drink or on food.
- Excellent value for money- 3 types of creatines per pill with 90 pills per bottle is a great value for the price.
- 3 different creatines in one pill- The unique formula provides exceptional muscle absorption.
- Contain no animal by-products- The capsules have no meat or other animal products.
- 5000 mg of creatine per serving
- Some people complain that the pills are large and must be broken up to eat
Of all the many creatine supplements available, this one has the most benefits and the best price tag. It is loved by its users, and it is effective and safe to use. It has a unique 3 creatine blend formula that is shown to aid in muscle absorption, which is a huge benefit to using a product like this. There are many decent creatine supplements on the market, but the Crazy Muscle pills tick all the boxes at a price that you can afford.
Best for Muscle Gain- CYTOSPORT Cyto Gainer Protein Powder, Vanilla Shake, 54g Protein, 6 Pound
Not everyone takes creatine supplements specifically for gaining muscle. Some take it for toning, some for muscle repair, others for pre-workout energy. The Cytosport Cyto Gainer Protein powder specializes in the muscle gain aspect of creatine/protein supplements. It comes in a canister that contains powder you can mix in drinks or put in food or shakes. The container is a 6-pound jug with 54 grams of protein. The flavor is vanilla crème, which is a pleasant, sweet flavor most users are happy with. Of all the supplements in this list, the Cytosport is the one that is the best at helping you gain pure muscle mass.
- 6 Pound container contains 36 servings which is a good bang for the buck as far as quantity of creatine for dollars spent.
- High protein calorie-dense formula- 550 calories per serving and 54g of protein will help to aid in muscle growth during and after a workout.
- Creatine Monohydrate- Contains creatine monohydrate which helps muscles become stronger.
- Leucine- Contains the key amino acid leucine which aids in triggering muscle growth and prevents the breakdown of muscle protein.
- Carbs- 73 carbs will replenish glycogen supply in the liver.
- Contains no banned substances.
- Effective in helping you gain muscle mass
- Pleasant taste- The vanilla crème flavor is tasty, and most users say they enjoy the flavor of the protein powder supplement.
- Lots of powder per jug- Each container has around six pounds of powder which breaks down to about 36 servings per container.
- Mixes well with milk or water
- Good price for this much product
- The powder is not as convenient to take on the go as pills are.
- The container is large and not easy to take on the go.
If you enjoy getting your creatine in a protein shake form, and you are especially concerned with muscle gain, this is a good match for you. It also comes in a chocolate flavor if you are not fond of the taste of vanilla crème. The downside here is that it comes in a big heavy six-pound jug, which is not very convenient for people on the go. If you have a protein shake mixer this will not be an issue. This protein powder creatine supplement is effective at helping you gain muscle quickly during and after an intense workout.
Best for Cutting- Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass Weight Gainer Protein Powder, Vitamin C, Zinc and Vitamin D for Immune Support, Vanilla, 6 Pound (Packaging May Vary)
Optimum Nutrition’s Serious Mass protein powder is a versatile creatine supplement that also contains other vitamins the body needs during and after workouts. It comes in a large container that weighs just about six pounds. It comes in five different possible flavors:
- Chocolate peanut butter
This supplement is known for being the best powder for cutting. Cutting is when you are attempting to get as lean as possible, cutting fat from your body but maintaining muscle mass. It contains 8 servings per container which are not many servings per container, making this a bit on the expensive side considering you only get 8 servings per six-pound jug.
You get 50 grams of protein per serving along with 250 grams of carbohydrates. It does contain some animal products like eggs and milk, so it may not be the best option for vegans. However, if you are not vegan and are currently trying to do some cutting, keep reading.
- High-Calorie weight gainer formula- 1250 calories per 2 scoops serving.
- 250 carbs per serving- Lots of carbohydrates to give you energy and supply your muscles with the food they need to grow.
- 50 grams of protein per serving- With 50 full grams of protein per serving you will be supplying your body with lots of fuel to burn.
- 25 minerals and vitamins in addition to glutamine and creatine- Many supplements do not provide the additional vitamins and minerals.
- Excellent for cutting
- Contains many healthy vitamins and minerals the body and muscles need
- The pleasant flavor that users enjoy
- High carbohydrates per serving
- Contains animal products and allergens
- A bit expensive for how much you get
The Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass Powder is not for everybody. It contains animal products and wheat which is an allergen to many people. However, if you are not vegan or allergic to gluten, and are currently cutting, this is the best option for your needs. When you are cutting you want to take care to add vitamins and minerals while you are losing the fat, and this supplement provides those nutrients. It is a pleasant-tasting vanilla powder you can mix in shakes which may be something you are already used to doing. It is not the cheapest powder out there, but it fills a specific need better than any other.
Best for Seniors Thorne Research – Creatine – Creatine Powder to Support Energy Production, Lean Body Mass, Muscle Endurance, and Power Output – NSF Certified for Sport – 16 Oz
Thorne Research Creatine is a supplement that comes in powder form in a one-pound canister. It is the best creatine supplement for seniors, but its benefits are not limited to senior citizens. It will help gain muscle mass and increase endurance like many other creatine supplements, but what makes this product uniquely good for seniors is the fact that it is known to help brain function as well as muscle performance. The creatine in this supplement is helpful in improving cognitive function and recall, and overall mental sharpness and alertness.
It is also known as a good creatine supplement to try If you have already tried others and not seen good results. There are some people that tried this after not seeing results with other products and finally getting the gains they were after when using Thorne research powder.
- Muscle Mass- The amino acids help improve power output, muscle growth, muscle capacity, and endurance.
- Energy- Creatine aids in the production of energy by feeding your body at the cellular level, the additional energy gained is then used to grow new muscle tissue.
- Brain Function- Creatine is not just beneficial for muscle growth, it is also helpful in improving cognitive brain function.
- NSF Certified- This product is certified by NSF for use in sports.
- Well-known trusted brand name- Thorne is used by over 100 professional teams and it is a partner of 11 US Olympic teams as well.
- Excellent choice for seniors
- A trusted brand name used by professional athletes
- NSF certified product
- Over 2000 positive reviews
- Good value for the money
- Contains small amounts of some contaminants (lead)
- Some users complain it does not dissolve very well
This protein powder creatine supplement is a good option for seniors or anyone else looking to improve their muscle tone as well as their cognitive function. It is NSF certified and used by Olympic athletes as well as professional sports teams, so using this product puts you in good company.
It does have a lead warning label saying it may contain lead which is a turn-off for many people, but overall, there are way more positive reviews than negative about this product. It will do a great job in promoting muscle growth, muscle repair, and cognitive function.
Best for Runners- Growth Surge Post Workout Muscle Builder with Creatine, Betaine, L-Carnitine L-Tartrate – Daily Muscle Building & Recovery Supplement – 30 Servings, SWOLEBERRY Flavor
The Growth Surge Post Workout Muscle Builder is a powder supplement made for a post-workout serving. It comes in a 10.6 Ounce jar which contains 30 servings. It is in a Swoleberry flavor. The recommended serving is one scoop per serving after you finish working out. It also comes in black cherry, Blueberry lemonade, or unflavored varieties. Runners tend to like creatine supplements that support explosive bursts of energy for sprinting and endurance for longer runs. The Growth Surge supplement will support both, which is why it is the best creatine supplement for runners.
- Supports lean muscle growth- Contains three key ingredients which help support muscle growth and fat loss all day long.
- Post-workout recovery- This supplement is specially formulated to help facilitate post-workout muscle healing and repair, which is critical for runners.
- Contains creatine monohydrate, which is the most effective form of creatine, as well as L Carnitine, L Tartrate, Betaine, & Bioperine.
- Made in the USA- It is made in the United States in a state-of-the-art facility.
- Multiple flavors to choose from
- Effective at supporting explosive energy
- Uses creatine monohydrate
- Helps post-workout recovery
- A bit expensive for the amount you get
This is a specialized post-workout creatine supplement that is especially effective for runners. It will help support explosive energy bursts for sprints and endurance for long intense runs. It comes in multiple flavors, so one is likely to be a flavor you like. It is not the cheapest supplement, but it is a good deal when you consider the bang for buck factor. If you are a runner and looking for a creatine supplement you can use to help your runs, you should consider Growth Surge post-workout supplement.
Best for Vegans- BulkSupplements.com Creatine Monohydrate (Micronized) – Vegan Preworkout – Muscle Building Supplements – Creatine Powder (100 Grams – 3.5 oz)
Many creatine supplements are quite effective at delivering protein and carbs in a convenient pill or powder format, but many of them contain animal by-products. This is an issue for people who are vegan and choose not to eat animals or animal products. However, Bulksupplements.com has created creatine monohydrate which contains no animal products and is totally vegan friendly. It comes in a resealable pouch that contains 20 servings at 5 grams per serving.
It contains creatine monohydrate which is shown to help you gain muscle mass as well as healing your muscles after an intense workout or run. Vegans can take it with no problem which is a huge benefit for vegans considering how many creatine supplements are not vegan friendly.
Increases muscle mass- Not only does it increase muscle mass, but it is also effective at improving muscle strength.
Helps you gain weight- If you need to gain weight, creatine monohydrate will make it easy to gain weight by simply adding it to your current diet as a supplement.
Increases Anaerobic Strength- Studies have shown creatine will boost muscle strength in short intense bursts of exercise or high-intensity workouts.
Good for your brain- Creatine is known to help aid in cognitive function as well as muscle mass.
- Vegan-friendly creatine supplement
- Easy to take
- Effective muscle growth
- Excellent value for money spent
- Does not taste good / very bland, some complain it is bitter
For vegans that are in search of a creatine supplement that will help you gain muscle and improve your workouts, this is a great fit. It may not taste like vanilla or banana-like some other supplements, but it contains no animal products, and it is quite effective at adding muscle tone and mass to your body. With over 26 thousand positive reviews, it is one of the most popular creatine supplements. If you are not hung up on the bitter beetroot taste, this supplement could be a great fit for your needs!
Best Pills / Capsules- EFX Sports Kre-Alkalyn | PH-Correct Creatine Monohydrate | Multi-Patented Formula, Gain Strength, Build Muscle & Enhance Performance – 240 Capsules / 120 Servings
EFX Sports Kre-Alkalyn is a PH correct creatine supplement pill, which means it is not too acidic. This is important because most other supplements are not PH correct, so this supplement will not raise your acidity. It is also important because when the PH level of a supplement is below 7 they lose potency in liquids, especially stomach acid. It is composed of creatine monohydrate which is proven to build muscle and repair muscle tears as well.
You get 240 capsules per jar. The capsules themselves are small, only the width of a nickel. The formula is patent protected and is digested easily because of the PH correct formula. Of all the creatine capsules, the EFX Sports Kre-Alkalyn is the best supplement.
- The only PH correct creatine supplement which does not lose potency in liquids like stomach acid. The compound remains stable which allows the body to assimilate it correctly.
- Proven performance- Creatine monohydrate is widely studied and proven to be an effective supplement for muscle growth, improved strength, and endurance.
- 9% Pure creatine monohydrate
- Convenient capsules- No need to mix or measure, just take the pill with some water, and you are done.
- Patented supplement- Invented by Dr. Jeff Golini who is the formulator of EFX Sports supplements.
- EFX Sports manufacturers their own products, meaning there are fewer steps between the product and the user.
- Reaches the muscle at full potency.
- Easy to take a pill
- PH correct means it will not lose potency
- Effective creatine supplement
- Well-loved by users with over 4,000 positive reviews
- Free of banned substances
- Not very many capsules per jar, you need to take 2 per workout
If you need to take a creatine supplement but do not like dealing with powders and mixes, you may prefer pills. Well, the EFX Sports Kre-Alkalyn capsules may be a great fit for you. The pills are PH correct which allows them to hit your muscles with full potency because they will not break down and lose potency in liquids like stomach acid. This supplement is the most effective and widely loved capsule form of creatine monohydrate. There are a few nitpicks, like the fact that you need to take 2 pills per workout and the fact that the bottle only contains 240 pills, but other than those complaints, this supplement is worth trying out if you don’t like the powders.
Creatine Supplement Buyers Guide
Creatine supplements have become one of the most plentiful supplements for athletes. This means there are hundreds of choices to choose from. With hundreds of similar supplements all claiming to do similar things, how do you know which one is right for you? Keep reading, we will explore what you need to consider to make the best decision.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is one of the human body’s amino acids which is located mainly in your muscles and brain. People get creatine normally through diet, in things like red meat and seafood. In addition to getting creatine from the diet, your body makes creatine as well but only about 1 gram per day. The creatine your body makes comes from your liver, pancreas, and kidneys.
Creatine can be used by your muscles to create new growth and help them repair themselves as well. It is a naturally occurring substance that is generally considered safe to use as long as you follow dosage instructions.
Types of Creatine
There are a few main types of creatine, they are:
- Creatine Monohydrate
- Buffered Creatine
- Creatine Nitrate
- Creatine Hydrochloride
This is the most studied and most common type of creatine. It is widely available and inexpensive to use in supplements. When you read studies based on creatine, this is the type that was used in the studies.
This is a kind of creatine that has an alkaline powder along with the creatine. The idea here is that the buffering will allow more of the actual creatine to be infused into the muscle tissue. This is used in a few different popular creatine supplements, though more studies are needed to determine if it is more effective as the makers of these supplements claim.
This type of creatine has the creatine molecule bonded with a nitrate molecule. The idea is to give you the benefits of both creatine and nitrate, meaning you need a smaller dose, which can reduce the amount of water needed and bloating.
This is a micronized form of creatine that allows you to take a smaller dose to get the same benefit. There is not much science to back up this claim, but if you tend to experience gastrointestinal side effects from taking normal creatine you may want to try this type out.
What to Look for When Buying Creatine
When looking at multiple creatine supplements, there are some key factors to consider before you make your final decision on which one to purchase.
What do you need it for?
Because not all creatine supplements are the same, you should be thinking about what you need the supplement to do for you. For example, some of them are especially good a muscle gain while others are recommended as post-workout muscle repair supplements. If you are a serious athlete, look for a supplement that has both explosive energy burst support as well as endurance support.
Creatine supplements come mainly in two different formats. Pills, and powders. If you prefer mixing up powders and having shakes or drinks, consider getting a powder form of creatine. However, if you are always on the go or just prefer a pill to powders, consider getting creatine in a capsule or pill form. Either form of creatine is going to have the benefits of building muscle and endurance. Just look at each one and you should see easily whether it is a pill or a powder.
Allergies and Safety
Some supplements may contain allergens or animal by-products that could be unsafe for you. To avoid getting something that could hurt you, just look closely at the labels. Supplement labels are required to say if they contain allergens like nuts or contaminants like lead, which some really do contain lead!
If you are vegan, pay close attention to the ingredients because many of these types of supplements will use protein from eggs or other animal by-products. If you are sensitive to allergies or animal products pay close attention to the labels and read them carefully.
Most supplements reviewed here are in similar price ranges, though some are more expensive, the differences are not massive. The most important thing is not to worry just about how much you spend, but what you are getting for your money or the value you are receiving. With supplements like this, oftentimes you get what you pay for. For example, If a supplement is claiming to do multiple things for a fraction of the cost of other supplements, you should be skeptical.
One thing you should do is to look closely at how much of the product is included per bottle, and this is often overlooked, how much you need per serving. The idea here is to get as much as possible for your money. For example, if a bottle is thirty bucks, but you get enough pills to last you 3 months, that is a very good deal!
Creatine is a well-known supplement that has been used by athletes for years. But why are people using this stuff? What does it actually do for you? Here we examine the benefits of creatine:
Aids Muscle Repair and More
Because it is used to add muscle mass, it is effective at repairing muscle damage. Your muscles are being damaged more often than you may think, getting small tears and bruises time after time. It boosts the formation of proteins which are then used to create brand new fibers which become part of the muscle.
Makes Muscle Cells More Energy
Muscles have phosphocreatine supplies they have stored and use when they need it to perform. This compound is important in the formation of a key molecule called triphosphate which is what your cells use for life functions and energy. Creatine feeds these cells which make these compounds, leading to better muscle performance and much more energy coming from your cells.
High Intensity Exercise Improvement
Because creatine helps to create the cell energy compounds, it improves high-intensity exercise performance by a huge margin. This is one of the most noticeable benefits of taking a creatine supplement, and the reason many athletes keep using it. It is a performance enhancer that is not a steroid or other harmful substance.
Helps Muscles Grow Faster
There is no arguing with the fact that creatine is the best substance for helping muscles add mass. It can create significant new muscle growth in only 5 days of use. This is quite notable in the world of supplements. Not many supplements are this efficient at doing what they are supposed to. Many things can help muscles grow, but creatine helps them grow quite fast compared to other methods and supplements.
Risks of Taking Creatine
There are several important risks involved with taking creatine that you need to be aware of. Creatine is generally considered safe, but overuse or misuse can cause damage, and some people are especially sensitive to this supplement. Some of the risks include:
- Bloating- Bloating is the most common and well-known side effect of taking creatine. You do not need to abuse it to have this side effect, it is very common. It is not especially dangerous, but it can be annoying.
- Kidney stones- Kidney stones are a painful condition that is best avoided. There is limited data or information to prove that overuse of creatine can cause kidney stones. It is possible, but not something that is often reported or studied.
- Cramps- While cramping is something that can happen when you get too many vitamins and minerals (including creatine), it is not something that is specifically associated with normal creatine use. You may get cramps while taking it, but the cramps are most likely an effect of being dehydrated or taking too many supplements.
- Weight gain- Since taking creatine is meant to add muscle mass, gaining weight is a normal and expected effect of the supplement. The weight gained will be muscle mass, not fat.
- Kidney damage- The fitness industry loves to say that creatine can not cause kidney damage, and there is limited evidence to support this either way. However, it is true that people who eat tons of protein over long periods of time can and do damage their kidneys.
- Dehydration- There is no evidence to support that creatine can cause dehydration. The way it works is that creatine pulls water out of your tissue and into your muscles, but not out of your body. Like any supplement, just be sure to take creatine with plenty of water.
What to Avoid While Taking Creatine
- Not drinking enough water- Because of the way creatine pulls water out of your tissue and into your muscles, it is important to stay hydrated while taking the supplement. It is recommended to drink an extra 64 ounces of water every day that you are actively taking creatine.
- Pregnancy- The data is not strong enough to show that taking creatine while pregnant or breastfeeding is safe. It has not been proven to be dangerous, either. In this case, it is better to be safe and avoid creatine while pregnant or breastfeeding.
- NSAIDs- Also called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, these are things like ibuprofen, etoricoxib, celecoxib, naproxen, aspirin, etc… These are to be avoided during a creatine regimen because the likelihood of kidney damage increases when you are taking creatine and an NSAID.
- Diuretics- Because diuretics are designed to remove water from your blood, they are a bad idea to take while using creatine which also removes water from your blood and puts it in your muscles. You could become dehydrated very easily if you are taking a diuretic and creatine at the same time, especially if you are taking high doses of either.
- Caffeine and Ephedra- There was one reported incident where an athlete had been taking creatine as well as ephedra and caffeine for a six-week period, and the athlete suffered a stroke. There are no other reported cases of this happening but just to be safe it would be a good idea to avoid taking the same three things at the same time.
- Heat exhaustion- Because creatine needs to take water out of your tissues and blood, it is best to avoid working out in hot conditions. The intense sweating will make more liquid leave your body, leaving you vulnerable to suffering from dehydration or heatstroke, or both conditions. To be safe while taking creatine, avoid hot places.
Is creatine bad for you?
Creatine is not bad for you; it is a naturally occurring substance and it can be beneficial to help you gain muscle mass. However, it can be unhealthy to take too much creatine for too long, or under the wrong circumstances. Like any substance, it should be taken under the advisement of your doctor.
Creatine affects the water in your body, as well as interacting with your muscles, digestive system, nervous system, and the rest of your body. It is generally safe to take creatine for a short period of time (a month or six weeks), or under a doctor’s supervision, longer.
Creatine is not meant to be a supplement you take every day forever, like a multivitamin or some wheatgrass or any other health supplement. It is more like something you take for a specific purpose for a short amount of time to accomplish a certain goal, like gaining 10 pounds for a race or for a football team, etc.
What to expect when you start taking creatine?
When you start taking creatine, you may notice some gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating or nausea, it is not something everyone experiences and it is rare, but it can happen. In addition to this, you may notice yourself becoming thirstier, and you may notice you are gaining weight at a rapid pace.
Your appetite may increase as you start to take creatine supplements as well as your thirst. It takes some time for the creatine to become fully absorbed and activate in your muscles, up to a week before you are really noticing the increased strength and bursts of energy during workouts. Early on during the loading phase the main differences you will notice are increased thirst and possibly hunger.
There are some people that simply do not respond to taking creatine as a supplement, they are known as non-responders. If you have been taking creatine for over a week and have still not noticed any increase in your energy level or muscle mass, the chance is high that you are a non-responder and you should simply not take creatine.
Are creatine gains permanent?
Yes and no. In the same way that normal muscle gains made without any supplementation will go away if you stop eating or stop exercising, muscle gained while taking creatine will also disappear if you dramatically change your diet to eat way less or stop exercising. There is nothing different about the muscle tissue you gain while taking creatine vs muscle you get without any supplementation.
So the gains you get while taking a supplement are just as permanent as the gains made normally. Unfortunately, no gains are truly permanent if you are not eating enough calories or getting any exercise. You would simply lose those gains because you know the old saying,” Use it or lose it”.