Which creatine powder is best?
There are many supplements people take to help them get the most out of their workouts, but few are so popular as creatine. This amino acid helps you build lean muscle mass, can give you more endurance when in the gym and may potentially increase strength.
Creatine comes in several types and both flavored and unflavored varieties. While many supplements only contain one type of creatine, some, such as Beast Sports Nutrition — Creature Creatine Complex, include multiple types so you ensure you get the benefits of them all.
What to know before you buy a creatine powder
Benefits of taking creatine powder
Creatine is one of the most commonly used supplements among bodybuilders and gym-goers. Simply put, creatine is a substance your body produces naturally that helps aid in the production of adenosine triphosphate or ATP. Your body then uses that ATP to transport and provide energy to your muscles.
Since your body quickly breaks down its natural store of ATP when exercising, supplementing your body with extra creatine, which results in more ATP, can improve your overall athletic performance by increasing your overall endurance, speed and muscle strength. The result is the ability to build more lean muscle mass when exercising and faster muscle repair between workouts.
How to take creatine powder
It is generally recommended for people first starting on a creatine supplement regime to begin with a loading phase. During this time, you’ll consume larger doses of it than you will once you get to the maintenance phase so you can saturate your muscles with it and begin to see the results quicker.
You can determine the proper amount of creatine to take daily during the loading phase by multiplying your weight in kilograms by 0.3. For example, someone who weighs 85 kilograms, or 187 pounds, should take roughly 25 grams of creatine a day during the loading phase. You should split this up into four doses. Once you get to the maintenance phase, you can lower this to 3 grams per day for women and 5 grams for men.
It is shown that creatine can enter your muscle cells quicker during insulin spikes, so it is best to take your creatine with a large glass of juice. Ideally, you should take a dose immediately before and immediately following a workout for maximum efficacy. It is also important to drink plenty of water every day when on a creatine supplement regime, as it pulls a lot of water into the muscles and you don’t want to get dehydrated.
Common types of creatine powder
Creatine monohydrate, buffered creatine, creatine magnesium chelate and creatine hydrochloride are the most common types of creatine. Of these, creatine monohydrate is the most widely studied and generally considered the best choice for most people.
- Buffered creatine is mixed with baking soda to buffer it against stomach acid. However, this is unnecessary.
- Creatine monohydrate is naturally resistant to stomach acid already, so you’ll essentially be spending money unnecessarily for a higher-priced powder.
- Creatine magnesium chelate is chemically bonded with magnesium, which is said to make it easier for your body to absorb.
- Similarly, creatine hydrochloride is chemically bonded with hydrochloride for the same purpose. It should be noted though, that there is little scientific evidence to support these claims.
There are also mixed products available that contain two or more of the various creatine types. These can be good since they ensure you’ll get any potential benefits each of these creatine types purportedly offer.
Features to look for in a quality creatine powder
Micronized creatine is ground into a finer powder than nonmicronized kinds. While it doesn’t work any better or get absorbed more easily by the body than the nonmicronized kind, many people will appreciate that it dissolves more readily in liquids with less chance of clumping.
Creatine comes in flavored and unflavored varieties. If you plan on mixing it with juice or a protein powder for your before or after workout shakes, an unflavored option is usually best. Conversely, if mixing it with plain water, you may appreciate the added flavor.
Some creatine powders contain optimizer ingredients that are said to help your body absorb or use the creatine more readily. These include things like cinnamon bark extract, banaba leaf extract, biotin, branch-chain amino acids, chromium picolinate and alpha-lipoic acid, among others. Once again, the science behind these claims is questionable. However, there is no question that these ingredients are beneficial for the body.
How much can you expect to spend on a creatine powder
Most creatine powders cost between $15-$30 per pound.
Creatine powder FAQ
Are there any side effects from taking creatine?
A. The majority of people taking creatine don’t experience any side effects. If they do, it is usually during the loading phase, and it can cause bloating and other gastrointestinal issues. There are some claims that it can potentially cause dehydration or kidney and liver problems, but these are currently unproven.
Is creatine suitable for men and women?
A. Creatine is a suitable supplement for both men and women. Gym goers will see the most and the quickest results from taking it, but it can be beneficial for almost anyone.
What is the best creatine powder to buy?
Top creatine powder
What you need to know: With five types of creatine, this powder is ideal for those looking to ensure they get the most possible benefit from their supplements.
What you’ll love: It’s available in flavored and unflavored options, as well as capsules for those looking for an on-the-go option.
What you should consider: It’s higher priced than most others.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top creatine powder for the money
What you need to know: A bargain buy for those who know they’ll be taking creatine for the long-term, Muscletech’s creatine monohydrate powder comes in a big 6-pound jar and costs less than $50.
What you’ll love: It contains added branch-chain amino acids and alpha-lipoic acid. It also provides a high dose of vitamin B6 in every serving.
What you should consider: The powder doesn’t always fully dissolve in liquids.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: More than just creatine, this supplement also contains caffeine to boost your energy for your workout and several important amino acids.
What you’ll love: The combination of creatine and caffeine does a good job of increasing endurance and motivation when at the gym.
What you should consider: Some users complain of it making them itchy or causing some flushing for a short time after taking it.
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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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