There’s a lot of talk about creatine being crucial for maximizing muscle growth in workouts, and that might leave you wondering what it actually is. The creatine molecule is one of the amino acids that your body needs to function. This organic compound we one we mainly find in our muscles, and it’s one our bodies make naturally in our liver and kidneys (around a gram of creatine each day). Most of us get the rest of ours through foods such as milk, seafood and red meat, though many of us give ourselves a boost with supplements such as creatine capsules and powders.
Creatine supplements are favored by athletes and bodybuilders, thanks to their ability to improve physical performance. You may be looking to boost your workout and are considering adding a creatine supplement to your health regimen. The good news is that most creatine supplements are easy to get your hands on and they’re some of the most scientifically researched supplements you can get.
Still, not just any creatine supplement will do for your workout. Creatine supplements can vary in creatine type, form and price. We curated a list of the best creatine supplements so you can find your ideal match.
Best creatine supplements of 2023
How we chose the best creatine supplements
The FDA does not enforce strict regulations for products in the supplement industry. To compensate for this, we rely on third-party certifications to ensure the product has what it says it does. These certifications are a way to vouch for the product’s quality, purity and safety.
We did not test these creatine supplements in-house. Instead, we relied on an assessment of the ingredients, customer reviews and pricing.
Things to consider when choosing the best creatine supplements
Like the rest of the supplement market, there are many creatine products out there. All of which vary by price, form and effectiveness. Not all creatine products are created equal, so there are things you should keep in mind when shopping so you find the ultimate creatine supplement for you.
- Form: Creatine supplements can come in various forms, the most popular being powder, capsules and chews. Powders are the most common for athletes but aren’t the most on-the-go friendly option. Capsules and chews are often more favored in that case. Additionally, powders typically have a lower serving size. Some creatine capsule supplements have a serving size of as high as seven capsules at once. Many of the capsules or chews do contain gelatin, which makes them unsuitable for vegans or vegetarians.
- Flavor: The majority of creatine powders on our list are unflavored, as they are typically added to drinks or food. However, if you’re adding it to water, you might want a flavor. Always look through customer reviews to get an idea of the flavor before buying.
- Dosage: Depending on your goals, you may want more or less creatine. If you are trying to build muscle, add more creatine to your diet. Most pure creatine supplements average around 5 grams. Preworkout supplements can also contain creatine, though at a lower dose.
- Price: As with anything, there is a wide range of pricing options for creatine supplements. Higher-concentration supplements typically cost more, but that’s not always the case. Check the ingredients and dosage before a high price tag fools you. It doesn’t always mean quality.
- Certifications: Creatine is a supplement favored by athletes and bodybuilders. If you compete in athletic competitions, all supplements you take must carry sports certifications like NSF for Sport, which ensures the product contains no banned substances.
What are the benefits of creatine?
Creatine is one of the most researched supplements on the market. A wealth of research spanning decades supports the benefits and effectiveness of creatine. Overall, creatine helps you perform better physically — you’re stronger and build both short-term and long-term muscle. However, there are additional benefits associated with creatine that should also be noted.
Benefits of creatine include:
What are the potential side effects of creatine?
Creatine supplements are generally considered safewith no negative side effects on the body. Even for periods up to years, there is no evidence suggesting that taking creatine daily has a detrimental effect on the body.
However, remember that serving sizes are there for a reason. Taking too much creatine can result in stomach discomfort, diarrhea, dizziness or muscle cramps.