With so many products to choose from, the question on everyone’s lips has to be about creatine.
You’ve probably read that not all creatine is equal, but what does it mean?
Well, the problem with nutritional supplements—any supplements—is that they’re not FDA-regulated.
This pretty much gives manufacturers a free run on how they produce and market their products.
Before You Buy Creatine Supplements
The seven most common issues new consumers face choosing creatine supplements are:
- Creatine doesn’t have to meet the strict testing guidelines of medications
- Creatine supplement producers are free to overhype their products
- What’s best: creatine liquids, powders, or pills?
- Cheaper supplements have to be inferior to costlier products, don’t they?
- Some creatine supplements come with additional ingredients
- Too much choice and more products arriving on the shelves all the time
- The health concerns associated with creatine supplements
Good News for Creatine Consumers
The good news for new consumers is that I’ve cut through the hype so that you don’t have to. Keep reading to discover the best and most trusted creatine supplements, and why you should trust them.
Creatine is now the most profitable amino acid supplement ever marketed. Aside from professionals, creatine is also popular among some college and high-school athletes and why? Because it works!
Not all fancy creatine supplements are bad or misleading, but some might be. If you’re new and want to know what definitely works, choose the oldest and most trusted form: Creatine Monohydrate.
Why Creatine Monohydrate?
Creatine Monohydrate has been around the longest and benefited from the most research. It’s popular among folks who want to build lean muscle mass, augment performance, and boost their strength.
This quality creatine supports protein synthesis, and that’s important for building strength. It’s a process that helps muscles, whereby individual cells make their own protein.
This is a trusted, no-thrills supplement that simply works. It does exactly what it claims on the label. Not only is Creatine Monohydrate the best supplement, it’s the most cost-effective option as well.
You do have other options. But if you want to play it safe and get the most bang for your buck, then Creatine Monohydrate is most definitely the way to go.
Creatine Monohydrate supplementation has been studied over many years. Despite this, its widespread use has only grown in popularity over the last couple of decades.
What Is Creatine Overhype
Some producers of fancy creatine supplements overhype their products because they can. There’re no strict regulations in place. In other words, there’s no or little research to back up some of these claims.
We know that some claims with certain costlier products are false because of user reviews. Athletes and bodybuilders who try them report no extra benefits—or even less—than regular monohydrate.
People often buy into the sales spiel and fancy branding, especially newbies. They assume the high price will result in better results. It doesn’t, at least not with a lot of the overhyped brands
Creatine Pills, Liquids or Powders?
Another overwhelming choice is how to take your creatine supplements. The three main options are pills, liquid form, or powders. Which one you choose will depend largely on personal preference.
#1 Creatine Pills & Capsules
Pills or capsules are the most shelf-stable and the most cost-effective. They’re easy to swallow and it doesn’t take them long to break down, especially the capsules.
Some pills and capsules can have absorption issues though, especially cheaper brands. This means there can be a loss in nutrient absorption as the body digests the supplement.
#2 Creatine Liquids
On a per-nutrient basis, creatine liquids are usually the priciest form of the supplement. Despite the higher price, there’s nothing to suggest that liquid creatine offers any notable benefits over other forms.
Liquid creatine may absorb the fastest, but not enough to make a significant difference. They have the shortest shelf life too. Inconsistent ingredient distribution in the liquid can be another potential issue.
Another drawback with creatine liquids is that they’re not as easy to lug around as pills and powders. Liquids are heavy, and most will need refrigeration, thus making them a less flexible option.
#3 Creatine Powders
Millions of experienced users of creatine supplements prefer the powdered forms, including me. Okay, so you have to mix them with drinks or food, but that’s a small price to pay.
You can also fine-tune your dosage with powders. On a per-nutrient basis, creatine powders are going to be your most cost-effective option too.
Cheaper Creatine Supplements Are Inferior!
It’s a myth to suggest that cheaper creatine supplements are inferior to the costlier options. In some cases, they are superior, particularly the popular Creatine Monohydrate (see creatine overhype above).
It’s natural for people to always look out for “the next best thing”, and there are plenty of those in the world of creatine and nitric oxide supplements. Yet high-price and big claims don’t always result in better products.
Some creatine supplements come mixed with other ingredients. These are supposed to offer added benefits. But if you want a good creatine supplement, then stick to the basic, purer options.
The choices you have are already overwhelming without complicating matters with all-in-one products. If you need something more, my advice is to research it separately.
I’m not saying that these multi-supplement products are all bad. I’m just suggesting that people who are new to taking creatine need to keep their supplement program as simple as possible.
Health Concerns Linked to Creatine Supplement
You can find plenty of blog posts by unknown authors writing on the health concerns associated with creatine supplements. If you’re over 18 years of age and healthy, ignore the scaremongering.
Creatine is the most researched of all the bodybuilding and sports supplements. Test after test has shown that it’s a perfectly safe and legal supplement as long as you go with reputable brands.
Keep it simple too. By that I mean go with pharmaceutical-grade creatine monohydrate, and steer clear of fancy products. At least do this until you’ve become more of an expert on sports nutrition.
Don’t buy into the hype, and try not to let fancy products convince you. If you’re new to sports nutrition and want quality creatine, keep it simple. A creatine monohydrate supplement will deliver results and keep the cost down.
It also allows you flexibility in consumption. There’s plenty of time to explore other more complex options once you get deeper into your strength and fitness program.