Creatine – it’s the grand-daddy of supplements. You’re no one if you are not taking creatine. Creatine has been a staple in pre and post-workout supplements for a number of years now and for a good reason.
It is not just because it is good – and it is, but that creatine monohydrate has been studied and researched extensively. There are good reasons why this ingredient is so beloved by those who want great results in the gym.
What is creatine? Simply, it is a chemical you find in the body, mostly in muscle tissues but also in the brain. It is made up of glycine, methionine and arginine, and you can get it through the food you eat and also in supplement form. Eat it, the best sources include cod, chicken and turkey breasts and thighs, tuna and pork chops. Most bodybuilders and powerlifters eat a diet rich in these foods, but some of the creatine content will be destroyed by cooking, which is why people choose to add it to their diet in supplement form.
It is most commonly used to improve exercise performance and increase muscle mass in the body. It is thought that in the US, creatine sales every year total an impressive £2.7 billion. No wonder any supplement company worth its salt produces a creatine product.
Let us take a look at what creatine supplements are out there and what they can offer the aspiring bodybuilder.
Top 10 Creatine Supplements Review
1. Transparent Labs StrengthSeries Creapure HMB Creatine
StrengthSeries Creapure® HMB Creatine is made by Transparent Labs, a relative newcomer to the supplements industry that goes all out to prove their product is safe and efficient. They also like you to know as you might have guessed from the name exactly what they put in their products.
They are big on research that backs up their products, and they rely on word of mouth to do their marketing for them. StrengthSeries Creapure® HMB Creatine uses pure creatine monohydrate and combines it with 2,000 mg β-Hydroxy β-methyl butyrate (HMB), which is a metabolite of the amino acid leucine.
The ingredient has been shown to increase a person’s strength and lean body mass while decreasing body fat at the same time. The inclusion of this in StrengthSeries Creapure® HMB Creatine is one of the main reasons we like and rate this product.
One serving of the product contains 5,000 mg of Creapure® creatine monohydrate. This is a patented form of creatine, made by the German company, AlzChem. It is seen as the purest form of creatine monohydrate. The dosage of HMB is 2,000 mg, while BioPerine enhances the bioavailability of the other ingredients in the supplement.
The creatine supplement contains no fillers harmful additives, unnecessary ingredients, or artificial sweeteners. An excellent choice if you’re new to creatine supplementation or if you want to up your game, generally.
2. Kaged Muscle C-HCl
Kaged Muscle C-HCl is another product from Kris Gethin’s company. And he’s a man who ought to know what he is doing, seeing as he insists on testing out all his products and then submitting himself to lots of blood, urine, hair tests and most to see if what he is testing is valuable.
Kris recommends patented creatine HCl (creatine hydrochloride over creatine monohydrate. What is creatine HCl? You attach hydrochloride to creatine to create a salt. When it comes to aqueous solubility (how well something absorbs and mixes), creatine HCl mixes with water at a rate of 39.3, compared to 1 for creatine monohydrate.
Since 2015, Kaged Muscle has had the exclusive rights to see C-HC1 from the inventor, Vireo Systems, as a single-ingredient supplement. It comes in unflavoured and flavored powder form or capsules. The recommended dosage is one serving per 100 pounds of body weight on training days. If you are on training days, you should take one to two servings per 100 pounds of body weight and non-training days are one serving.
Bear in mind, that most of the research and claims about the effectiveness of creatine are done on creatine monohydrate. Creatine hydrochloride has only been around for a few years, and it does not have the same solid science behind it.
3. Myprotein CREATINE MONOHYDRATE
Is it time to improve your performance? May we recommend you take Myprotein Creatine Monohydrate to help you achieve your goals?
This product is scientifically proven to increase your physical performance when you carry out successive bursts of short-term, high-intensity activity. Whether you seek improvements in the gym or you want your performance on the field or pitch to leave your opponents on the sideline, creatine monohydrate can help.
Creatine supplementation is usually recommended because although you can get it through your diet, cooking will destroy some of the creatine in foods and you might not get all you need. Optimal doses are seen at 3-5 grams a day.
For this supplement, the manufacturers recommend taking 5 grams immediately before or after your workout and having it with a whey protein and carbohydrate shake for maximum benefit, feeding your muscles and ensuring maintenance and growth. You can also mix it just with water, milk, or fruit juice.
If you are new to creatine, why not try the initial loading phase approach? This is straightforward. You take one scoop (each scoop has a 5-gram serving of creatine monohydrate) four times a day, your intake spread evenly across the hours you are awake. This will saturate your muscles with creatine, and after this, you can return to the standard dose of 5 grams once a day.
4. Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Powder
Do you like your supplements to be minimal? By that, we mean you want to know what you are taking, have it in sufficient doses and get the ingredients you want and none of the things you don’t need.
Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Powder is a pure, clean creatine supplement. It can help you achieve your goals by giving you increased levels of energy, strength and endurance.
It has only one ingredient in it (which we heartily approve of), and that is creatine monohydrate in a pure, micronized form. It’s unflavoured for easy mixing, and it is one of the most popular creatine supplements on the market.
What is in it? One serving contains 5 grams of Creapure brand creatine monohydrate. This is an excellent version of the number one key ingredient for strength athletes, and creatine monohydrate has managed to upstate all creatine monohydrates Johnny Come Lately’s. The research and the results are there.
This is an excellent choice for anyone looking to gain that extra edge when they are training. It is clean, straightforward and effective, and it is made by a company with an excellent reputation in the world of nutritional supplements. It’s a win-win choice for performance excellence.
5. MuscleTech Platinum 100% Creatine
We have long been big fans of MusclePharm and its great products. Their creatine supplement is no exception to that rule.
This one is an advanced creatine supplement in that it takes a blend of five different kinds of creatine to produce the best results for those who take it.
MusclePharm has been around since 2008, developing innovative and effective supplements for those who want them.
The creatine matrix blend here (5 grams per serving) is made of:
- Creatine nitrate – this is very water soluble and therefore easy to mix and absorb
- Creatine AAB (Alpha-Amino-N-Butyrate) – this provides anti-catabolic support to stop your muscles from breaking down
- Dicreatine malate – this is a compound that adds malic acid to creatine, which is reported to make it more readily absorbed by the body, and it also prevents lactic acid build-up after your workouts. Lactic acid will give you the ouch factor when you are exercising, as too much of it causes a burning sensation.
- Creatine monohydrate – creatine in its purest and most traditional form
- Creatine magnesium chelate – this one includes magnesium, which helps switch on ATP production. All energy production is powered by ATP including muscle contractions, protein building, communication with other cells and the transportation of other substrates.
6. Rich Piana 5% NUTRITION Createn
Rich Piana began bodybuilding at a young age, and he’s a former bodybuilding champion who was also Mr. California at one point. He is well known for his extreme physique, one that isn’t entirely due to natural causes…
Rich’s supplement company is 5% Nutrition, and the company says its mission is to provide the best possible results that will give you the best possible results. Whether those results are comparable to steroid use is debatable.
His supplements are made in a “cutting-edge” advanced lab and his creatine product blends together ten of the most effective forms of creatine. The thinking behind this is that the product offers your body multiple ways to get its creatine – and not just one.
Why have one when you can have ten, after all? And that’s what gives it the name too. There are another eight ingredients in the product to help transport the creatine to your muscles and boost your body’s ability to take it on.
The ten different creatines in the 5 grams blend are:
- Creapure® (Creatine Monohydrate),
- Creatine Accelerate Blend
- Creatine AKG
- Creatine Anhydrous
- Creatine Citrate
- Creatine Ethyl Ester Malate
- Creatine Ethyl Ester
- Creatine Gluconate
- Creatine Pyruvate
- Magnesium Creatine Chelate (Creatine MagnaPower®)
- Tri-Creatine Malate
It also has banaba powder in it. If you are not familiar with this product banaba powder comes from the banaba bush, a plant native to Australia, India and south-east Asia, and some parts of the US. It contains high levels of plant insulin called corsolic acid, and it can help with blood sugar regulation and weight loss.
7. NUTRABIO 100% Pure Creatine Monohydrate
NutraBio is one of the more established nutritional supplement brands, having been on the go since 1996. The company promises commitment to quality and all its ingredients are analysed to ensure there are no impurities.
Their creatine supplement is good for muscle growth as it stimulates muscle protein synthesis in two ways. Creatine can replenish energy stores, so you are able to work out longer and harder.
With volumized, hydrated muscles you can get enhanced muscle growth, provided you train properly. The product is good value for money and mixes easily.
8. Cellucor COR-Performance Creatine
COR Performance Creatine gives you 5 grams of creatine monohydrate (Creapure) and 1.77 grams of Creasorb. If you have not come across Creasorb before, it is billed as a revolutionary phosphate delivery system which supports creatine supplementation absorption and effects.
It also has Cinnulin PF, cinnamon bark extract at 125mg. Cinnamon has been shown to have positive effects on blood glucose levels – i.e. lowering them, and it can help increase the absorption of creatine without you needing to eat simple carbs with your supplement. This can help you stick to your macro goals and maximize your diet to suit what you want to achieve.
You should take this product about thirty minutes before working out or first thing in the morning if you do not plan to train that day. For loading, you can take it four times a day for five days before going back to regular dosage.
For most people, though, loading isn’t necessary and one serving a day will do you fine. Users report a healthy increase in muscle volume and endurance, and the ability to work out for longer.
9. Bulk Powders CREAPURE® CREATINE MONOHYDRATE
Creapure® Creatine Monohydrate is a patent-protected form of creatine monohydrate. It guarantees 99.95 percent pure creatine which has been proven by HPLC analysis (High-performance liquid chromatography), and it is free from contaminants, such as dicyandiamide, dihydro triazine and creatinine.
The product has been micronized for easy mixing – something the manufacturers say will stop you from experiencing the gritty taste you often get with other creatine products. (Creatine itself doesn’t mix easily, hence the issue.)
This lovely, simple formulation is flavorless and colorless so you can mix it up easily with other protein and/or carbohydrate sports drinks. It’s a good match for a whey protein powder, for instance.
You can also add it to a post-workout supplement drink. We like this one for its simplicity and because it can help increase physical performance when used for successive bursts of short-term, high-intensity activities.
10. Beast Sports Nutrition Creature
Beast – now there’s a name and a half, right? Creature helps to fuel muscle growth using its blend of ingredients, and it can help you to pack on muscle. Watch yourself grow!
In each serving of Creature, you get a 3,025 mg Creature Advanced Creatine Matrix blend. This is Creapure branded creatine monohydrate, creatine magnesium chelate, buffered creatine, creatine anhydrous and creatine alpha-ketoglutarate.
Why a blend like this? It is designed to optimize creatine’s effectiveness, as each type offers different benefits. Put them together, and you have a great product altogether. We reckon you will quickly see the results you want.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I choose the best Creatine supplement?
As is usually the case with any supplement, there are lots of different products to choose from. This is doubly the case when it comes to creatine, as creatine is a well-established aid to bodybuilding and weight lifting. It also benefits from lots of research, so people know that this is no fly-by-night product that doesn’t stand up to the claims made for it.
When it comes to choosing supplements, we recommend you buy the best you can afford. But there are different ways to work out what is the ‘best’. It doesn’t have to mean the most expensive product out there.
Here is what we think you should take into account:
§ Brand Reputation
There are plenty of players in the nutritional supplement industry. Choose a creatine supplement from the one you have heard of and like the sound of. Does the brand have a good reputation? Are they independently verified? Do they have ambassadors who promote their products, athletes and competitors? What are their reviews like?
§ Ingredient quality
When it comes to creatine supplements, most of them have very few ingredients. People who buy creatine often just want creatine, and that is all. You probably don’t way to buy something that has additional elements in it, and you ought to avoid anything with artificial sweeteners and flavorings. Do your research into the different creatine types to check which one you want to opt for.
§ Value for money
Creatine isn’t that expensive, but different forms of it can be – Creapure and Creatine HCl are pricier than plain creatine monohydrate, for example. One thing to watch out for – always check the serving size when you are working out if you can afford something. If a tub of creatine powder seems terribly cheap, maybe you are not going to get a lot of servings in it.
§ Product reviews
Well, of course, one of the best ways to find out if a product is any good is to check out the user reviews. They can tell you the things about the product that the manufacturers won’t, such as what it actually tastes like and how easy it is to mix. You will also get good feedback on how it works. Are the users reporting impressive strength gains? And do they say this consistently – there is not just a flurry of great reviews and then lots of bad ones? Good – then, that’s the product for you. Sorted!
What Creatine supplements do?
Creatine phosphate helps to replenish your stores of adenosine triphosphate, ATP, the molecular fuel needed for muscular contractions. Activities that demand short-term bursts of energy, such as weight lifting, rely on ATP for five to ten-second efforts – that’s what you need to punch out that set of heavy reps.
When that time runs out, your ATP reserves are small. Glucose can be used to energize the body, but it needs twenty seconds to kick in. Creatine, on the other hand, can be converted to ATP very quickly.
By supplementing, you build up your stores of creatine phosphate in the muscles and prolong the conversion of ATP. You can expect to see strength and workout improvements in about a week after beginning a creatine supplement program.
How do Creatine supplements work?
Creatine can help increase your workout intensity, which will help muscle building. You will be able to push yourself further.
Creatine gives you great muscle pumps, i.e. a bicep that looks impressively bulging at the end of a workout. This effect might not last, but it does prove motivational. You will want to work those muscles to see the fabulous pumps.
It can improve your reaction times. Italian researchers found that sprinters and jumpers who took creatine supplements improved the first thirty seconds of their performance significantly – by some 10 percent. For athletes, every tiny milli-second counts so no wonder creatine supplements are popular in such circles.
Boost mental sharpness and focus. Creatine has been shown to improve mental acuity. When Australian researchers gave forty-five study participants five grams of creatine supplements every day for six weeks, they found many of the participants processed information more quickly and could show better memory skills.
Another bonus about creatine is that it’s relatively inexpensive as a supplement on its own. And there are many health and fitness pros who have been taking this product continuously for years as they believe in its efficacy and safety.