Made of 100% unflavored creatine monohydrate and confirmed to lack any prohibited substances. Comes in a 1.32-pound tub. Includes 120 servings of 5 grams. Absorbs easily and helps support the body before, during, and after workouts.
May have a gritty texture when mixed.
Made by a reliable brand name, this powder offers a tasty strawberry-watermelon flavor that mixes well into water. Including 300mg of caffeine and beta-alanine along with a creatine blend, this pre-workout fuels high-intensity workouts.
The flavor can be quite pleasant, but it can take a chalky texture if not mixed thoroughly.
Promoting healthy muscle growth, giving a boost to energy levels, and assisting in muscle recovery time, this product is ideal for active people. Complete with insulinogenic co-factors, this is easily absorbed by the body.
Some buyers reported an increase in thirst after taking this supplement powder.
A 10.68-ounce tub of powder available in various flavors. Contains 30 servings. Builds lean muscle and minimizes muscle pain after workouts. Made in the USA in a certified facility. Does not include dyes or fillers.
Some may not prefer the taste.
Builds muscle, increases strength, and enhances brain function. Made with vegan ingredients and without fillers. For use before workouts. Made in a cGMP-certified lab, inspected, and tested. Comes in a 2.2-pound bag with 200 servings.
Some reports of issues with packaging.
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If you lift weights, participate in a competitive sport, take your workouts seriously, or simply spend a lot of time at the gym, you’ve probably heard of creatine powder. This popular supplement quickly and effectively boosts muscle mass and strength, helping weightlifters and other athletes compete harder and longer.
Finding creatine powder, however, can be an exercise in confusion. There are many brands on the market, all claiming to be the best. So how do you know which product offers more help than hype? What’s the best way to use creatine powder, and is it safe?
At the most basic level, creatine is a compound that provides energy to your muscles. Your body produces it naturally – mostly in your kidneys, pancreas, and liver – creating it out of amino acids arginine, glycine, and methionine. Beef, tuna, and salmon are also potent sources of dietary creatine.
Whether from your body’s own production or dietary sources, once creatine enters your bloodstream, it travels to your muscles. There, it is converted into phosphocreatine. Your muscle cells break down the phosphocreatine to aid in the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the molecular chemical used by your cells to transport and provide energy.
During a vigorous workout, your muscles quickly use up their store of ATP, leading to fatigue. But when supplemented with creatine powder, your body has a much larger store of ATP to draw on before muscle fatigue sets in.
Researchers have studied creatine extensively. Some of the benefits they have found include the following.
Increased muscle mass, often within days
Improved muscle strength, including the ability to lift more weight and complete more reps of weightlifting exercises
More energy for explosive, high-intensity sports such as weightlifting, football, HIIT, and sprinting
Faster and more effective muscle repair after intensive exercise sessions
Increased aerobic endurance, although there is some dispute over this
There is some evidence – though not conclusive – that creatine also helps with many other health conditions, including the following.
Reduction in arthritis pain and stiffness
Reduction in the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease
Improved brain function in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and brain injury
Lowered blood sugar levels to fight diabetes
Heightened memory and cognitive function
Increased energy in conditions that normally cause fatigue
Improved skin condition and reduction of wrinkles when applied topically in cream form
You’ll find creatine in several forms on the shelves of your local vitamin or health food shop, including powder, liquid, and capsules. For most people, the powdered form is the easiest to use and also the least expensive.
There are two basic ways most users take their creatine: rapid loading and slow loading.
In rapid loading, a larger dose of creatine is taken for five to seven days – 20 grams per day is a common dosage, broken into four doses of five grams each. This is followed by a lower dose of five to 10 grams daily for a week or two and then one or two weeks without any supplement at all. Rapid loading leads to an equally rapid increase of muscle mass and performance.
With slow loading, you simply take five to 10 grams of creatine powder daily. By the end of a month, you’ll have similar benefits to those users who employed the rapid-loading method.
Researchers and bodybuilders alike are divided on whether or not they recommend rapid loading. As the results are ultimately the same, you can save money by slow loading your creatine unless you need quick results for an upcoming competition.
The most researched form of creatine by far is creatine monohydrate, and most researchers recommend sticking with this form. However, you’ll find quite a few other types of creatine powder on health food store shelves, each claiming to provide superior results. There is little to no research backing up these claims, however.
Here are some of the types of creatine you might see.
This is creatine combined with a bit of baking soda, supposedly to buffer the creatine against stomach acid. Luckily, creatine monohydrate is resistant to stomach acid on its own, so there’s no need to pay more for a buffered product.
The theory is that this form of creatine – which is bound to magnesium – will absorb more easily into your bloodstream, but there’s no proof of that happening.
This form of creatine is bound to hydrochloric acid, supposedly helping it absorb and function better. But again, there is little research backing up these claims.
This is simply a creatine monohydrate powder that’s been finely ground so it will dissolve more easily in water. While it does indeed dissolve quickly and easily, there’s no reason to believe it works any better than regular creatine monohydrate once it’s in your body. Many users do appreciate the way it dissolves without clumps, however, making it one of the most popular forms of creatine.
While it might seem convenient to buy creatine monohydrate that’s already dissolved in flavored water and ready for you to drink, the fact is that creatine begins breaking down into creatinine fairly quickly after being mixed into a liquid. Rather than buying a premixed solution, you’re far better off mixing your own creatine supplement batch each day.
Creatine isn’t expensive. As a general rule, you can find a one-pound canister of creatine monohydrate for less than $20. Products that cost more than that are generally one of the altered or refined forms of creatine that come with a great deal of marketing hype.
A. If you’re taking one or two doses of creatine daily, research shows the best time to dose is after your workout or after a meal. For the best absorption, take your supplement after a meal that combines equal amounts of carbs and protein. You should also drink plenty of water while using creatine, as it causes muscles to hold onto water and thus can lead to generalized dehydration if you don’t consume extra fluids.
A. According to the Mayo Clinic, supplementing with creatine at a daily dose recommended by the manufacturer is generally safe for most people, although long-term effects beyond five years aren’t known. While not every athlete will benefit from creatine powder, most see at least some improvement in muscle mass and strength.
People with kidney disease, however, should not take creatine, as there is some concern that it may be hard on these organs in high dosages or over time.
It’s also not a good idea for anyone with bipolar disorder to take creatine, as there is some speculation it could lead to increased mania.
A. When taken as directed, most people will not experience any troublesome side effects from creatine powder. If taken in high doses, however, or for those very sensitive to the supplement, side effects can include the following.
If you experience bothersome side effects while taking creatine, stop using the product right away. The side effects should resolve quickly, but if they do not, speak with your doctor.
A. No. Creatine is a naturally produced compound made of amino acids. It is not a steroid or hormone, nor does it have any effect on your body’s natural hormone levels, including testosterone.