If you’ve ever been in the gym or on the field as an athlete, you’ve likely heard others talking about creatine supplementation. Creatine is a chemical that is made naturally in our bodies from amino acids and is involved in converting food into energy. It is also found in dietary sources, such as meat, fish, and poultry. This supplement is somewhat controversial and is used by some athletes because it is believed to improve performance.
Why Do Athletes Use Creatine?
Creatine is one of the most popular fitness supplements on the market because it is believed that it can improve athletic performance. However, the truth is, the evidence is inconclusive. The potential benefits associated with creatine depend on several factors including fitness level, athletic activity, age, and diet. There is some proof that it may help in physical activities that require sudden bursts of energy. There is also some indication that it may increase muscle mass.
However, the research on how creatine affects stamina and performance during aerobic activities is mixed. Some show positive effects, others show no effect at all. There is some indication that older people may not experience these effects and, since it does cause water retention, it may slow down some athletes.
There has also been some research on using creatine as a treatment for a variety of health conditions, such as: Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy, and congestive heart failure- but more research is needed.
There has also been some research into how creatine affects Lou Gehrig’s disease and Huntington’s disease, as well as how it supports bone health. However, results from this research have been inconclusive or conflicting.
How Much Creatine Do You Need?
At this time, creatine is not a proven treatment, so there is no established dose. For the research studies, there has been a variety of dosages used. When it comes to athletic performance, many people start with 10 to 20 grams per day, taken in 5-gram increments throughout the day, and then a maintenance dose of 3 to 5 grams.
It is also important to note that creatine is found naturally in some foods, including seafood, red meat, and poultry.
uch higher. Absorption is better with this type of creatine. The two most common brands on the market are Crea-Trona and Kre-Alkalyn.
9 Best Creatine for Athletes
Now that we’ve explained more about creatine and the different types of creatine on the market, we’re going to review what we feel are the 9 best creatine supplements for athletes. These supplements are guaranteed for quality, potency, and purity, as they have all been third-party tested.
The first one we will look at is XWERKS Lift. It is micronized creatine monohydrate, is 100% pure, and is unflavored. It is one of the best on the market and is safe for everyone since it contains no dairy, sugar, or gluten.
Each container of XWERKS Lift contains 80 servings, each offering 5 grams of creatine. It is important to note that it takes about 2 to 4 weeks to see results. Since it’s unflavored, you can combine it with your favorite workout beverage without affecting the flavor. You can also use water if you prefer. For best results, the manufacturer suggests you use other XWERKS products as well.
One package is $49. However, XWERKS does offer a subscription program that saves 5%, bringing the cost per package to $46.55.
|Price & Servings||$49 for 80 servings|
|Recommended Dosage||1 scoop daily|
Cellucor Cor-Performance Creatine Monohydrate
Cellucor is a widely recognized name in the fitness industry. They have been around for decades. This is an unflavored micronized creatine monohydrate. The best part is, it is water soluble. Cor-Performance contains the following ingredients:
- Creatine monohydrate
- Disodium phosphate
- Betaine anhydrous
Each serving offers 5 grams of creatine. According to the manufacturer, if you want to do a loading phase, start out with 1 scoop 4 times daily for the first week. After that, creatine levels will be at their peak, so you just need to maintain them with 1 scoop daily before, after, or during your workout.
While bloating and/or gas is common with other brands, it’s not with Cor-Performance, so it’s an ideal choice for your HIIT sessions.
Each container of Cellucor Cor-Performance contains 72 grams. It costs $24.99. Cellucor also has a subscription program that saves you 20% per container, meaning you’ll pay $17.49 each.
|Price & Servings||$24.99, for 72 servings|
|Ingredients||Creatine monohydrate, Betaine anhydrous, Disodium phosphate|
|Recommended Dosage||4 scoops daily for the first week, then 1 scoop daily to maintain|
CrazyNutrition CRN-5 Creatine
CrazyNutrition CRN-5 is ideal for athletes who engage in intense workout sessions and/or heavy lifting. It contains not just one, but five types of creatine and comes in a mango & orange flavor. In addition, it contains electrolytes to keep you hydrated.
CRN-5 is formulated to give you the energy and strength you need to push past your limits. You’ll have energy you never thought possible. Fatigue is significantly reduced, and you’ll have what you need to easily power through your HIIT sessions.
CRN-5 contains the following ingredients:
- Creatine ethyl ester
- Creatine monohydrate
- Tri-creatine malate
- Creatine HCl
- Creatine citrate pyruvate
According to CrazyNutrition, you will see results within 30 days. Each container of CRN-5 offers 30 servings and costs $34.99. Their subscription program drops the price to $27.99 per container. You choose how often you want to have it delivered.
|Price & Servings||$34.99 for 30 servings|
|Ingredients||Creatine ethyl ester, Creatine HCl, Creatine monohydrate, Tri-creatine malate, Creatine citrate pyruvate, magnesium, potassium, sodium|
|Recommended Dosage||1 scoop daily|
Beast Sports Creature Creatine
Beast Sports is another fitness supplement company that has been around for some time. In the industry for 25+ years, they are known for their high-quality fitness products and their commitment to build and preserve muscle. Creature creatine is designed to improve athletic performance and increase muscle mass, allowing you to push past your limits without being concerned about fatigue.
Beast Sports offers their Creature Creatine in powder and capsules. Most brands recommend 1 scoop per serving, but this formula calls for 2 scoops. For best results, you should take 1 serving before working out and 1 serving after. If you prefer capsules, you will take 6 capsules per day: 3 before working out and 3 after.
The powdered version comes in a few unique flavors:
- Cherry Limeade
- Beast Punch
- Pink Lemonade
Creature Creatine contains the following ingredients:
- Buffered creatine
- Creatine gluconate
- Creatine anhydrous
- Creatine monohydrate
- Di-creatine malate
The capsule version costs $32.99 for 60 servings, which will last 30 days if taken as directed. The powdered version offers 60 servings for $31.99.
|Product Type||Powder and capsule|
|Price & Servings||$31.99 for 60 servings (powder)
$32.99 for 60 servings (capsule)
|Ingredients||Buffered creatine, Creatine gluconate, Creatine anhydrous, Creatine monohydrate, Di-creatine malate, Chromium, Biotin|
|Recommended Dosage||2 servings per day, prior to and following workout|
Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Powder
Optimum Nutrition is one of the most trusted brands in the industry. They have been around for 30+ years and all of their products are guaranteed to be third-party tested for quality, potency, and purity.
Their creatine formula supports muscle growth/strength and contains zero calories and zero carbs. It is unflavored, so you can add it to whatever you want to see results. It comes in several sizes:
- 30 servings
- 240 servings
- 400 servings
This is one of the best options for creatine supplementation, especially for muscle recovery.
|Price & Servings||$10.99 for 30 servings, $44.99 for 240 servings, $64.99 for 400 servings|
|Ingredients||Micronized creatine monohydrate|
|Recommended Dosage||1 serving daily|
Onnit Creatine Monohydrate
Onnit Creatine Monohydrate contains only 1 ingredient: creatine monohydrate. It is vegan-friendly, dairy-free, and soy-free. The recommended dosage is 2 scoops, and it can be added to water or to the beverage of your choice.
Athletes, bodybuilders, wrestlers, and sprinters choose this creatine supplement because it improves athletic performance and increases strength and endurance. The amino acids in Onnit Creatine Monohydrate increase muscle mass and repair damaged muscle cells.
Onnit Creatine Monohydrate is Certified for Sport by NSF, meaning it is safe for regular use and is free from forbidden substances.
Each container offers 30 servings for $14.99, which is very budget-friendly. The best part is, their subscription program drops the cost to $12.74, which is a 15% savings.
|Price & Servings||$14.99 for 30 servings|
|Recommended Dosage||1 serving daily|
NSP Nutrition Muscle Power Creatine
NSP Nutrition is the oldest company on our list. They have been around for nearly 50 years. According to their customer reviews, their creatine supplement, Muscle Power Creatine, goes above and beyond expectations. It keeps them refreshed and full of energy during workout sessions. Many of them claim that it improved their overall athletic performance.
Muscle Power Creatine is 100% creatine monohydrate. There are zero fillers or additives. It is unflavored, so you can add it to the beverage of your choice.
Each container of Muscle Power Creatine offers 60 servings and costs $27.99. They do not have a subscription program, but they do offer savings when you buy in bulk. Their best offer is 6 containers, which drops the price to $24.79 each.
|Price & Servings||$27.99 for 60 servings|
|Recommended Dosage||1 serving daily|
Elm & Rye Creatine
Elm & Rye’s creatine is simply known as “Creatine”. It is available in capsule form. Each bottle contains 60 capsules, and each one contains 1400 milligrams, which is much less than you’d find in most of the other products.
It also contains vegetable magnesium stearate, which improves consistency and prevents the ingredients from sticking together. This supplement has been third party tested and they published their results. This company strives to be completely transparent regarding the quality of their products.
Creatine, by Elm & Rye is made with creatine monohydrate and it’s full of the essential amino acids. According to the company, recommended dosage is 2 capsules per serving. Each container offers 30 servings and costs $44.99. They do offer a subscription program that saves you 20%, bringing the price per bottle to $35.99.
|Price & Servings||$44.99 for 30 servings|
|Recommended Dosage||1 serving daily|
Performance Lab Maintain
Experts recommend that you take a day off from your training every now and then, but you don’t have to take a day off from your supplement. Performance Lab Sport Maintain is a great option for your off days. It supports your growing muscles by replenishing them with nutrients.
Even after completing a workout, your muscles are still activated and Sport Maintain extends that anabolic activity for up to 12 hours. This supplement is made with creatine monohydrate and is free of allergens.
The ingredients in Performance Lab Sport Maintain include:
- Creatine monohydrate
- Carno-Syn beta-alanine
Performance Lab recommends that you take 6 to 10 capsules daily. On your rest days, 6 will be enough. take 3 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon. You can purchase this supplement in a 1 month, 2 month, or 3 months supply. Each bottle offers 60 capsules and costs $44. This is a bit more expensive than other options.
|Price & Servings||$44 for up to 10 servings|
|Ingredients||Beta-alanine, Iron, Creapure, Creatine monohydrate|
|Recommended Dosage||6 to 10 capsules daily|
As you can see, there are lots of options when it comes to creatine monohydrate. You will find a variety of price points, flavors, and products. You must decide which one is right for you based on your personal preference.
How We Chose the Best Creatine for Athletes
Now that we’ve explained more about creatine and given you our choices for the best creatine for athletes, we’re going to explain our process for choosing these supplements.
First, we looked at the manufacturers. This is where the customer reviews come in handy because happy customers are the best marketing strategy.
impurities In the fitness industry, testing for is critical, so it’s important to check the labels to ensure that they have been third-party tested and certified for purity, quality, and potency. You want to avoid those that have not. Some of the third-party testing companies include Informed Choice, USP, and NSF International. If seals from these companies are not present, the product has probably not been tested.
As we mentioned earlier, creatine is easily accessible and typically affordable. However, you want to make sure that the one you choose is a high-quality creatine monohydrate that is either 100% pure or combined with other types of creatine for best results. As a general rule, creatine monohydrate is superior, but the other types of creatine also provide some benefits as well.
Additionally, it’s important to pay attention to the labels and make sure that the ingredients and the dosages are clearly listed, as well as instructions on how to take it. Creatine is typically safe for healthy individuals, but if you do have concerns, speak with your medical provider. If you do have health conditions, such as kidney or liver disease, you should not use creatine until you have discussed it with your medical provider.
Next, we considered cost vs. value. As you can tell, there are lots of different price points when it comes to creatine supplements. Many of them are budget-friendly, but there are also some that are a bit more expensive. However, price does not necessarily indicate quality. For the most part, you can spend $10, or you can spend $100+ on your creatine supplement and the effectiveness will be about the same.
The last thing we looked at was advertising practices. There are some brands that make outlandish claims that can’t be verified. Just keep in mind that no matter what you hear people say, creatine will not bring about a miracle. Yes, it has many great benefits, but they won’t happen overnight, and nothing will happen if you don’t put in the effort.
Risks Associated with Creatine
For most people, creatine is safe. That being said, there are a few risks that you should keep in mind:
Creatine has been associated with a few side effects including nausea, diarrhea, water retention, muscle pain, cramping, and high blood pressure. If you already have kidney disease, there is some indication that creatine may cause kidney failure. Dehydration is also a potential side effects, so experts warn that you should be drinking plenty of water when using this supplement.
It is believed that high amounts of carbohydrates may increase creatine effects, while caffeine may decrease the effects of creatine on muscles although evidence is limited on this.
Short term use of creatine doesn’t seem to have any risks for healthy individuals- but long-term risks are not known. People who have liver or kidney disease do not need to be taking creatine. Also, it may not be safe for individuals with diabetes because it may have an effect on blood sugar levels.
Due to the questions about safety, creatine is not recommended for children under the age of 18 or for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Be sure to speak with your medical provider before adding this or any other supplement to your daily routine.
Types of Creatine
When it comes to creatine, you will come across several different types. The one that is most commonly used is creatine monohydrate. However, there are several others that may be used instead or along with creatine monohydrate. We’ll take a look at some of the different types of creatine below:
The most common form of creatine is creatine monohydrate. This is the form that is used in most of the research studies. It is a form of creatine in which 1 creatine molecule is paired with 1 water molecule. It is the best- and typically the least expensive- form of creatine. It is often found the only form of creatine found in fitness supplements, though there are some companies that use it along with one or more other types of creatine.
Creatine Magnesium Chelate
Creatine magnesium chelate is created when a magnesium molecule is attached to a creatine molecule. At this time, there’s not a lot that is known about this type of creatine- but it does show some promise.
Creatine Hydrochloride, also known as creatine HCl, is more water soluble, so you can take a smaller dose for the same effects. It is created by attaching a creatine molecule to a hydrochloride molecule.
Creatine Ethyl Ester
According to experts, creatine ethyl ester, also referred to as CEE, is a more advanced form of creatine. This form of creatine requires smaller doses, and a loading phase is not required.
The pH level of buffered creatine is much higher than other forms, meaning the bioavailability and stability in your stomach is increased.
Creatine has been studied for more than a century and it’s still one of the cheapest, most effective, and safest supplements on the market to enhance athletic performance in both male and female athletes. The best part is, it’s natural and offers a variety of health benefits as well- including controlling blood glucose levels and treating heart and brain conditions. There is some belief that everyone could benefit from creatine supplementation.
There is no doubt that this fitness supplement can enhance your athletic performance as well as your overall health and wellness. If you want to try creatine supplementation, start with one of the 9 best creatine for athletes listed here. You will probably have to experiment to find the one that works best for you. However, you’ll want to give it more than a few doses to know for sure if it’s going to work.
Read: Should You Buy This Creatine Hydrochloride Powder?
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