Creatine is the second most popular supplement in the world of athletics. The first is protein powder. Millions of athletes around the world are using creatine because it has been proven to increase muscle mass, improve endurance, and reduce recovery times following intense workouts or injuries.
If you were to start shopping for creatine, you would likely find yourself overwhelmed from all of the options that are available. It’s important for you to keep in mind that not all creatine is created equal. There are lots of things that can have an effect on how it works for you: type of creatine used, quality of creatine, and dosage.
However, you don’t have anything to worry about. We’ve done the work and put together a list of what we feel are the 11 best options when it comes to creatine. Most of what we have included on our list are in powder form, but you will find that a few of them are available in capsule form. Most people use powdered creatine, but there are some people who find the capsules to be much more convenient.
Before we get into these reviews though, we’re going to help you understand a bit more about creatine. We’ll explain what it is, the benefits and side effects associated with using creatine, and describe a few of the different types of creatine you will encounter. Most formulas only contain one type of creatine, but others may contain several different types to improve the formula.
By the time you get through reading this article, you’ll know what you need to know about creatine, and you’ll have some products in mind when you decide that you want to see how it works for you.
Before we can make any recommendations, we want to make sure that you understand exactly what creatine is. Creatine is a substance that we all naturally have in our bodies- whether we are athletic or not. It is naturally produced in our bodies and stored in our muscles. It can also be found in a few dietary sources, such as poultry, seafood, and red meat. However, the creatine levels in these sources are fairly low to begin with and most of it is lost during the cooking process.
Creatine is often referred to as an amino acid- but it’s actually a tripeptide, which means it’s made up of three amino acids: glycine, arginine, and methionine.
Creatine fuels our muscles and gives us the energy to move. If we didn’t have creatine, we wouldn’t be able to perform the quick, explosive movements that characterize HIIT workouts- or anything else, for that matter. This is the primary reason that experts claim creatine improves muscle strength and speed.
Creatine works in our bodies by targeting the processes needed for contraction of our muscles, which are controlled by adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. As mentioned, creatine is stored in our muscles. When it’s there, it’s in the form of phosphocreatine. This phosphocreatine is converted into ATP and ADP (adenosine diphosphate), which ultimately improves overall athletic performance.
Now that we have defined creatine and explained how it works, we’re going to consider a few of the most common types of creatine you’ll encounter as you shop for a creatine supplement to add to your routine. There are several different types. The most common is creatine monohydrate. This is the one that is used in most of the studies, and therefore, has proven to be the most effective. However, there are others, and some formulas actually use a combination of these.
As we mentioned, creatine monohydrate is the most common form of creatine you’ll encounter as you shop. This is the version that is typically used in research studies and has been proven safe and effective. You will find that most of the products on our list are made of this form of creatine. In some cases, it might be a combo of this along with a few others as well.
Creatine ethyl ester, often referred to as CEE, is formed when an ester molecule is attached to a creatine molecule. This is done in an effort to improve bioavailability and increase absorption. You’ll find that some experts do believe this version of creatine is easier on the body to use. Then again, there are others who say that there’s really no difference between this version and creatine monohydrate.
The third one we’ll look at is creatine magnesium chelate. In this form of creatine, a creatine molecule is bound to a magnesium molecule. There is some research that suggests that when bound to magnesium, creatine is absorbed and processed by the body quicker than other forms. Again though, there’s research indicating that creatine monohydrate is still the superior form.
Buffered creatine has a higher pH than creatine monohydrate. The higher pH means that it doesn’t break down as quickly- so it is a more sustained release. The two most common brands of buffered creatine you’ll encounter are Kre-Alkalyn and Cre-Trona. Since it is a more sustained release, some experts claim it’s best. However, once again, there are other studies confirming the superiority of creatine monohydrate.
Creatine hydrochloride, also known as creatine HCl, is the final form of creatine we’ll take a look at. In this form of creatine, the creatine molecules are attached to hydrochloride molecules. This process increases the water solubility of the creatine, which makes it easier for the body to digest/absorb. Individuals who have digestive upset when using creatine monohydrate may find it more beneficial to use this form of creatine.
One thing is for certain, since creatine is such a commonly used supplement, manufacturers have jumped on the bandwagon. Therefore, there are definitely a lot of options available. While it may be a good thing to have choices, it can also be a bad thing because there are so many to go through. You have to expend a lot of effort to determine which one is the best- because they all claim to be.
That being said, we’ve done the work so that you don’t have to. We’ve taken the time to dig through and findcreatine supplements that you can trust. Below, we’re going to review what we have determined to be the top 11 creatine supplements for 2022. We hope that this can help you when you decide that you want to add a creatine supplement to your daily routine.
XWERKS Lift is number 1 on our list of the 11 best creatine supplements. We chose this to be number 1 because it’s one of the best values you will find. This product is 100% pure micronized creatine monohydrate. It dissolves easily and since it’s unflavored, you can add it to any beverage you want and not worry that the flavor will be affected.
According to the website, Lift was designed to increase strength and power and when used in conjunction with a strength training program, it can increase lean muscle mass growth, like the other supplements on our list.
Each container of XWERKS Lift contains 80 servings and it’s affordable, at only $49.00- or you can join their subscription program and pay $46.55 per container. Plus, everything you order from XWERKS is backed by their money-back guarantee- so it’s risk free. You can try it and if it doesn’t work, contact them and they will explain how to get your refund.
Over the years, XWERKS has become well-known and loved in the supplement industry and has built up a reputation for providing the strongest and purest formulations you will find.
The best part is, XWERKS Lift does not add artificial sweeteners or flavors to their products.
CRN-5 by Crazy Nutrition is number 2 on our list, but the first one that contains several different types of creatine. In fact, according to the website, this product contains 5 different types of creatine:
CrazyNutrition promises that CRN-5 provides better pumps, more intense workouts, and improved strength gains.
The primary reason this product is different from the other creatine supplements on the list is that there are 5 different types of creatine. This ensures that you get the most from your workout. Additionally, CRN-5 contains electrolytes: sodium, potassium, and magnesium, to keep you hydrated during your workouts. Of course, you still want to make sure that you are drinking plenty of water when using this or any other creatine supplement.
Number three on our list is Micronized Creatine Powder from Optimum Nutrition. This is another name that is well-known and respected in the supplement industry. In fact, their creatine supplement is one of the most popular and has been awarded the “Amazon’s Choice” badge for best creatine supplement on Amazon.
Each serving of this supplement contains 5 grams of creatine monohydrate. There are zero carbs and calories, and you don’t have to worry about fillers or additives because Optimum Nutrition doesn’t believe in them. According to the website, Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Powder is formulated to increase the size and strength of your muscles.
Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Powder comes in both powder and capsule form and they have a variety of different sizes, starting at 30 servings to 400 servings per container. The larger the package you purchase, the more of a discount you will get.
Size, by Ghost Lifestyle, is the brand’s muscle building formula It is soy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, and vegan-friendly. According to the website, this creatine formula is one of the purest, highest-quality, clinically backed doses, a muscle builder that will facilitate rapid gains.
Their label is 100% transparent, listing each and every ingredient along with dosages. It comes in a variety of flavors, and they offer a variety of other products that pair well with their creatine formula.
Muscle Power Creatine by NSP Nutrition comes in at number 5 on our list of the 11 best creatine supplements. This creatine formula is designed to fuel rapid increase of muscle mass and strength. It is unflavored and, according to the website, promises to supercharge your results and increase your energy, power, and endurance quicker than other brands can. Plus, since it’s unflavored, you can add it to any beverage you choose without having to worry about ruining the flavor.
Each container of NSP Nutrition Muscle Power Creatine provides 60 servings. Each serving contains 5 grams of creatine monohydrate. Plus, it’s another one that is affordable, even if you’re on a budget. If you want a pure creatine product with no fillers, this is one of the best options you can choose.
According to the website, Steel Supplements ATP-Fusion is the number 1 selling no-bloat, muscle building creatine supplement. It is a buffered creatine that has been synthesized to pH-12. This is ideal for both men and women who are looking for lean muscle gains without water retention or bloat. You do not have to cycle this creatine or add any sugar to ensure that it absorbs quickly. The best part is, this creatine formula is stimulant free.
Creature Creatine from Beast Sports is like CRN-5 from CrazyNutrition. This is a creatine formula that is made of 5 types of creatine:
So far, most of the products on our list are unflavored. This one, however, offers a variety of unique flavors, including Pink Lemonade, Beast Punch, Cherry Limeade, and Citrus.
According to their website, Creature Creatine by Beast Sports gives athletes who use it an “unfair” advantage to level up their performance. The company promises that this product will increase lean muscle mass, increase sprint speeds, and bulk you up. Basically, it will help you reach elite performance. It will also decrease recovery time and increase endurance.
Joe Rogan is just one of the many celebs that stands behind Onnit Creatine. This company is another well-known and loved name in the fitness supplement industry. Their creatine formula is made with creatine monohydrate, like so many of the others, and designed to improve strength and performance.
Each serving contains 5 grams of creatine and Onnit definitely does not skimp when it comes to dosage or scoop size. By purchasing from Onnit, you can rest assured that you are purchasing from a company that has an amazing track record. Also, it’s affordable, so if you’re on a budget, you can still use it.
According to their website, Onnit Creatine can help with ATP cycling and replenishes phosphocreatine for muscle contractions.
Cellucor is a name that has been circulating in the fitness industry for many years. They are well-established and respected. Their creatine supplement is 100% creatine monohydrate. Cellucor has micronized their creatine, which means that it’s easier on the digestive system. Micronization is the process by which the particles are broken into even smaller ones, which can help support your goals when it comes to building your muscles.
We believe that Cellucor Creatine Monohydrate is one of the best creatine supplements on the market today, which is why we’ve included it on our list. If you’re a fan of Cellucor products, you’ll love their creatine as well. Of course, if you’re not familiar with them yet, you may want to get acquainted since they have such a stellar reputation and have shown that they only use high quality ingredients.
Performance Lab SPORT Maintain is the second capsule form of creatine we have on our list. This brand only offers a capsule version, though. It is an extended-release formula that supports improved performance and increased muscle growth. Additionally, when you take this product on a daily basis, you’ll see many more improvements in your overall health and fitness.
As we stated, this is a capsule version. According to experts, you should take 6 to 10 capsules daily. You will get approximately 3,000 milligrams of creatine in one 6-capsule dose. This is a much lower dose than many of the others on our list- but they have added 1.6 milligrams of beta-alanine to make up for the lower dose of creatine.
Some people find that capsules are easier to take than powders. The disadvantage of this product is that each package only contains up to 10 doses (60 capsules), which means you get just over a weeks’ worth of creatine if you take the minimum dose- and they are expensive. However, some people do find that these are worth it.
Elm & Rye is an elite player in the fitness supplement arena. They have an amazing reputation and their creatine formula supports that. This is also a capsule version of creatine, offering 1,400 mg of creatine per dose. That being said, even though it’s a lower dose, it still improves performance, increases muscle growth, and decreases fatigue, even during HIIT workouts.
As we mentioned earlier, there are lots of options when it comes to creatine supplements and the marketing teams of each brand try to convince the world that they are the best and there are no others. They all promise to decrease recovery time, increase muscle growth and strength, improve energy levels, and so much more. Unfortunately, many times, it’s all just smoke and mirrors. They don’t always live up to what they claim. That is why we created our list of the 11 best creatine supplements.
Below, we’ll take some time to go through the factors that we took into consideration when we were choosing the creatine supplements for this list.
As we mentioned, there are several different types of creatine available. Most of the creatine supplements on the market only use one: creatine monohydrate. However, as you can see from our list, there are some that contain several products- up to 5 different types in some cases.
This is due to the fact that our body will digest and absorb the different types of creatine differently. Some are absorbed quickly. Others are a more sustained, long-lasting absorption. When a product combines several different types of creatine, the results are maximized. That is why we chose a few options that offer this.
Most of the bodybuilding supplement ingredients don’t have a particular dosage that they are most effective at. Creatine, on the other hand, does. According to research, creatine is most effective at dosages between 3 and 10 grams daily. You’ll find that most of the supplements on our list contain between 4 and 5 grams per scoop. It’s important to note that the capsules typically have lower dosages. We tried to stick with products that offer 3 to 5 grams of creatine per serving.
|XWERKS Lift||90 Servings|
|Cellucor Cor-Performance||72 Servings|
|NSP Nutrition Muscle Power Creatine||60 Servings|
|Elm & Rye Creatine||60 Servings|
|Beast Sports Creature Creatine||60 Servings|
|Steel Supplements ATP Fusion||60 Servings|
|Performance Lab Maintain||30 Servings|
|Ghost Size||30 Servings|
|Onnit Creatine||30 Servings|
|Crazy Nutrition CRN-5||30 Servings|
|Optimum Nutrition Creatine Powder||30 Servings|
When we were going through the various options, we prioritized products that only contain creatine. Most of the products we chose have zero additives because we feel that there should be no stimulants or other ingredients to take away from the effectiveness of the creatine. Of course, we did make a few exceptions. One of the products we chose contains electrolytes, which helps with hydration support. Another of the products on our list contains beta-alanine. However, for the most part, we believe that the fewer ingredients a product has, the higher the quality of the product.
In our research, we did discover that there are many creatine products that don’t mix very well. They clump and stick together, forming chalky pockets. However, there are others that mix well and create a smooth, enjoyable beverage. We made sure that the ones we chose for our list mix smoothly.
Another factor we considered was absorbability. After all, in order to use creatine, it must be able to be absorbed easily. As you can see from our reviews, many of the companies we chose use a process known as micronization. This process reduces the size of the creatine molecules, which makes it easier for the body to absorb. The more your body can absorb, the more it can use, which means the more effective the product will be.
There are some brands that use a “proprietary blend”. This makes it difficult to determine the individual dosage of each ingredient. For example, there are some brands that claim to use several different types of creatine, but primarily use creatine monohydrate with trace amounts of the others. These are the lower quality products and did not make it to our list of the best creatine supplements. We chose products that had transparent labels so we could tell exactly what we were getting.
We’ve already mentioned that creatine is one of the most popular and most studied supplements on the market today. However, no matter what a particular brand might want you to think, this is not a miracle supplement. You are not going to see results “in minutes” and you won’t have a different body overnight. Also, it’s not going to help you at all unless you are willing to put in the effort. We made sure to avoid products that made false claims or exaggerated what they could do for you.
There are some companies that have been on the market for a long time and are known for providing quality products to consumers. On the other hand, there are newcomers who have quickly proven themselves and are known for producing quality products for consumers. That being said, the opposite is also true- there are some companies, whether they’ve been around for a long time or are new, that produce low quality supplements. Age is not really something we considered- but reputation is. We looked at whether or not the company had a decent reputation for producing effective, high-quality products.
One thing you can count on is creatine being affordable. In fact, it’s one of the most affordable fitness supplements on the market today- especially if you break it down into cost per serving. Our belief is that you shouldn’t have to break your budget to lead a healthy lifestyle. To be honest, some of the most affordable creatine supplements are as low as $0.50/serving. We considered price versus value and avoided any that we felt charged a premium price for no reason.
Finally, the best judge of a product is someone that has used it. In order to determine the quality and efficacy of a product, it’s important to consider customer reviews. After all, when you use a product that works, you want the world to know. The same applies for a product that is terrible. We took the time to consider the customer reviews before adding them to our list. If the customers seemed to like it, we added it.
This is how we narrowed down your creatine supplement options to the best 11 on the market.
When you are considering adding a supplement to your routine, it’s important to look at the advantages associated with it as well as the disadvantages. Overall, this is a safe and effective supplement. However, let’s take a look at some of the advantages/benefits and disadvantages/side effects of using a creatine supplement.
Below, we’ll explore some of the advantages associated with creatine supplementation.
If you want to improve your strength and power when it comes to weightlifting, creatine can help. Experts state that creatine facilitates muscle developments and increases gains. This supplement can help make bodybuilding sessions more effective by helping with muscle mass gain, giving the athlete the power needed to lift heavy weights.
As we have mentioned, one of the things creatine does is help with muscle growth. In fact, research indicates that individuals who use creatine supplementation on a regular basis experience a 5 to 15% increase in muscle size, optimum power, and efficiency.
Creatine is effective for increasing strength and power, which means individuals who use creatine supplementation experience improved workout session results.
Most bodybuilders and serious athletes use a combination of creatine and protein because both have been proven to increase muscle strength and muscle mass. This ultimately results in a chiseled physique. Creatine directly increases muscle mass and is perfect to use if you are engaging in resistance training.
According to experts, creatine can help with recovery following an intense workout session or an injury. As you know, the quicker you recover, the quicker you can get back to the gym and continue training. The quicker you get back to training, the better off you will be.
According to research, creatine has been proven to reduce pain/inflammation, especially in the joints. Therefore, it’s believed that it can improve joint health. Many physicians actually recommend it to their older patients who have joint problems or are at an increased risk of falling due to age or other health conditions because stronger joints mean reduced fall risk.
Studies have shown that many people use creatine because it is said to support cardiovascular health. Experts say that patients who have suffered a heart attack should add creatine to their routine because it helps with recovery. Individuals who have used creatine following a cardiac episode will not only have improved recovery but will also see positive changes in strength and power.
Finally, research has proven creatine to be associated with improvements in cognitive health and function. Research shows that it can maintain cellular energy, while also reducing neural damage. Individuals who use creatine will have improved memory, cognitive functioning, and so much more related to brain activity.
As you can clearly see, there are lots of benefits associated with creatine supplementation. However, it’s also important to consider the other side- the potential side effects.
Generally, healthy individuals who participated in these creatine studies experienced few to no adverse reactions. Even those who were in long-term studies lasting 6 months or more, had no adverse reactions to report.
However, there is one particular side effect that many people report when they are using creatine: weight gain. This is typically due to the increase in muscle mass. When you are using creatine and working out on a regular basis, you are going to gain muscle. We all know that muscle weighs more than fat, so you are going to see the number on the scale increase.
Additionally, there is some evidence that creatine may cause complications in patients who have liver or kidney disease or high blood pressure. Some research indicates that older adults are more likely to experience kidney damage than younger ones.
That being said, it’s important that you speak with your medical provider before you add creatine or any other supplement to your routine. This is especially true if you are taking prescription medications, or you have a medical condition.
Generally, the people who are using creatine are bodybuilders, weightlifters, and/or serious athletes. That being said, as you could see from the benefits above, there are lots of reasons that people use creatine supplementation. It can be used for brain health, joint health, to increase energy levels, to facilitate muscle recovery, and so much more. Therefore, anyone can benefit from creatine. If you fall into the following categories, you should be using creatine:
As you can see from our list, most of the brands we chose have 3 to 5 grams of creatine in each serving. According to research, you need at least 3 grams daily to see benefits from creatine supplementation. Most of the time, you can take it all at once or you can break it into two or more servings when necessary. Most people choose to take one dose prior to working out and one dose following the workout. Some people choose to reduce their dosage to half on their non-workout or “rest” days- but you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to.
Some research indicates that the maximum you should consume in one day is 20 grams because after that, there will be no more benefit. This is the point where your muscles are so saturated with creatine that there’s not room for more.
That being said, the more muscle mass you have, the more you should be able to absorb and use. This is why it’s best to be more precise and determine dosage by your bodyweight. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, you should be taking 5 to 6 grams of creatine daily. If you are 200 pounds, it would be better for you to take 8 to 12 grams daily.
Finally, another factor that affects dosages is whether or not you are cycling between loading and maintenance phases. If you are in a loading phase, you can take up to 20 grams daily. However, if you are in the maintenance phase, you will want to consume no more than 3 to 5 grams of creatine daily.
We know that creatine is one of the most popular fitness supplements- second only to protein- people still have lots of questions that come up about it. We’ve tried to answer a lot of your questions with this article. However, we decided that we would gather some of the most common questions about creatine supplementation and answer them here for you.
As we mentioned, creatine is often considered an amino acid. However, it is actually a tripeptide, formed from three amino acids. It’s also found in foods such as red meat, seafood, and poultry in small amounts. Supplementation is the best way to get what your body needs. It is required for the functioning of muscles and involved in a variety of processes including muscle growth, strength, and recovery.
Creatine is used by the body to create short-term muscle power. When you are taking a creatine supplement, you are saturating your muscles, which fuels them and improves your power output. There are lots of other things creatine can do for you as well.
Research has shown that creatine offers a lot of benefits. Some of these benefits include: muscle growth and development, lean muscle mass development, and improved muscle recovery. There are also some indications that it can improve joint heath, heart health, cognition, and so much more, as we outlined above.
As we mentioned earlier, you will find that there are several different types of creatine on the market. Most of the supplements are creatine monohydrate. However, there are some that combine several types. The most common types of creatine you will encounter are: creatine monohydrate, creatine magnesium chelate, creatine hydrochloride, creatine ethyl ester, and buffered creatine.
Most people choose to use creatine monohydrate. There is also a version of creatine monohydrate known as creatine anhydrous. In this form of creatine, the water molecule has been removed, creating a purer version. Some experts believe that this is even better than creatine monohydrate.
At this time, research indicates that there are no significant negative impacts associated with creatine use. Of course, if you take too much, you may experience bloating, diarrhea, and general digestive distress. However, as long as you stay under 20 grams total for the day, you should not have any issues.
According to the experts, creatine is considered safe and should not have any negative impacts on your overall health- even in large doses or for long periods of time. That being said, there is some indication that older adults or those who already have kidney and liver issues may experience further damage. However, this has not been confirmed- at this time, it’s just a theory.
Studies show that creatine does not directly cause hair loss. However, it does increase DHT levels, which can speed up hair loss.
Honestly, it depends on which research you’re looking at. There is some indication that the two work well together. However, some research indicates that they end up canceling out each other. At this time, we do not have a clear answer to this- we need more quality research.
Typically, it’s serious athletes, weightlifters, bodybuilders, and the like that use creatine to increase muscle mass and improve their performance in the gym and on the field- but anyone can benefit from it.
There are some people who choose to cycle creatine in order to maximize absorption, and some experts support this. If you choose to cycle, you should take up to 20 grams of creatine daily during the loading phase and as little as 5 grams during the maintenance phase. Some athletes cycle based on their workout schedules. Honestly, at this time, there’s really not enough research that can confirm or refute this process.
Research shows that there’s really no such thing as an “ideal” time to take creatine. You can take it during the day or at night. Most of the creatine products on the market do not contain caffeine, so taking it at night should not cause problems. Of course, in order to ensure that your body has the time it needs to absorb it, you should break up your dosage into 5 to 10 grams per serving.
This is a question that depends on you and your goals. Many people do both- but some do one or the other. It’s all according to what you want to achieve.
Creatine comes in two basic forms: capsule or powder. Either one is fine. You can swallow the capsules with water. The powder can be combined with water or with your favorite beverage. There are some pre-mixed liquid creatine products. However, these are not recommended, as they tend to lose their potency after sitting on a shelf for so long.
A creatine “shuttle” is when you mix other ingredients with your creatine, such as dextrose or glutamine to quickly “shuttle” creatine into your cells.
Creatine does pull water from your body into your cells to improve your workout performance. However, it does not really cause water retention.
As long as you continue to work out, you should not lose muscle mass when you stop taking creatine. That being said, you may lose a few pounds, since water will be leaving your muscle cells.
Creatine does pull water into the cells of your muscles. This could lead to the numbers on the scale climbing up. However, it’s not likely to result in weight gain if you are working out and following healthy eating practices.
Yes. Women can use creatine without having to worry about negative side effects. At this time, creatine has not been shown to affect hormone levels.
Honestly, you really don’t NEED creatine. You can successfully build muscle and improve your athletic performance without it. That being said, if you want a boost, you should be taking 10 to 20 grams daily. If you just want to maintain your current muscle mass, 3 to 5 grams will be enough.
Yes, creatine supplements can be used by vegans and vegetarians because most of the supplements are plant-based. This is because that’s the easiest and least expensive to start with.
Creatinine is a chemical naturally metabolized from creatine and creatine phosphate. It is filtered out of the body through the kidneys and is harmless.
Creatine is a popular supplement in the fitness community and even people who are not necessarily serious athletes are learning about the benefits associated with creatine. We hope that we have been able to help you learn more about creatine and how it can help you improve your overall health. If you decide that you want to start using creatine, we recommend that you get started with one from our list. This way, you know that you can trust that it is safe and effective.
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