If you are into physical fitness, especially weightlifting or bodybuilding, then you are aware that many fitness enthusiasts take supplements. Many fitness supplements are made from naturally occurring vitamins, minerals and amino acids to reduce harmful side effects. Among the various supplements, bodybuilders and serious weight lifters like to take the best creatine supplements.
- Available in other package sizes
- Suitable for vegans and vegetarians
- Easily dissolves as it is mixed
- 99.9% pure
- The powder may have a strong chemical smell
- It may not dissolve completely
- Available in two sizes
- Comes in several flavours
- Offers a 30-day money back guarantee
- Costs more compared to other brands
- May not work as described
- Available in three package sizes
- 100% pure
- Easily mixes with other workout drinks
- Made in the UK
- Can be difficult to measure
- May not smell good
- It is made easy to mix
- Available in two package sizes
- Contains 3.4g of pure creatine in each serving
- May contain allergens
- Content can look smaller than tub
- 99.9% pure creatine
- It is micronised creatine
- Easy for the body to absorb
- Available in two sizes
- Contains ingredients which are allergens
- May not mix well
What is Creatine?
Creatine is a nitrogen-based organic acid which naturally occurs in humans and other vertebrate animals. Its main role in the body is to help recycle the energy source found in the body’s cells, which is ATP or adenosine triphosphate. ATP is primarily found in brain and muscle tissues, but creatine is primarily synthesised in the liver.
Creatine Supplement Usage
Although the body produces and stores creatine, about 95% of it is found in the skeletal system; creatine supplements are often taken by serious athletes as a performance enhancer. Unlike other performance enhancers, such as anabolic steroids or Albuterol, creatine is legal. It helps provide more energy for athletes, improves strength, and improves endurance so workouts can last longer.
Along with athletes, creatine can also help people with certain chronic medical conditions. Researchers in Germany discovered that people who have muscular dystrophy could strengthen their muscles by as much 8.5% over people who do not take creatine. The study looked at both short- and medium-term usage of creatine supplements.
Another study from Australia showed those who supplemented with creatine had a significant boost in brain power. A similar study conducted in 2007 on elderly patients found creatine helps with cognitive abilities in older people. Out of the cognitive tests administered during the study, researchers found creatine supplementation had a significantly positive effect on all of them, except for backwards number recall.
Studies at three different South Korean universities discovered that women with depression who took antidepressants could augment them with creatine and get better results. By supplementing daily with five grammes of creatine, the women responded twice as fast to their antidepressants and had twice the rate of remission from depression over those who did not take the supplements.
Creatine supplements are available in tablet or powder form, with creatine powders being the most popular with athletes. They can mix the powder with other beverages, like fruit juices or protein powders, and drink it before working out to boost their energy and endurance. Along with different creatine supplement forms, there are also different creatine formulas.
Types of Creatine Supplements
If you decide to supplement your workouts with creatine or take it to help with a chronic medical condition, you will discover there are many different creatine formulas on the market. Here are several of the formulas and a brief explanation of their attributes.
Creatine Hydrochloride (HCL) – One of the most popular creatine formulas among athletes is creatine hydrochloride (HCL). It comes in a powder form and is known for being more soluble than other creatine powders. It also has a lower dosage which helps prevent water retention, bloating, and gastrointestinal problems that can occur when supplementing with creatine.
Creatine Monohydrate – This form of creatine is the most widely studied due to its effectiveness. It is creatine which contains a water molecule, so, in some users, creatine monohydrate can cause water retention and bloating.
Creatine Anhydrous – Creatine anhydrous is the same as creatine monohydrate, except it is missing the water molecule. It contains a bit more creatine gram-per-gram, but it is not any more effective than creatine monohydrate.
Creatine Phosphate – Even though creatine needs to bond with some form of phosphate to become creatine phosphate and work effectively in your body, this supplement form is not as effective as creatine monohydrate. It also requires taking a larger dose to get the right amount of creatine in your system because it only contains about 60% creatine.
Creatine Citrate – Creatine citrate is creatine that has been bonded with citrate acid. The idea is to help make it more water soluble, but since it only contains 40% creatine, it is an inefficient source of the supplement.
Creatine Nitrate – This type of creatine bonds with a form of nitrate to help make it more soluble. Also, nitric oxide can help boost athletic performance by providing improving strength and muscle growth. While there can be some safety concerns with using nitrates in supplements, studies show creatine nitrate use is fine for healthy individuals.
There are several other forms of creatine supplements on the market, but these six are the most common. You can find them in many pharmacies that sell dietary supplements and nutrition stores. However, you will find a wider variety of these, and other supplements, online.
If you are unsure about which type of creatine supplement to use, you should read the information about the supplement before you buy it. You can also do further research to find the best type to take for workouts or health concerns. If you are using a dietary supplement, including creatine, for health issues, talk to your General Practitioner about taking them.
Side Effects of Creatine
Supplementing with creatine does have some side effects, but for the most part it, healthy individuals can take it without incident. There is some concern that long-term creatine use puts stress on the kidneys. However, more common side effects include stomach upset, muscle cramping, and dehydration, so it is important to drink plenty of water when taking this supplement.
Conclusion: Which Creatine Do You Recommend I Buy?
Our Top Creatine Supplement Pick
Although there are many forms of creatine powders and tablets on the market, we chose these five as our top picks and, from these choices, we picked Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout Powder to be our choice for the best creatine supplement.
Cellucor C4 not only contains creatine nitrate, but it also contains ingredients like caffeine, beta alanine and others that will boost your energy and increase your endurance levels while working out in the gym or running sprints. There is no need to mix it with other supplements or fruit juices as it comes in a variety of flavours.
C4 provides the endurance and energy you need when in the gym, but also the focus. If you want to improve your workouts, Cellucor C4 contains the ingredients necessary to get more out of your high-intensity training routine.
For Amateurs and Professionals
You do not need to be a professional athlete to reap the benefits of taking creatine supplements prior to working out. Anyone can use this supplement and, if they take it as directed, it will provide the boost they need to get through a tough training session.
If you want to take a creatine supplement to improve your health, talk to your GP about their benefits and drawbacks before you begin taking one on your own. However, if you are healthy and drink plenty of water, there shouldn’t be any significant side effects.