Creatine is best known for its performance-enhancing effects. Even though creatine is a natural substance created in the body and it can be ingested through a number of foods, multiple kilograms of these foods would have to be consumed to get these extraordinary effects. The most noteworthy effect high doses of creatine can have on the body is helping provide cells (particularly muscle cells) with energy. Making it an essential supplement for high-intensity athletes. This article will give you all the information you need to reap the benefits of this supplement.
Like with any product we put into our bodies, having the right knowledge, like what is a proper dose, are details of utmost importance to achieve the desired results. Despite creatine is one of the most used and researched components in the world, most people still lack the basic knowledge concerning its supplementation. In this article, we will elaborate on what creatine is, different forms of this supplement and how to incorporate into your routine. Want to know more? Read on!
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The best creatine supplements on the U.S. market
- 2.1 No. 1: Optimum Nutrition — Micronized Creatine Monohydrate Powder (2 kg)
- 2.2 No. 2: BulkSupplements — Creatine Monohydrate Powder Micronized (1 kg)
- 2.3 No. 3: MET-Rx — Creatine 4200 Supplement (240 capsules)
- 2.4 No. 4: MuscleTech — Platinum Creatine Monohydrate Powder (14.1 oz)
- 2.5 No. 5: Naked Nutrition — Pure Creatine Monohydrate (2.2 lb)
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about creatine monohydrate
- 4 How does creatine monohydrate work exactly?
- 4.1 How does creatine monohydrate provide me with more energy?
- 4.2 How can ATP be replenished to prevent decomposition and energy loss?
- 4.3 How should a creatine supplement be taken?
- 4.4 Can creatine have any negative side effects?
- 4.5 Who can take creatine supplements?
- 4.6 Can you stop taking creatine abruptly?
- 4.7 Is creatine monohydrate meant only for athletes?
- 4.8 What are the advantages and disadvantages of consuming creatine supplements?
- 5 Shopping Criteria
- 6 Summary
- Creatine is a combination of amino acids produced by the liver, kidney, and pancreas — it is also naturally found in muscle and in red meat and fish, though at far lower levels than in supplements.
- Creatine reduces fatigue by transporting extra energy into your cells all over the body, allowing a noticeable increase in endurance. This can reaction can also work to reduce recovery time after intense training.
- Creatine supplements are best suited for athletes looking to improve their stamina and increase their endurance. Creatine is also known to increase muscle mass and improve strength.
Ranking: The best creatine supplements on the U.S. market
In North America today there is a plethora of creatine supplements with endless presentations and formulations. To help you sort through the options, in this section, we present you with the 5 best creatine products available in North America. These products have been chosen to offer you the best options and variety.
No. 1: Optimum Nutrition — Micronized Creatine Monohydrate Powder (2 kg)
This super-powered creatine formula contains the highest quality form of creatine monohydrates available. Creatine is an all-natural and safe compound that will support you in your fitness journey. In each serving, there are 5 grams of creatine monohydrate that supports an increase in energy, endurance, and recovery. This micronized powder has maximum potency that, if taken before, during or after your workout, will effectively increase muscle size, strength, and power.
With 380 servings per container, this powder will provide you with weeks of muscle support and enhancement at a great value. It easily mixes into water, smoothies and other beverages and has a high level of absorbency so you can get the most out of each dose. It’s unflavoured, allowing you to mix it into your favorite drink without worrying about any unnatural taste. User has reported noticeable increases in muscle mass as well as endurance.
No. 2: BulkSupplements — Creatine Monohydrate Powder Micronized (1 kg)
BulkSupplements has created an effective, pure creatine supplement that will support your muscular endurance and help you push out more reps at the gym. This is the perfect pre and post bodybuilding or strength training workout. The advanced creatine powder formula will fuel your muscles during high-intensity exercise and will help you reach your fitness goals faster than before.
Micronized creatine monohydrate is essential in the process of sending energy directly to the muscles and has been shown to help increase overall muscle mass and boost strength and speed, making it extremely helpful for sports like boxing, bodybuilding or powerlifting. The creatine supplement by BulkSupplements provides you with the highest performance formula at a jaw-dropping price. It’s been lab-tested, verified and 99.9% purity guaranteed. It is vegan-friendly, contains no dairy products or other artificial and unnecessary additives, sugar, yeast and is gluten-free.
No. 3: MET-Rx — Creatine 4200 Supplement (240 capsules)
Support your training with MET-Rx’s creatine supplement capsules. It’s a high-quality supplement that has been shown to work with your training routine to provide you with the best and most noticeable results. It has the ability to accelerate your power during your workout and assist in your muscle recovery after. Creatine enhances the body’s ability to produce higher muscular force, meaning increased reps, endurance, and overall strength during lifting.
MET-Rx products have been specifically formulated with a precise nutrient profile to produce specific metabolic effects. This holds true to their Creatine 42000 supplement capsules which, combined with protein shakes or bars, can superpower your workout and recovery. MET-Rx focuses on the power of proteins and other nutrients for workout enhancement. This exercise blend focuses on muscle recovery and provides important amino acids to fuel the muscles. Each purchase comes with 240 rapid release capsules.
No. 4: MuscleTech — Platinum Creatine Monohydrate Powder (14.1 oz)
With MuscleTech and their Platinum Creatine Monohydrate formula, you can build more muscle size and strength than before. You’ll be able to rest less between sets, get more power out of each set, get more reps from each set and thus, stimulate more muscle fibers during each set. Research suggests that with creatine, your muscles can increase their levels of intracellular fluid resulting in bigger and fuller muscles.
This unflavoured creatine powder mixes easily into water, protein shakes or smoothies to enhance your nutrient supplementation. There are no fillers, no added sugars; a 100% pure creatine powder formula. Each serving delivers 5 grams of premium HPLC tested micronized creatine monohydrate. In a clinical study, test subjects increased their bench press strength by an amazing 18% in just 10 days. This product over the decades has undergone more studies than any other supplement. It is safe, effective and approved by virtually all sports associations.
No. 5: Naked Nutrition — Pure Creatine Monohydrate (2.2 lb)
This bulk package of all-natural creatine monohydrate will provide you with all your workout supplemental needs at a great value. Naked Nutrition offers high-quality supplementation, ensuring a 1 ingredient product for a more pure product. Unlike other brands, Naked Creatine dissolves quickly and completely in water or the juice of your choice. It comes with a scoop that serves you 1 full serving size of 5 grams of creatine, with 200 servings in the entire container.
The 100% pure micronized creatine monohydrate is the highest grade creatine available on the market. Because of its pure state, it allows for rapid absorption which enhances muscular gains, strength and increases one’s training capacity. There are no artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors or other additives. It is certified gluten-free and vegan-friendly, making it a supplement that anyone and everyone can incorporate into their fitness routine.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about creatine monohydrate
Even if you’re not a weightlifter, you’ve undoubtedly heard of creatine, one of the most researched supplements in history. However, do you have all of the relevant knowledge to make the most informed decision at the time of purchase? In this section, we give you a crash course on creatine, we will also take the opportunity to address the most frequently asked questions among users.
What is creatine exactly?
Creatine is a natural substance that is generated in the liver from three amino acids: arginine, glycine, and methionine. It is carried through the blood to the muscle fibers. Afterward, it is stored until it’s ready to be used. When extra energy is needed to carry out intense physical exertion, creatine is released in the form of surplus energy.
Creatine can have great benefits for athletes, nonetheless, it is very difficult for the body to make the high amounts athletes would need to notice a difference. Even consuming lots of foods that are high in creatine, you would need to eat a few times your weight to get the necessary amounts to enhance physical performance.
Taking a supplement of creatine monohydrate will allow you to intensify your athletic performance. Meaning, if you have more creatine phosphate — which you do if you take a creatine supplement — you can work out longer and do sets of, say, eight reps instead of six. Over weeks and months, that added workload allows you to add lean muscle mass, lift heavier weights, and become stronger.
Is a pure creatine monohydrate the best option?
In North America today, you can find a very large selection of creatine supplements and blends. However, it seems most athletes prefer pure creatine monohydrate products. Why? Don’t worry, we’ll elaborate on this in the coming sections. First, let’s take a look at the history of creatine supplements.
When did people start to use creatine as a sports supplement?
Creatine, derived from the Greek word for flesh, (kreas), was first discovered in 1832 when Michel Eugene Chevreul extracted the compound from meat. Its anabolic effects would be confirmed in humans in the early 20th century when it was found that supplementation increased creatine content in muscles.
Even though it started being used by athletes in the 1990s, it quickly became very popular with the general public as well. It was the perfect time for this product to gain traction, as there were no healthy alternatives to increased energy in the U.S. market. During this time some athletes were risking their careers, and their health, using illegal substances, which also had various negative side effects.
Creatine monohydrate became a great option for professional athletes to develop their muscles without jeopardizing their professional career. Today, the use of creatine monohydrate is accepted for all types of professional and amateur athletes.
How does creatine monohydrate work exactly?
Scientific evidence has shown that creatine monohydrate supplements actually facilitate the storage and sustained high reserves of this substance in the muscles. Which comes particularly handy at the time of having to perform anaerobic, high-intensity exercise. Keep in mind that the types of exercises that benefit from the use of creatine are short and strength-based, think of weight lifting or short sprints.
How does creatine monohydrate provide me with more energy?
First, you should know that adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, is the compound your body uses for energy and it is a molecule that is part of all living organisms. For a muscle to contract, it breaks off a phosphate molecule from ATP. As a result, ATP becomes ADP (adenosine diphosphate). The problem: You can’t use ADP for energy, and your body only has so much stored ATP.
The fix: ADP takes a phosphate molecule from your body’s stores of creatine phosphate, forming more ATP and increasing your energy reservoir, which is then stored to be used at the time of physical and cardiovascular exertion. For these reasons, taking creatine supplements can allow you to exercise with more intensity, making it a great supplement for any training routine.
How can ATP be replenished to prevent decomposition and energy loss?
If an adenosine triphosphate molecule loses a phosphate molecule, it decomposes into ADP. When this happens, energy is released to strengthen and support cellular structure while exercising. As soon as ATP reserves are depleted, the athlete will notice a considerable decline in energy and thus in their performance.
Creatine phosphate serves to replenish and support ATP molecules, which in turn give the athlete the energy they need to carry out their workout.
How should a creatine supplement be taken?
In the table below, you will find the general recommended a dose of creatine monohydrate according to the results you want to achieve. The method of ingestion is divided into three different phases. The first, the loading phase, it lasts a week – this is an alternative method for those who seek to grow muscle mass quickly. Next is the maintenance phase, which can also be where you start off, this method offers guaranteed and lasting results. The third and last step is the recycling phase.
Check out the information below to learn when is the best time of day to take creatine in order to achieve specific results. Moreover, the quantities in this table are merely a suggestion. Many experts would advise following the personalized dosage, which would be: 0.1 grams of supplement – per kilo of body weight – per day during the maintenance phase. This amount will give you the total you should ingest in a day, spread out in the times listed ahead.
|Loading phase||Maintenance phase||Recycling phase|
|5-7 days||3-4 weeks||2 weeks|
|4 daily doses||3 daily doses||—–|
|5-gram dose||3-gram dose||—–|
|Breakfast, before and after training, before sleeping||Before and after training, before sleeping||—–|
Can creatine have any negative side effects?
Usually, taking creatine monohydrate supplements is for safety for the most part. Side effects are rare, and if they do occur, is usually during the loading phase. This phase is pretty extreme and the body may need some time to get used to it. The most common negative side effects are connected to the digestive system and may include stomach pain, cramping, diarrhea, or intestinal cramps.
Aside from these possible complications, the use of creatine supplements is not harmful to our health. It should go without saying that it is always crucial to follow all recommendations regarding its use and dosage. When in doubt, seeking professional guidance is always a great idea, this way, your intake will be supervised, controlled and your progress monitored at all times.
Who can take creatine supplements?
For the most part creatine supplements are safe for both healthy men and women. If you have any chronic diseases or take medication, you should, of course, consult your doctor before supplementing with creatine.
Can you stop taking creatine abruptly?
Remember that creatine is created in our bodies, so even if you stop taking creatine all of a sudden, your body will continue to produce it. Nonetheless, keep in mind that this amount of creatine won’t allow you to experience the same energizing effects you noticed with supplementation.
When you stop supplementing creatine, you may notice decreased endurance and slower recovery times. The most noticeable sign of having depleted creatine levels is losing the ability to perform explosive exercises – a benefit associated with the use of creatine supplements.
Is creatine monohydrate meant only for athletes?
You would be surprised to know that even though it’s use is associated with athletes who take it to improve performance or increase muscle mass, creatine actually has other applications and uses in the body. These uses are related to the proper functioning of the brain and cognitive development. Furthermore, it has also been known to help treat depression and other chronic diseases like diabetes. Keep in mind that in these cases, the use of creatine should always occur under strict medical supervision.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of consuming creatine supplements?
This next table summarizes the pros and cons of using a creatine supplement.
Like with any other supplement, when choosing a creatine product, there is a set of criteria you should consider in order to find the best possible product. Next we give you an overview of the aspects you should consider before making your final purchase.
- Availability and delivery
It is understandable that you may want to save some money when purchasing any type of product. However, when it comes to things you will put in and on your body, you should consider cost after you have found quality products. Keep in mind that choosing a poor quality supplement could end up costing you much more in the long run.
Make sure your supplement is easy to take. Most creatine supplements in the United States come in the form of powder, this means you can mix them with water, juices or protein shakes. Moreover, you can also find creatine supplements in capsule format. If you travel or are constantly on the go, this may be the more practical option.
Availability and delivery
If you plan to make supplementing creatine part of your fitness routine, you should choose a reliable provider that guarantees you will always be able to get your product in a timely manner. Keep in mind whether the products you buy are made in the states or manufactured abroad, in the later case delivery times and customs fees should be taken into consideration.
This is pretty self-explanatory, if you suffer from allergies, you probably already know the importance of checking that the product you choose is free of any possible compromising ingredients. Keep in mind that some creatine products may contain traces of certain foods. Regardless of your intolerances, if you do your research you can find a product that will work with your biology. These days you can even find products that are gluten and lactose-free!
This is important for anything you want to put in or on your body. Always make sure to check that the creatine supplement you buy is 100% pure, it shouldn’t contain any kind of additives or chemicals. It makes sense that you are much more likely to obtain your desired results if you choose a high-quality product made with certified quality ingredients.
As you may have gathered from all the information in this guide, supplementing with creatine monohydrate can help you increase your muscle mass, endurance, and overall athletic performance. Endless research has proven that high reserves of creatine in the body can help you exert more strength while at the same time experiencing shorter recovery periods. Keep in mind that if you use this supplement correctly you can truly achieve remarkable results.
Even though creatine offers numerous benefits and it has been used for decades to help improve the performance of all types of athletes, it is important to always take the right dosage for your goals and body type. We suggest tracking your results to better measure any timing and dosage adjustments that may need to be made. If you want to get the most out of creatine monohydrate, always seek professional advice and opt for quality products with good reviewers and a proven track record.
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(Source of featured image: Trojanowski: 88972458/123rf.com)