What No One Tells You About The Best Creatine Supplements
With so many products to choose from, the question on everyone's lips has to be: what is the best creatine supplement?
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.
This page lists my 10 best creatine supplements.
With so many new and fancy products hitting the shelves all the time, it's important to separate the wheat from the chaff.
It seems that every multi-million dollar sports & nutrition outfit wants to jump on the creatine supplement bandwagon these days.
And why wouldn't they?
After all, the industry is worth billions.
Too much competition, though, has resulted in some crazy marketing.
And as there's no strict regulation for nutritional supplements, we can see some outrageous claims and overhyped products.
Best Creatine Supplements
Are you keen to build muscle but frustrated with the slow progress?
Perhaps you’ve found this page because you heard that a compound called creatine can help?
The good news is that you heard right, but not all products are equal.
Before I get into that there’s something you need to know, so please take a few minutes to read this short guide.
The purpose of this page is to help you make the right choice for you and your needs.
The most important thing for you to know is that not all creatine supplements are the same.
It’s true, not every product does what it says it does, despite the claims.
I’m going to show you how to choose the best type of creatine supplements.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what you’ll know by the end of this guide:
- What is creatine—exactly?
- How does creatine work?
- What’s the best creatine for building muscle
- How to take creatine
- The downsides to creatine supplements
Once you have a better understanding of the above points, you can then shop for creatine supplements with confidence.
Okay, let’s start with what creatine is and how it helps muscle growth.
What Is Creatine and Why Use It?
Creatine is what scientists call a “naturally-occurring amino acid”.
(Not to be confused with BCAAs) Without getting too technical, amino acids are the building blocks of proteins.
They’re “essential” as they form the basis of all life processes.
We get around half of all our creatine from animal foods, i.e. meat and fish.
Your body’s natural processes makes the other half in the liver and Kidney.
So the human body creates its own creatine, and it’s also in certain foods.
The question, then, is why would you even bother to take supplements?
It’s a reasonable question, but there’s a good answer.
For every kilogram of muscle, the average body contains between 3.5g and 4g of creatine, but it has room for 5g.
Quality creatine supplements can provide the extra 1-1.5g.
Why is this important?
Maximum creatine in the body results in maximum potential for muscle growth.
What Does Creatine Do—Exactly?
Creatine is now a well-established energy supplement.
It's particularly popular with bodybuilders who strive to build beautiful lean muscle.
Creatine fuels ATP, which drives your muscle contractions.
You can think of ATP as high-energy molecules that provide the power needed for working muscles.
What creatine supplements do is increase the amount of fuel that powers ATP in your muscles.
There's more to it than this, but the above describes the basics of what creatine does.
And although fish and meat contains creatine, and the body produces some naturally, there's always room for more.
Creatine in muscle cells helps to produce something called ATP, or Adenosine triphosphate.
Your body uses ATP as its constant supply of energy.
Biologists refer to ATP as the energy currency of life.
ATP is also your body’s primary energy source during high-intensity exercise.
More ATP means less fatigue and faster recovery after a workout, but that’s not all.
The four main benefits of creatine supplements for bodybuilding and strength training include:
- Augments muscle strength and muscle size
- Boosts recovery time after training
- Enhances sprint performance
- Improves brain function (an added benefit)
- Many other advantages
Creatine And Muscle Growth
There’s a lot of hype out there and plenty of claims on product labels.
If you trust everything you read, then shopping for creatine supplements would be simple and reliable, but it’s not!
It’s easy to become overwhelmed when you first start to look for creatine supplements.
You will come across many products and product names.
Some of the most common creatine supplements for sale include:
- Creatine Monohydrate
- Creatine pills and Capsules
- Liquid creatine
- Buffered creatine
- Creatine nitrate
- Citrate and hydrochloride
- Many others (new, often overhyped products arrive all the time)
How To Choose Creatine Supplements?
The purpose of this short guide is to highlight the proven creatine products.
These are the ones that real supplement users take.
They're the people who write reviews, giving their personal opinions.
You won't find any blinding science reviews here, or overly technical jargon.
My readers want to know names of products, their reputation, and the expected results, so that's what I provide, nothing more.
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
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!
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.
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.
Check out our complete guide on the best creatine pills and capsules.
On a per-nutrient basis, creatine liquids are usually the priciest form of 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.
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.
Some producers of fancy creatine supplements overhype their products because they can.
There are 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
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.
Choose 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.
The oldest form of creatine is the first one on the list above: Creatine Monohydrate.
It’s also the most scientifically researched of them all. The newer forms have little or no research, yet plenty of claims.
It’s never a good idea to take any supplements that lack thorough research.
Creatine Monohydrate powder is also the cheapest of them all.
No one promotes it using bling or outrageous claims either.
It’s also wise to choose a pharmaceutical grade Creatine Monohydrate like Myogenix.
This removes the risk of any impurities or toxins that might be present in some non-pharmaceutical grade products.
In the US alone, there are over 400 million sales of Creatine Monohydrate annually, and that’s because it’s tried and trusted.
It will provide your body with 4.40g of active product.
How to Take Creatine Monohydrate
It’s not complicated to take Creatine Monohydrate powder, but there are a few rules to take note of.
The common recommendation is to take between 3-5g with a pre or post-workout shake.
For those of you who want to load up, take 5g of Creatine Monohydrate four times a day for six consecutive days.
After the six day period you will want to drop down to 3g per day.
Point to note: It’s always a good idea to inform your doctor before you make any health changes to diet and lifestyle. Yes, this even applies to over-the-counter supplements.
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 the best creatine supplements, 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 Supplements
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.
The Downsides to Creatine Supplements
You can find many myths on the negative side effects of creatine supplements.
But with Creatine Monohydrate, there’s no clinical evidence to support any serious health issues in healthy adults.
As for non-dangerous side effects, one concern—for some—is an increase in weight gain.
One cause is the development of additional muscle tissue. Another cause is the extra water in muscle cells.
If you partake in a sport that has strict weight categories, then you need to take Creatine supplements with extra care, or not at all.
For everyone else, the extra bulk is most likely a welcome side effect.
Top 10 Best Creatine Supplements Reviewed
Universal Nutrition Creatine is my top pick for good reason.
It's a simple yet very effective creatine powder made in Germany.
I like the fact that it uses 100% unadulterated creatine monohydrate.
The great thing about this product is that it delivers optimal results with little fuss.
In other words, it doesn't rely on unnecessary sweeteners, other ingredients, or fillers that some products do.
Universal Nutrition Creatine does what it says on the label.
It will stimulate your muscle growth and shorten your recovery time after a hard workout.
And because it's a 'micronized" formula, that makes it much easier to mix and digest.
This is another simple, yet highly-effective creatine product.
If you need to boost your energy levels, increase strength, and enjoy more endurance, consider this supplement.
Like the first choice, there are no unnecessary fillers included in the product, or any of that other junk found in some lesser supplements.
The only ingredient is 100% pure micronized creatine monohydrate.
Creatine monohydrate is the most researched and the most effective of all creatine supplements.
My third pick is another quality, effective powder.
It uses pure 100% micronized creatine, so you can be sure it'll provide the boost you need to excel at the gymnasium.
MuscleTech Platinum 100% Creatine sports the usual highlights of the other two.
However, some users complain of the taste.
The way to get around this is to simply mix it with a tasty, strong-favored drink.
If you want 100% pure pharmaceutical-grade creatine, look no further than Dymatize Creatine Monohydrate.
This is a high-quality, unmixed creatine that assists optimal high-intensity performance.
This clinically proven supplement complies with a stringent molecular formula.
It's a muscle hydrator, cell volumizer, an ATP Activator, and much more.
You can get it in either powdered form or capsules.
A single teaspoon provides you with 5g of 99.9% pure Creapure® creatine monohydrate.
It's a flavorless powder that's easy to mix into water, any flavored juice, or a protein shake, post-workout.
ON Creatine Monohydrate is a popular choice with sporty folks who like to also train with weights.
Used on a regular basis it assists with muscle development, strength, and improved power.
The last thing you need when working on your strength and fitness is to stuff your body with unnecessary junk.
The good news is that this product is free of color dyes, fillers, artificial sweeteners, and other harmful additives.
StrengthSeries Creatine HMB is a quality supplement by Transparent Labs.
It includes creatine monohydrate and HMB (β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate) at precise clinically-effective dosages.
Combined at the right dosage, HMB and creatine monohydrate will improve strength and augment endurance.
It also helps to decrease fat mass while preventing the loss of lean muscle.
Combined, these six creatine types help with muscle gains, increased strength, and aid faster post workout recovery.
This product also supports cellular hydration which should help to delay fatigue.
This is a pro muscle building and strength supplement. It does get mixed reviews, though more good than bad, hence its position here.
Best Creatine contains six advanced forms of quality creatine.
Not everyone likes or trusts creatine products with multiple ingredients.
This is because there's a lot of overhyping out there with some brands.
But if you want to try one, Best Creatine is a worthy choice.
Promera Sports Con-Cret should provide most users with extra energy during workouts.
It's a product that some claim really helps them to maximize their training in the gym or on the track.
This is an effective creatine supplement that uses pure creatine hydrochloride or HCL.
The reason behind adding a hydrochloride group to the creatine is to enhance its overall stability.
This creatine supplement is highly soluble (dissolves easily), and digests quickly in the body.
It's particularly popular with women as there's no bloating—a common side-effect with some supplements.
Other reasons to like this product include: no water retention, and no GI issues.
There's no need for loading or cycling either.
You just take a small daily micro dose based on your own body weight.
Promera Sports Con-Cret doesn't have as much research to back it up as the more standard creatine products.
It costs more too.
Despite these drawbacks, it still looks promising.
In 2015, Bodybuilding.com gave it the best creatine Supplement of the Year Award.
Overall, this is a great value for money supplement and well-received by the wider industry.
This is another advanced product that uses five different creatine forms.
Creature's special blend of ingredients helps to fuel muscle development.
It's a good choice if you want to pack on a lot of muscle.
Beast Sports Nutrition is no stranger to first-rate fitness supplements.
But it's their Creature product here that has put their name firmly on the forefront of trusted brands.
This is what I personally use.
It's easy to mix and flavorless.
The price is also great and you get a lot for what you pay.
Newbies at my gym sometimes approach me and ask: Where can I buy creatine?
When a person has a question like this, it usually means they don’t know much about creatine as a supplement.
If they had any knowledge on creatine, they’d know where to get it.
They’d also know what form of the supplement best suited their bodybuilding and strength training needs—specifically.
Before You Buy Creatine Supplements
The only way to make an informed decision before you shop for creatine is to know lots about this natural substance.
The more you know, the easier it’ll be to buy and try the various forms.
We’ve covered all the creatine angles on this site already.
You can find any info you need using the search feature located at the top right of this page.
Here’s a recap of what you should know before you buy creatine:
- What is creatine?
- Why creatine monohydrate is the most trusted form
- Why supplement when you can get creatine from food?
- Why supplement when your body makes its own creatine?
- How does creatine work in the body?
- How does more creatine in the body benefit strength training?
- Potential downsides and side-effects of creatine
- What is creatine loading and recycling?
- When should you take creatine?
- How to mix creatine powders
- Creatine pills and capsules VS powders—which is best”
Once you’ve a good understanding on creatine basics, you then need to know how to take it:
It makes good sense to know about the basics of creatine and its supplement forms.
It’s so that you can narrow down your choices, save time, and not waste money.
Now you’re ready to shop.
The Best Places to Buy Creatine Supplements
Creatine is—without any doubt—the most studied and the most popular of all muscle building supplements.
Despite that, not all manufacturers produce creatine supplements equally.
This is why a little knowledge on your part can go a long way when it comes to making the best choices.
Because of its global popularity, you can find creatine in all the usual places:
- High-street multinationals like Walmart and popular nutrition stores
- Online mega retailers like Amazon, eBay and GNC
- Manufacturers own website
- Product review sites that link to the above trusted sources
Product Review Sites Vs the High Street
Reviews, news, and topical sites like BonyMuscle.com exist for a reason.
Unlike high street shops and online stores, we offer useful and engaging content on all the latest industry news and products.
We expose any scams, pros, cons, and give unbiased reviews on the products we assess.
You can also find a plethora of great topical articles on strength training & fitness topics, along with tips and tricks.
The high street is convenient for some, but creatine and other supplement products often cost more.
Today, internet shopping regularly offers 24 hour delivery, making the high street less appealing.
Where Can I Buy Creatine?
Read our BonyMuscle.com easy-to-follow guides on creatine supplements.
It won’t take long.
And once you’ve finished, shopping for creatine will be so much easier.
We’re the skinny guy’s guide to muscle building. I
know what I’m talking about because I—and the contributors to this site—were all former skinny guys who have since developed their bodies.
We can direct you to the best places to buy creatine supplements in whichever form you want.
But we always let you know why we endorse a certain product, and list any of its pros and cons.
Don't buy into the hype, and try not to let fancy products convince you.
If you're new to sports nutrition and want a 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.