Creatine is an organic compound known for its muscle and performance-enhancing properties. Needless to say, this compound is widely known in the fitness, bodybuilding, and athletic circles.
If you are looking for a creatine supplement, there are different types of creatine to choose from. If you’re having a hard time choosing which creatine you should buy, then this article is for you.
In this article, we are going to cover a few basics about creatine, the different types, and of course the best type of creatine. If you’d rather skip right to our top creatine picks, feel free to scroll to the bottom of the article!
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is an organic compound that is used by our body to supply energy to different cells of our body, especially to our muscle cells.
Actually, our body produces creatine through our liver to aid in the supply of energy to our cells. Also, we can get creatine through diet, especially from meat.
However, if you want to boost your physical performance with creatine during workouts, you’ll need to take creatine supplements because both what we produce and what we eat does not provide enough creatine to deliver such results.
To put it into perspective, you would need to eat plenty of kilograms of meat just to get the same amount of creatine you would get from dietary supplements – and I doubt your body would be happy about it!
Top 5 Benefits Of Creatine
Creatine is a well-known supplement in the fitness and bodybuilding industry, and there’s a good reason for that. There are many different benefits to creatine for not only muscle growth but also physical performance! For starters, here are some of the main benefits of creatine:
1) Creatine is safe, easy to use, and widely available
First of all, creatine is proudly a safe supplement! But how can we say so?
Creatine is a widely-researched compound, having been researched for over 200 years. The numerous studies and researches about creatine support its safety. In fact, according to clinical trials, creatine would have no detrimental effect on a healthy individual for up to 5 years of use.
This means that, unlike some other supplements, creatine is not just another fad that you can see on bodybuilding websites and magazines. It is not a problematic supplement (safety-wise) unlike other supplements of its kind.
Aside from being mostly generally safe, creatine is also widely available and easy to use – for starters, simply take around 3-5g of creatine monohydrate powder every day!
2) Creatine provides muscle cells with energy
This is the main purpose of creatine – to provide energy to your cells, especially to your muscle cells. Here’s how it works: Creatine increases your muscles’ phosphocreatine levels. Phosphocreatine is used to produce adenosine triphosphate or ATP, the very molecule our body utilizes for energy.
Normally, our muscles have ATP ready to be used – for walking, running, lifting weights, or performing a cool martial arts trick. Every time you use your muscles, you are consuming your muscle’s ATP the same way a car consumes its fuel as you drive.
On normal activities, there’s nothing you need to do with that. Your muscles will eventually get their ATP back. However, if you want to perform more, you’ll need the help of creatine because our body’s ability to reproduce ATP is slower compared to the rate we use it.
Creatine helps your body perform more by increasing your phosphocreatine levels. If your phosphocreatine levels are increased, your body can reproduce ATPs much faster. In turn, this will allow you to perform more in your workouts, training, or any physically-intense activities.
3) Creatine boosts muscle growth
Creatine is also known for its muscle-building properties. In fact, it can even be considered the “world’s most effective supplement” when it comes to increasing your muscle mass!
Creatine can help you make your muscles bigger by causing your muscle cells to keep more water than it normally could. As a result, this will make your muscles bigger.
Given that creatine can help you last longer in physically-intense activities including workouts like weightlifting, it can also support your muscle growth by allowing you to push your physical limits during your workouts.
4) Creatine can help you recover faster
A speedy recovery is also important if you want to push your physical limits – and creatine can help you with that as well!
According to some research, creatine can help reduce cell damage and inflammation which happens whenever you perform intense activities. In turn, this helps in speeding up your recovery so you can train again and push your body to the limits!
5) Creatine can improve our brain function
It’s not just your muscles that need ATP, but your brain too!
Our brain needs plenty of ATP especially if it performs a difficult task. As we already know, creatine can increase our ATP levels by increasing our phosphocreatine levels, and this applies to the brain, too!
Also, creatine can improve our brain function by increasing mitochondrial function and dopamine levels.
Best Types Of Creatine
There are 12 common forms of creatine, which include the following:
- creatine hydrochloride (better water solubility)
- buffered creatine monohydrate (better body absorption)
- creatine magnesium chelate (binding magnesium)
- creatine ethyl ester (enriched with ester)
- creatine citrate (combined with citric acid)
- creatine malate (bound to malic acid)
- creatine nitrate (binded to nitrate molecule)
- creatine gluconate (bound to glucose)
- creatine pyruvate (pyruvic acid)
- creatine alpha-ketoglutarate (alpha-ketoglutaric acid)
- multi-component creatine (combination of several types of creatine)
While those are the most common, there are four specific types that are used in day-to-day creatine products. These include:
- Creatine Monohydrate
- Creatine Hydrochloride
- Liquid Creatine
- Creatine Magnesium Chelate
Creatine monohydrate is the most commonly used type of creatine in the market. It is also the most researched form of creatine – and numerous research agree that creatine is safe to use.
Because creatine monohydrate is the one that was mostly used in research regarding creatine, and many people use creatine monohydrate in their workouts, creatine monohydrate grows to become the gold standard for all creatine types – in fact, other types of new types of creatine are compared to creatine monohydrate to test its safety levels and effectiveness!
Creatine hydrochloride is known for its solubility in water, which is very crucial because it meant that we can take creatine hydrochloride in smaller doses and still get the same effect we would expect from creatine. Taking low doses meant that you are less likely to experience side effects such as an upset stomach.
While creatine hydrochloride is indeed more soluble than creatine monohydrate, it’s still a question if creatine hydrochloride is as effective as its monohydrate counterpart – and so far, we have little to no research comparing the two.
Not all of us like taking powdered supplements, so some manufacturers decided to produce liquid supplements, including liquid creatine. Liquid creatine is just that – creatine that was already dissolved in water. If you want to simply drink your supplement, liquid creatine could work better for you.
However, in terms of effectiveness, some research points out that liquid creatine is less effective compared to creatine monohydrate powders. Partly, this happens because creatine breaks down the more it stays on the water.
On the other hand, powdered creatine will not lose its effectiveness even if you mixed it on the water as long as you consumed it after dissolving it. This seems to be a better way of consuming creatine in liquid form rather than using ready-made liquid creatine.
Creatine Magnesium Chelate
Creatine magnesium chelate is simply creatine that includes some levels of magnesium attached to its molecules. While creatine magnesium chelate is indeed proven to be effective, there is little difference between creatine magnesium chelate and creatine monohydrate.
Best Creatine Brands
By this time, we can already tell which creatine is the best: creatine monohydrate!
So far, creatine monohydrate proves to be the best because it is safe, effective, easy-to-use, and widely available in the market! Also, unlike other creatine types, creatine monohydrate is the most-researched creatine, so the data and information about it are well-established.
Below are four brands we recommend.
Bulk Supplements Creatine Monohydrate
Bulk Supplements Creatine Monohydrate comes in powder form but can also be bought in capsule form if you prefer that. It is gluten, soy, sugar, and dairy-free and includes 2500 mg of micronized creatine monohydrate.
While this option is on the pricier side, it’s worth the price tag. This product is NSF Certified for Sport® and formulated by Thorne, one of the leading supplement brands. It’s easy to add to your day-to-day routines as you can add it to just about any liquid.
Ath Organics Creatine
This creatine powder is made with Creatine Monohydrate. It is one of the most popular supplements on the market, helping consumers increase the production of ATP. This option is moderately priced.
Is Creatine Safe?
Creatine is generally considered safe and if properly used, it will mostly not cause any side effects. If it would cause side effects, it’s mostly just a mild side effect such as an upset stomach.
However, there are concerns that creatine can cause serious side effects if you took high doses of it – including the possibility of damaging your heart, kidneys, and liver.
To avoid it, simply take creatine in the proper dosage. If you have a medical condition, consider asking your doctor first before taking the supplement to ensure that the supplement would be safe for you.