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What is Creatine? Best Creatine Supplements to Boost Performance 

 May 25, 2021

by Jess
Item
Best Powder
Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Powder
Best Tablets
Creatine Monohydrate Tablets by Opal Fitness
Best Chewable
Creatine Chewable Tablets
Preview
Optimum Nutrition Micronised Creatine Powder, Creatine Monohydrate Powder for Performance, Unflavoured, 186 Servings, 634 g, Packaging May Vary
USN Micronized Creatine Monohydrate Powder 500 g: Improve Your Performance With Unflavoured Creatine, Energy Boosting Pre train and Post Workout Recovery Powder
Creatine Chewable – 3000mg Creatine Monohydrate per Serving – 1+ Months Supply – 180 x Berry Flavour chewable Tablets
Type
Powdered Creatine
Creatine Tablets
Chewable Creatine
£29.99
Price not available
£14.99
Best Powder
Item
Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Powder
Preview
Optimum Nutrition Micronised Creatine Powder, Creatine Monohydrate Powder for Performance, Unflavoured, 186 Servings, 634 g, Packaging May Vary
Type
Powdered Creatine
£29.99
Best Tablets
Item
Creatine Monohydrate Tablets by Opal Fitness
Preview
USN Micronized Creatine Monohydrate Powder 500 g: Improve Your Performance With Unflavoured Creatine, Energy Boosting Pre train and Post Workout Recovery Powder
Type
Creatine Tablets
Price not available
Best Chewable
Item
Creatine Chewable Tablets
Preview
Creatine Chewable – 3000mg Creatine Monohydrate per Serving – 1+ Months Supply – 180 x Berry Flavour chewable Tablets
Type
Chewable Creatine
£14.99

Anyone who is serious about building muscle or making explosive gains in their sports performance has probably heard of creatine. It is one of the most important supplements that you can take for both bulk and strength gains.

Creatine used to have a worrying reputation a few years back, which has been difficult to shake off, but it is now one of the most scientifically tested supplements on the market and has been found to be both safe and effective for enhancing your results in the gym.

So, let’s take a closer look at creatine, what exactly it is, how it can benefit you. We’ll also share our list of the best creatine supplements that you can start taking today and the best way to incorporate creatine into your diet and workout routine.


Creatine and its Benefits

Creatine is a substance that is found naturally in the cells of your muscles. It helps your muscles to produce the energy that they need while lifting heavy objects or completing explosive movements as part of high-intensity exercise.

Chemically, it shares many properties with amino acids, and your body can produce creatine from the amino acids glycine and arginine.

You can also get creatine from animal proteins, but you would have to eat an awful lot of it to get enough to see the benefits.

About 95% of the creatine in your body exists in your muscles in a form called phosphocreatine. The other 5% can be found in the brain, kidneys, and liver.

When you have creatine in your muscles, your body uses it to produce Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which the body uses to power your muscles during intense exercise. If you have a good amount of creatine in your body during this kind of exercise, you will see benefits including:

  • Boosted workload – you should be able to lift a little bit heavier or continue for a little longer.
  • Improved cell signaling – which aids in muscle repair and growth.
  • Raised anabolic hormones – which stimulate protein synthesis and muscle growth.
  • Increased cell hydration – which again aids with muscle growth.
  • Reduced protein breakdown – which can help prevent muscle loss.
  • Lower myostatin levels – high myostatin levels can prevent muscle growth.

As creatine also exists in the brain, it is also linked with a number of neurological benefits. In particular, it may assist with conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Ischemic stroke, Epilepsy, brain or spinal cord injuries, motor neuron disease, and memory and brain function in order adults.

You can find our review of the pest protein powders here.


Best Creatine Supplements

Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Powder

Optimum Nutrition Micronised Creatine Powder, Creatine Monohydrate Powder for Performance, Unflavoured, 186 Servings, 634 g, Packaging May Vary

This powder is simple containing just pure creatine monohydrate powder. It is micronized to ensure that it mixes easily with liquids, and is unflavoured, so you can add it to any drink that you like.

One of their recommended 3.4-gram scoops delivers 3 grams of creatine, which can be taken before or after your workout. Unless you are in the loading phase, you probably only need one of these servings per day to maximize your performance.

Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Powder
3,963 Reviews
Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Powder

  • Powdered
  • Creatine Monohydrate
  • Micronized
  • Unflavoured
  • £2.67 per 100 grams


Creatine Monohydrate Tablets by Opal Fitness

USN Micronized Creatine Monohydrate Powder 500 g: Improve Your Performance With Unflavoured Creatine, Energy Boosting Pre train and Post Workout Recovery Powder

If you just can’t stand supplement shakes and you prefer to take you creatine in tablet form, then this option from Opal Fitness offers both quality and value for money.

These are easy-to-swallow tablets, which is a very good thing since you will want to take five tablets one or two times per day.

Creatine Monohydrate Tablets by Opal Fitness
597 Reviews
Creatine Monohydrate Tablets by Opal Fitness

  • Tablets
  • Creatine Monohydrate
  • GMO Free
  • Vegan Friendly
  • £0.04 per tablet


Creatine Chewable Tablets

Creatine Chewable – 3000mg Creatine Monohydrate per Serving – 1+ Months Supply – 180 x Berry Flavour chewable Tablets

Another way to take your creatine is in the form of these tasty chewable tablets in berry flavour. Munch on six 500mg fruit chews per day in order to get your recommended daily dose of 3,000mg.

All the ingredients in these chews are sourced from UK-regulated suppliers, so you can be sure that you are getting the best possible quality. Nothing artificial included.

Creatine Chewable Tablets
79 Reviews
Creatine Chewable Tablets

  • Chewable Tablet
  • Creatine Monohydrate
  • Berry flavour
  • No artificial additives
  • £0.08 per tablet


USN Micronized Creatine Monohydrate Powder

USN Micronized Creatine Monohydrate Powder 500 g: Improve Your Performance With Unflavoured Creatine, Energy Boosting Pre train and Post Workout Recovery Powder

This is another great micronized powder that mixes better with water for a better texture and better absorption. Take your recommended 3-5 gram does shortly before your workout and expect it to be working when you need it.

The product is made specifically from bioavailable creatine for the most natural dietary boost. USN is also one of the most trusted brands on the supplement market.

USN Micronized Creatine Monohydrate Powder
597 Reviews
USN Micronized Creatine Monohydrate Powder

  • Powdered
  • Creatine Monohydrate
  • Micronized
  • Unflavoured
  • £2.58 per 100 grams


USN Creatine Anabolic All-In-One Amino Acid Muscle Building Stack

USN Creatine Anabolic all in One Creatine Amino Muscle Building Stack, Orange, 900g

If you are looking for something that combines both creatine and BCAAs in one power, then this all-in-one muscle building stack might appeal. It includes 3,000mg of creatine monohydrate, 5,000mg of BCAAs, and both magnesium and zinc citrate.

Choose from orange and cherry flavours, and take one dose per day, preferably pre-workout.

USN Creatine Anabolic All-In-One Amino Acid Muscle Building Stack
56 Reviews
USN Creatine Anabolic All-In-One Amino Acid Muscle Building Stack

  • Powdered
  • Creatine Monohydrate
  • BCAAs
  • Flavoured
  • £2.33 per 100 grams


Foodspring Creatine Powder

foodspring Creatine Powder, 150g, 100% Pure Premium Quality Creatine Monohydrate, Booster for Muscle Building

Foodspring makes an extremely clean creatine monohydrate powder made from pure raw materials from Germany. It is designed to be highly soluble, so you can mix it with water or fruit juice without any unpleasant clumping.

The recommended daily dose from this company is relatively high at 5 grams, which they recommend you take pre-workout for the best possible results.

Foodspring Creatine Powder
717 Reviews
Foodspring Creatine Powder

Foodspring makes an extremely clean creatine monohydrate powder made from pure raw materials from Germany. It is designed to be highly soluble, so you can mix it with water or fruit juice without any unpleasant clumping.

The recommended daily dose from this company is relatively high at 5 grams, which they recommend you take pre-workout for the best possible results.


Grenade Essentials Creatine

Grenade Essentials Creatine 500g (100 servings)

Grenade has made a name for itself for making good quality, high-strength supplements, and their creatine powder is no different. It is 100 percent pure creatine with nothing unnatural added.

Unflavoured, you can add this to any drink, including shakes that you might be making with some of your other favourite grenade supplements. They recommend a 5-gram serving per day after you have finished your loading period.

Grenade Essentials Creatine
667 Reviews
Grenade Essentials Creatine

  • Powdered
  • Creatine Monohydrate
  • 100% pure
  • Unflavoured
  • £2.59 per 100 grams


Bulk Creatine Monohydrate Powder

Bulk Creatine Monohydrate Powder, Mixed Berry, 500 g, Packaging May Vary

If you want a pure, good quality creatine, but you prefer something flavoured to make it a bit more palatable, then this mixed berry creatine powder from the Bulk brand might appeal.

It is just as pure as unflavoured options on the market, but is quite tasty when mixed with water. Bulk recommends up to two 5 gram servings per day to maximize your workout performance.

Bulk Creatine Monohydrate Powder
453 Reviews
Bulk Creatine Monohydrate Powder

  • Powdered
  • Creatine Monohydrate
  • 99.9% pure
  • Flavoured
  • £1.60 per 100 grams


How to take Creatine?

It is worth noting that you only need a lot of creatine in your system if you are doing heavy weightlifting or explosive exercises. If you are doing endurance training, creatine won’t offer you many benefits.

When you first start taking creatine, many people choose to go through a loading phase to quickly bring the creatine levels in their muscles up to the maximal level. This usually involves taking 20 grams of creatine per day for five to seven days, split into a number of 5-gram servings.

After the loading period, you then only need to take 3-5 grams per day to maintain these levels. There are no benefits to consuming more creatine than this once you have reached optimal levels, or to cycling creatine and letting it drop and rise.

If you choose not to go through a loading phase, then it usually takes 3-4 weeks for your muscles to build up to optimal creatine levels.

Your body can better absorb creatine when it is coupled with carbohydrates. About 40 grams per day is usually sufficient.

It is important to drink plenty of water while taking creatine as it draws water into the muscles and can leave other parts of your body dehydrated.

Creatine is not stable in liquid form, which is why it is best taken as a powder or tablet. Mix powders with water will and drink immediately once it is ready.

Micronized creatine tends to dissolve better in water than standard creatine.

If you are looking to gain bulk, you might also want to check out our review of the best muscle gainers here.


FAQs

What are the negative side effects of creatine?

While some people might tell you that creatine can have a negative impact on the liver and kidneys, studies suggest that there are no negative side effects to creatine for healthy people who take a normal dose. However, anyone with pre-existing liver and kidney problems should consult a doctor before significantly increasing their creatine intake.

If you don’t drink sufficient water, you may feel symptoms of dehydration such as cramps.

What is the best form of creatine to take?

Creatine monohydrate is generally considered the safest and most effective form of the supplement, mostly because it has undergone the most rigorous testing. Other forms of creatine such as ethyl ester, hydrochloride, and magnesium chelate are often sold as “batter alternatives”, but the research is not yet available to justify this.

Where is creatine found naturally?

Creatine is found naturally in animal proteins. There are around 2 grams of creatine in a pound of beef and around 2 grams or creatine in 5 grams of herring. Most people consume only around 1-2 grams of creatine per day, while it is recommended that you consume 3-5 grams per day (after loading) if you want to see performance benefits.

When is the best time to take creatine?

Creatine can be taken pre or post-workout. Pre-workout, it can improve performance, and a post-workout creatine dose can help aid recovery and consequent muscle growth.

Do I need to go through a loading phase?

A loading phase is optional, but it does allow you to see the benefits faster. An intense loading phase of 20grams per day can see you raise your creatine creating to optimal levels in less than a week. If you choose to stick to 3-5 grams per day, you should expect it to take you about a month to raise your creatine levels to the same extent.

Will I lose muscle mass if I stop taking creatine?

While you should not expect significant muscle loss if you decide to stop taking creatine, you may drop some weight in the weeks directly following the change as you will lose water weight from your muscles.


The Verdict

Item
Best Powder
Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Powder
Best Tablets
Creatine Monohydrate Tablets by Opal Fitness
Best Chewable
Creatine Chewable Tablets
Preview
Optimum Nutrition Micronised Creatine Powder, Creatine Monohydrate Powder for Performance, Unflavoured, 186 Servings, 634 g, Packaging May Vary
USN Micronized Creatine Monohydrate Powder 500 g: Improve Your Performance With Unflavoured Creatine, Energy Boosting Pre train and Post Workout Recovery Powder
Creatine Chewable – 3000mg Creatine Monohydrate per Serving – 1+ Months Supply – 180 x Berry Flavour chewable Tablets
Type
Powdered Creatine
Creatine Tablets
Chewable Creatine
£29.99
Price not available
£14.99
Best Powder
Item
Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Powder
Preview
Optimum Nutrition Micronised Creatine Powder, Creatine Monohydrate Powder for Performance, Unflavoured, 186 Servings, 634 g, Packaging May Vary
Type
Powdered Creatine
£29.99
Best Tablets
Item
Creatine Monohydrate Tablets by Opal Fitness
Preview
USN Micronized Creatine Monohydrate Powder 500 g: Improve Your Performance With Unflavoured Creatine, Energy Boosting Pre train and Post Workout Recovery Powder
Type
Creatine Tablets
Price not available
Best Chewable
Item
Creatine Chewable Tablets
Preview
Creatine Chewable – 3000mg Creatine Monohydrate per Serving – 1+ Months Supply – 180 x Berry Flavour chewable Tablets
Type
Chewable Creatine
£14.99

It may seem like creatine is just one more ingredient in the cocktail or supplements that you “should” be taking to achieve your best performance and best body. But creatine is one of the most important supplements that you can take if you are looking for significant muscle gains, or if you are looking to excel at an explosive sport.

Creatine is essential for allowing your muscles to produce ATP, which is what gives them the force that they need to push a little bit harder and let you get in that extra rep or box jump. This tears your muscle that little more which, with proper healing, gives you those strength gains that you are looking for.

Just 2-5 grams of creatine added to your supplement mix might be the ingredient you are looking for smash your next goal.

References:

Last update on 2021-11-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the author 

Jess

Jess is the yoga and fitness editor here at The Fit Brit. She is a qualified yoga teacher and semi-professional capoeirista, and currently lives in Brazil.


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