You may want to argue about the effectiveness of another sports supplement, but there is no denying that creatine is the king in terms of results. It is the most researched supplement proven to be safe and effective , if you want to push so hard in the gym for muscle mass and enhanced recovery. Here is a guide and a review of the best creatine supplements for you.
Best Creatine Supplements
What You Should Know Before You Buy
What is Creatine?
Among the molecules produced in our bodies, creatine is one of them. It is also contained in foods like fish, meat, and eggs, in reasonably large amounts. This molecule consists of L-methionine and L-arginine amino acids. It also serves as an energy reserve and is found in almost all cells. Creatine is found in high levels, especially in muscle and cardiac tissue.
How Does It Work?
There is always a lot of talk about the benefits of creatine, but let’s take a look at the science of how it actually works.
Adenosine Trisphosphate (ATP) is a molecule that is the most basic unit of cellular energy. When a cell uses up this molecule, it is broken down into several other small molecules, which afterward undergo processes that recycle it back into ATP for use again. Typically, how much the cells can store and how fast your body can regenerate ATP molecule determines how much your body can sustain during an activity. This is not only the case with the body muscles, but it also applies to all systems in our bodies as well as the skeletal muscle functions.
Acting as an energy reserve for the cells, creatine functions by hastening the formation of ATP from one of its precursors; the adenosine diphosphate (ADP). The process is simple, creatine loans ADP a molecule that catalyzes its conversion to ATP.
Creatine replenishes the ATP, but because its reserves are limited, the body quickly turns using glucose and fatty acids to continue producing the molecule. Usually, it is the liver that provides much of the creatine in your body, but what happens when you ingest the supplement directly with food? The stores increase. Because much of this molecule is contained in the muscle, your performance is elevated. This is why research proves that creatine reduces fatigue, improves strength and power, and increases the anaerobic capacity.
What are the Benefits to Taking Creatine?
There are so many benefits to taking creatine. Scientist are still exploring how creatine supplementation can help improve brain function and also combat mood disorders like depression. While those studies are still ongoing, creatine benefits concerning performance during a workout are undeniable. Some of the benefits are:
Direct Boosts in Performance
The use of creatine enables the creation of more energy from the body. Consequently, it pushes that energy to where the body needs it the most. As a result, during an exercise, there is a noticeable increase in performance as well as the ability to lift.
By replenishing the molecules in the body, creatine creates a rapid energy that gives the muscle the necessary ATP for fueling the muscles. This is particularly the kind of power you require for your performance to be improved.
Helps in Endurance
ATP, as discussed earlier, acts as a source of energy when one is exercising. Without creatine supplements, the levels of ATP get depleted fast, and when this happens, muscle fatigue sets in. Supplementing creatine with food, water or any other liquid increases the stores and ensures that the energy supply remains consistent throughout the exercise. It provides you with the extra energy that improves endurance.
Helps with Muscle and Strength
An increase in energy levels and endurance is the way to go for the increase in muscle strength and size. The benefits are short-term, when energy levels are increased, and long-term, as a result of improved performance and energy. Just keep in mind that the supplement alone will not grow your muscles. This is an indirect result. In simplified terms the harder you’re able to push in the gym because of your increased energy, the more strentgh and muscles gains you will make over time.
Helps in Recovery Time
High-intensity workouts require lots of time for the body to recover. Muscle tissue is ripped and damaged whenever you lift weights. As a result, after the exercise, the body will start repairing the damage caused. High concentrations of creatine in the muscles reduces the recovery time and keeps you ready for your next workout. Even though creatine helps in replenishing the body’s energy levels, it doesn’t do much in reducing muscle soreness after the workout.
How to Use Creatine
Like any other type of supplement, it is essential to know the proper dose and the appropriate time to take it. Creatine should be taken daily regardless of whether you are exercising or not. To maximize its effect, here is how you should use creatine supplement:
When you start using creatine, as a beginner, there is a step called the loading phase. At this level, your body requires extra creatine for muscle saturation. This process speeds up positive results. During the first five days or week of taking the supplement, it is mandatory to use at least 15g a day split into four or five doses, evenly spread throughout the day. While at it, ensure that you do not use it on an empty stomach. Take it with a meal and your muscles will be saturated faster.
After the successful completion of the loading phase, you are now fit to what is referred to as a maintenance dose, which involves taking 5g a day. This is a dose you can take either as a whole or split into two. Continue using this dose for as long as you deem fit. Most importantly, you should follow the dosage instructions on the package, unless otherwise stated.
What is the Best Form of Creatine?
Majority of the supplements available on the market use creatine monohydrate, which is the most effective supplement for the increase of muscle mass and strength. Some manufacturers market their creatines as superior, but the question is, are they any better? Here are the examples:
Regarding benefits, it is no better than creatine monohydrate. It is created by binding the molecule to citric acid.
It is created from malic acid and is known to have independent ergogenic benefits although there is no conspicuous study in relation to creatine.
This type of creatine has undergone processing to make the particle size easy to dissolve. Its most common form is creatine monohydrate. Being micronized doesn’t change how effective or how the absorption is.
This form of creatine is bound to the nitrate group. With this type of creatine, the water solubility is increased. It hasn’t been compared to studies with monohydrate, but it is known to have ergogenic properties.
It is formed by suspending creatine monohydrate in a solution, for example, water and amino acid glycine. Some companies claim it has many benefits, yet, studies show that it has no ergogenic advantages whatsoever. This is because when creatine is suspended in liquid form, it breaks down to an inactive substance known as creatinine.
Creatine Ethyl Ester
Studies show that this type of creatine is less efficient compared to creatine monohydrate, the reason being when ingested, it is quickly converted to creatinine, which is an inactive substance. Regarding creatine’s benefits, this confers to none.
Bound with hydrochloric acid, this form of creatine is sold as the concentrated type. It is claimed that you shouldn’t take as much as creatine monohydrate to get the same effects. However, there are no studies to prove this.
Creatine Magnesium Chelate
It is bound to magnesium, which plays a crucial role in metabolism, and theoretically, if used with creatine, its effectiveness is increased. A study showed that this form of creatine is almost similar to monohydrate.
This type of creatine has higher PH levels. Although there aren’t sufficient studies available to prove its effectiveness, one study claims that it is no more effective than creatine monohydrate.
It is bound to pyruvic acid and has been shown, compared to monohydrate, to produce higher levels of plasma with no improvement in absorption. Another research study shows that this form of creatine benefits endurance better than creatine citrate, but this claim was opposed by another study [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12669262].
Despite these many forms of creatine, creatine monohydrate is the best of them all. It is well tolerated, relatively inexpensive, and effective as shown by the results of the numerous studies.
Now that you have all the information you need to know about creatine supplementation, let’s take a look at the best products on the market.
The Naked supplement brand is one of the most respected in the supplement industry. As the name infers they pride themselves on being completely open about what’s in their products, and strive to keep their products as pure as possible.
Keeping up the company mantra Naked Creatine prioritizes quality. It is a top-notch product that is a 100 percent micronized creatine monohydrate and with no artificial ingredients whatsoever. It is considered a high grade, and fast dissolving monohydrate with a rapid absorption. Its benefits include enhanced strengths, delayed fatigue, sub-maximum load increase as well as a heightened overall training capability.
As a micronized creatine it mixes well with any liquid, dissolves as quickly. It is also unflavored making it great to add to your workout smoothies without altering the taste in a major way.
You can’t go wrong with Naked Creatine. It is one of the purest and most highly rated creatine supplements on the market
- It is 100 percent creatine monohydrate
- Ideal for vegetarians as it contains zero additives
- Blends well and is micronized to digest easily
- Has fast absorption
- It has a slightly unpleasant aftertaste when mixed only with water.
- The lid is a bit flimsy. It doesn’t glue securely in place
The Optimum Nutrition (ON) Micronized Creatine comes with pure CreaPure Creatine. As such, it is safe; doesn’t contain any impurities. It dissolves well in juice, water, or any other liquid, making it easy for ingestion and absorption in your body.
This micronized creatine supplement is sold in two varied sizes. Depending on your budget or purpose, that is, if you want to try a little before committing to it, you may go with the smaller size. It increases your workout strength and power and at the same time speeds up your recovery process. Its performance boosts are long lasting to ensure you endure the high-intensity workouts.
ON Creatine Micronized Creatine is well developed and can be used by both men and women. Notably, unlike other supplements of its kind, it doesn’t come with the gritty taste that some people are allergic to. It is unflavored and odorless.
- Comes with CreaPure creatine with no impurities or other ingredients
- Being micronized, it dissolves faster and also absorbs faster
- It is unflavored and odorless
- Users claim some leftover powder on the glass after drinking
Manufactured by Dymatize Nutrition who are committed to delivering the best and high-end products for workouts, this particular model of Dymatize Creatine is no different. It is a supplement that provides you with the highest form of creatine available. As a micronized product, it disperses quickly and dissolves rapidly in water.
Dymatize Creatine undergoes advanced manufacturing process that ensures the supplement is of the highest quality, which is why it claims 100 percent creatine monohydrate for unmatched levels energy. There are no additives, fillers, or artificial flavors included in this supplement.
It works by delaying your workout fatigue and enables you to push even harder, for longer. This way, you also get to enjoy enhanced muscle strength, increased muscle growth, and recovery after an exercise. Unlike other creatine supplements, Dymatize Creatine doesn’t cause bloating. It, therefore, is a product worth trying. Value for money is a guarantee.
- It is micronized for easy dissolving and absorption
- 100 percent creatine monohydrate
- No additives, flavors, or fillers
- Clinically tested for safety and maximum results
- Doesn’t include a scoop
- No flavors, but the taste isn’t the best
The Legion Recharge is one of the best supplements for gaining muscle and enhanced recovery after every workout. It contains pure creatine monohydrate, which is naturally known as the muscle gainer. The supplement contains way less artificial mass gainers, keeping you healthy and energized throughout your bodybuilding gym routine.
Recharge is a little different from some of the other supplements on the list because it includes more than just creatine. This supplement also includes L-carnitine L-Tartrate and Corosolic Acid. These two compunds vastly help in recovery by reducing muscle soreness and improving the effects of post workout carbohydrates.
I used to be a big proponent for taking supplements that only contain creatine. However after giving Recharge try I noticed a significant decrease in muscle soreness on the days following my workouts.
Aside from the additional ingredients, Recharge is an overall great product. It contains 5g of high quality creatine monohydrate. It dissolves rapidly in water or juice as well as any other liquid, to allow easy absorption and efficient results. And it comes in multiple flavors that make it great for taking on its own with just water.
- Enhances quick recovery while adding your muscle mass
- Regenerates proteins for energy and strength during workouts
- Multiple flavors
- Fewer colors and flavors with possibly less side effects
- Expensive because it’s not a pure creatine
Bulk Supplements Creatine Monohydrate Powder
Creatine supplements that claim to be the best probably don’t come close to the Bulk Supplements Creatine Monohydrate Powder. As a micronized creatine monohydrate ideal for high-intensity workouts, it is also safe for you and is a guaranteed supplement that will ensure you take your exercises to the next level.
This top-notch performance supplement has been engineered to give your muscles stamina and all the strength needed for an explosive experience in the gym. It is micronized to ensure that it dissolves in water quickly. Its high-intensity formula contains pure 99.9 percent creatine monohydrate and no other ingredients.
This is a simple no frills product that gets the job done. Bulk Supplements creatine is also one of the most cost effective ways to get your creatine.
- Enhances faster muscle recovery
- Dissolves easily in water and has a neutral taste
- During anaerobic workouts, it gives you a small boost
- Thousands of positive reviews
- Very cost effective
- Sealing the bag is a bit tricky
- Doesn’t include the necessary scoop
There are lots of creatine supplements on the market that make choosing one that suits your needs such a daunting task. In as much as all the above-reviewed products are the best for muscle gain and quick recovery, the winner is Bulk Supplements Creatine Monohydrate. It has almost everything in terms of features. It features a large serving, which is an excellent value for money, it is super pure with micronized creatine monohydrate as the primary ingredient, not to mention how easy it mixes.
Legion Recharge is a close second. But because it’s not a pure creatine and the cost it didn’t top this list. It does top our list of “Best Post Workout Supplements For Ultimate Recovery.” So if you’re looking for a complete recovery supplement, you should definitely go that route.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to your preference. Whichever the case, the above guide, and review should equip you with everything you need to know before choosing a product that will give you the satisfaction you desire