Best Creatine For Bulking Up Reviewed
Going to the gym to gain strength and muscle mass is exciting and can be actually quite simple if you follow guidelines correctly. It can be fun too, but after a while you might find yourself impatient, waiting to see results. Months can pass before you actually see something if you do not use any supplements, and this is where creatine comes in.
This is one of the most popular supplements out there because it helps gain muscle mass, strength and improves your performance. It is widely available, and it’s a naturally occurring chemical that has additional benefits as well. Creatine is one of the most tested supplements out there, and it is very safe. Dive into our guide and discover what brand works best for your body!
In a Hurry? The test winner after 6 hrs of research
Vegan And Gluten Free
Top 10 Picks
1. BulkSupplements Micronized
Vegan And Gluten Free
Can Cause Rash
This advanced creatine formula is just what your body needs when you perform strength training and bodybuilding as well. Their powder will fuel your muscles during the most high-intensity exercises you can muster! It will also help you reach your goals faster, and you will enjoy optimal performance and great looks in no time.Read more
Micronized creatine monohydrate works insanely well to supplement your muscles with energy, boosting your strength and speed. This makes the creatine especially helpful for bodybuilders, lifters, and boxers since explosive sports will feel the most benefit here. This formula is also quite affordable, so you get all the good benefits for a cheap price. This lab-tested product is also vegan since it contains no added ingredients, and you can consume it worry-free.
2. MuscleTech Cell Tech
Delivers Insulin Spike
Packed With Carbs
Massive 10g Dose
The cell tech creatine powder has a quality formula that delivers a high insulin spike, which helps you absorb the creatine even more, for faster muscle growth and more energy. It’s also packed with carbs, triggering even more insulin to be released, that ushers the massive 10g dose straight into your muscles.Read more
Their formula is perfect if you really want the help of insulin. The insulin rapidly replenished the creatine and glycogen stores in your muscles, and as we mentioned before, helps your muscles expand rapidly. Each bottle is verified to ensure it meets the highest standards for quality and that it is completely pure. You only need to take one scoop and mix it water, since the mix already contains sugar needed for that craved insulin spike!
3. Kaged Muscle Fruit Punch
Contains Organic Caffeine
Plant-based Fermented Amino Acids
No Artificial Flavors
This fruity powder is just what you need for that perfect pre-workout energy boost to help you experience the best intensive session. The quality products inside allow you to release your inner beast! This formula packs a hefty 6.5-gram dose of Pure L-citrulline for even more powerful muscle pumps. The citrulline is plant sourced and boosts nitric oxide.Read more
They have rapidly dissolving BCAAs so you can mix your pre-workout shake even faster than usual, allowing you to enjoy their perfect 2:1:1 blend. The added amino acids also promote muscle growth, because they support muscle protein synthesis. It’s free of known harmful ingredients and has a transparent label that shows you what you’re putting into your body.
4. Nutricost Pure
500 Grams Per Bottle
5 Gram Scoop Included
100 Servings Per Bottle
Made In The USA
Makes You Bloated
Nutricost offer a pure creatine formula without any ingredients added. This product delivers 5 milligrams of pure creatine, and each bottle has exactly 100 servings, so you’ll always know when the time is right to buy a new bottle. They even have a handy guide there to help you understand the loading and maintenance phases better!Read more
A 5-gram scoop is included in every jar, so you always know just how much you are ingesting. Their formula has been tested by third-party labs, to ensure no meddling in the results, and so you know you get the best product they can offer. This formula is not filled with any type of GMO products and is gluten-free, so you won’t experience any side effects, and you consume it without any worry. This product is made in the USA, so your product comes from the best possible source!
5. Genius Post Workout
Three Types Of Creatine
Rapid Muscle Growth
Contains sR Beta Alanine
Stevia As Sweetener
Doesn't Mix well
This ultimate blend of three types of creatine helps us reach those optimal absorption levels and helps our body optimize it to the max. This triple attack on the muscles makes the grow rapidly and without fail. The formula also minimizes the amount of water retained, so you will experience the lowest amount of bloating, without a doubt!Read more
This creatine also contains SR Beta Alanine, scientifically proven to improve your endurance, meaning you will be able to train harder and longer. The ingredients in their powder are clinically tested and approved, so you know you get the best premium creatine. It contains the only stevia as a sweetener, so you won’t ingest anything artificial, and you won’t gain any calories!
6. MuscleTech Platinum
Packed In Huge Jar
Lab-tested By Third Parties
Each Bottle Is Carefully Controlled
Platinum creatine gives your muscles a boost with the most clinically researched form of micronized creatine out there! This formula helps your enhances the ability of your muscle cells to regenerate adenosine triphosphate, which is the primary source of anaerobic energy!Read more
This means that you’ll be able to train harder, faster and better than you would without using it! This powder comes in a huge jar, so you’ll always have enough, even for those loading phases. If you take this powder five days before loading yourself with carbs, your glycogen store will increase and you’ll see results even faster. Every batch is lab-tested by a third-party and verified to ensure each bottle meets the best standards!
7. EFX Sports Kre-Alkalyn
Backed Up By 200-peer Reviews
Stable In Liquids
This pH correct stable creatine monohydrate supports the production of energy in the cells of your muscles. This means that you will be able to train harder and for a longer time, increasing the growth of muscles even more.Read more
Their formula has been backed up by over 200-peer-reviewed studies, and Kre-Alkalyn is a major breakthrough in the creation of creatine. This formula is the worlds only pH-correct formula. This patented buffering property is what makes it very stable in liquids and stomach acids alike. This means that your body absorbs it even better and utilizes it’s beneficial effects to the max.
8. Naked Creatine
100% Pure Creatine
GMO And Gluten Free
One Serving Is 5 Grams
Just as the name suggests, this premium quality creatine is pure and has absolutely nothing to hide! It contains only one ingredient and nothing else - creatine monohydrate. Naked Nutrition is dedicated to helping you reach your goals faster by providing you clean and safe supplements to boost your performance. They are transparent about what they sell, and you will always know what goes into your body.Read more
This powder contains no added sweeteners, flavors, colors or supplements, making it 100% pure. One serving of this powder contains 5 grams of creatine, so you can easily dose your loading phase. Since it has no added supplements, it has zero calories, and it will not affect your daily meal plan. If you worry about GMOs and gluten, you should know that it also contains no ingredients that can harm your delicate digestive tract. This pharma-grade creatine will make any exercise a breeze!
9. BodyBuilding Powder
Built On Trust
Has No Scoop
Bodybuilding.com was formed in 1999 with one single promise - trust. Their signature line is raised on the same promise, and every product is transparent and filler-free. This king of all supplements is formulated with high-quality ingredients, and their formula hides nothing, so you know exactly what you’re ingesting.Read more
Their micronized powder is designed just right in order for your body to absorb it quickly. This means that you will feel the effects pretty fast, and you’ll see an improvement in your workout sessions almost right away. It also promotes muscle growth and increases strength, so if you are someone who performs explosive sports, expect to see a spike in your performance!
10. Fitness Labs Creapure
Patented Purifying Process
1,000 mg Capsules
No Additives Or Supplements
No Animal Or Plant Products
Fitness Labs is a German company that produces high-quality creatine. Their patented manufacturing process eliminates unwanted by-products, like dicyandiamide, that can be found often in creatine that is of lesser quality. Many of the first studies conducted on creatine have used the product made by this company.Read more
Their creatine is made exclusively by chemical synthesis and does not use any animal or herbal byproducts. Each and every batch is tested, in order to verify the potency and purity of the product. Every capsule contains 1,000 of creatine, without any additives, fillers, supplements, sugars or colors. This purity is held in high regard, and is the reason why many world-renowned lifters and bodybuilders use this brand of creatine!
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Creatine can be found very easily just inside your own body. It resides in your muscles, produced by three kinds of amino acids. Besides being created every day, it is also excreted every day, and you can supplement it naturally via food, such as fish and certain kinds of meat. It is vital you maintain its levels in your body since it depletes rapidly when you exercise.
As we said, creatine is a molecule that your body can create by itself. The kidneys are the ones that start the process of creation, but the liver completes it. Three amino acids, glycine, arginine, and methionine are the ones which can be found in your liver and are converted into creatine phosphate and phosphocreatine. These two are then stored in your skeletal muscles and used for extra energy. Your body only processes a small amount every day though, and it excretes it on a daily basis too. This is the reason why many people who are serious about exercise choose to supplement it. You can supplement it naturally, as we mentioned, by eating certain types of fish and meat. This is the same kind of creatine our body makes, which is why it can still remain low.
Creatine can also be created outside of the body. Then, creatine is manufactured from sarcosine and cyanamide. Usually, they are combined in a reactor, with other compounds that work as catalysts. Sarcosine is a compound which is similar to salt, and you shouldn’t confuse cyanamide with cyanide! Once these two chemicals find themselves in the reactor, they are heated and pressurized to form creatine crystals. When that happens, any unwanted particles will be removed by centrifuge, and then the creatine will be vacuum dried. Usually, creatine is ground up into a fine powder, because this way it is easily absorbed. Usually, this powder is combined with a drink or shake, that is taken pre or post workout to better support your exercise!
Ease of Use
If you are new to exercising and want to start using creatine, it is very easy to get confused. When and how should you take it? Will a diet affect it? Does it work for women too? Even if you’ve been using creatine for a while, chances are you are still confused about it and you need help, and we’re here to help you understand it better.
In order to see the best possible results, you must use creatine the right way. It must be taken with precision, and there are a few possible ways you can do just that. The most common way people use creatine is with a loading phase. This phase saturates your muscles with creatine, and then you go through a maintenance phase where you lower the dose to bring the levels back to where they need to be. Typically, 20 mg of creatine is used during a 5-day period, which is the fastest way to increase the levels of creatine in your muscles. This is an extreme example of loading though, and some people experience bloating and gastric discomfort when doing so. These people use 10 mg of creatine over a longer period of time, which results in a lower amount of bloating but a longer loading period. If you don’t want to load at all, you can just use 5mg of creatine over a span of a month, but this method is not s beneficial like the previous two. You must not use more than 20 grams of creatine for five days straight since long-term high doses turn into formaldehyde in the urine.
After you are finished with the loading phase, you move into the maintenance phase. Some people maintain with 5 grams a day, but for most people, 2-3 grams is just the amount you need. The only variable here is if you were on a diet rich with red meat since you get it from there naturally, and you could decrease the amount you need for maintenance even more. Therefore, if you are a vegetarian, you might want to maintain that 5-gram dose instead. Then again, if you really eat a lot of red meat, you might find that you do not benefit from creatine at all since your stores are already pretty full. This way, any excess creatine you ingest will simply be excreted by the body, rendering supplementing useless. If creatine is useful to you, you must take it on a regular basis, not only when you feel like it. If you are low on creatine a loading phase will be beneficial to your workout regime, but if you want to feel the benefits creatine has to offer for a long time, you must keep the stores up!
Then we need to talk about how you take your creatine. Creatine will be absorbed faster if your insulin levels spike at the same time, which is why it’s usually recommended to take it with juice. One more thing that is even better is mixing it with your own supply of dextrose, which will make the spike even bigger. Because of this, it’s best to use creatine after you work out since this is when glycogen will be most likely to let creatine fill up the stores. During the loading phase, you should split the doses in two or three and take it throughout the day, since a big dose all at once will be too much for your body. It’s a good idea to take it with a meal or a shake, since this way it is less likely that your stomach will be upset.
If you follow these guidelines, your body will absorb creatine the right way, and you will see the most benefits!
We covered how to use creatine, but we have not mentioned how effective creatine is, and what exactly does it do to our bodies. Creatine can help your exercise and performance in several ways. If you love high-intensity workouts, the creatine will increase the levels of phosphocreatine stores in your muscles. This extra amount will then be used to create ATP, which is where our energy comes from, and that energy is the key for better performance.
There are more ways creatine can help us gain muscle mass. Creatine makes it possible for you to endure a harder exercise session, or for you to lift a bigger load. These are both important factors for muscle growth, so you understand why this is of interest. Creatine also improves cell-signaling, which in turn improves muscle repair and helps muscles grow better. The lives of your anabolic hormones raise as well, aiding the growth of your muscles. Creatine lifts the amount of water found in muscle cells, which volumizes them and again plays a role in muscle growth. The amount of muscles broken down is reduced, so you spend up to your fat stores instead, and your muscles remain intact. Creatine supplements also lower the amount of myostatin, and high levels of this protein inhibit muscle growth, so by lowering the total amount you get the better potential for muscle growth!
Creatine also helps improve strength, power, and performance when you do high-intensity exercises. One review of creatine noted that when subjects added creatine to their diet has increased their strength by 8%, their weightlifting performance by 14%, and their bench press one-rep max by up to 43%, compared to not taking creatine at all. All of these improvements are caused by the body’s increased capacity to produce ATP. when not taking creatine, ATP gets depleted after 8-10 seconds, but with creatine, you can maintain optimal performance for just a little bit longer. Creatine monohydrate is the cheapest and the best form of creatine to take, and you should give it a try!
It is quite likely that you have purchased creatine in a huge amount, usually in the form of a ginormous jar. It does seem risky to buy such a crazy big amount when you don’t know for sure when does such a product expire, and can it hurt you if you drink it when it does. Most creatine products stamp the date when they were manufactured on, and some even have an expiration date. Most of the times, that expiration date is just an estimate from the company that created it based on their best knowledge of the package and the way people use it. Usually, this date can be seen not to help you, but to protect the company from lawsuits and other legal actions. Most of the times, you can continue using creatine even if it has reached the expiration date. It is important that you have sealed the jar properly after each use, and that no moisture has been introduced to the powder. If you did let the moisture in, you will probably see hard clumps, and when you do, you must discard the powder.
You should also consider other products added to the creatine. Maybe the creatine itself won’t spoil, but the added ingredient will and you will then have to stop using it. Low-quality carbohydrate fillers can degrade fast and cause negative effects if ingested. Creatine itself can be good enough after the expiration date if it has been properly sealed and no moisture was allowed inside, but that cannot be said for other ingredients. If the creatine you have is a blend of different compounds, we advise you to proceed with caution. And even if you don’t feel like ingesting it after the expiration date, lucky for you creatine monohydrate is quite cheap, and you won’t be losing a lot of money if you discard the leftovers!
Many people avoid creatine because they fear that it is bad for their health. A lot of them claim that creatine causes weight gain, cramping, digestive problems, and even liver or kidney problems. Some people even wrongly claim that creatine is an anabolic steroid, that it should never be used by women or teenagers, and that it should be used by bodybuilders or pro athletes only.
The International Society of Sports Nutrition regards creatine as one of the safest supplements out there, saying that it is one of the most beneficial supplements out there. Creatine does alter the amount of water in your body, which is where the dehydration theory probably stems from. This shift in the amount of water is minor though, and there is no research that supports this theory. A three-year study conducted on athletes has concluded that those who took creatine had fewer occurrences of dehydration, muscle cramps, or muscle injuries. They also had more sessions since they didn’t miss them due to illness or injuries. If anything, creatine can help you feel less dehydrated, and can lower the possibility of muscle cramps happening!
Creatine does cause a quick increase in body weight. After the loading period, especially if it is one with a high load of creatine, expect to see your body mass to raise up by 2-6 pounds (1-3 kg), thanks to the increased amounts of water in your muscles. Studies have shown that long term use of creatine does yield weight gain, but the weight gain can be related to the increased muscle size, not standard weight gain. For most of the user, the extra weight is actually an improvement, and it is also one of the main reasons people take creatine in the first place.
Creatine can also cause a spike of creatinine in your blood. The amount of creatinine in your blood is often used to diagnose liver or kidney problems. But the fact that creatine causes an increased amount of creatinine in the blood does not mean that it is harmful to the liver or kidneys. Long term studies have shown that continuous use of creatine did not harm the liver or the kidneys, but if you had liver or kidney problems in the past, creatine should be approached with caution.
Just like any other supplement, creatine can cause digestive problems if taken in high amounts. The recommended 5-gram dose usually cannot cause any digestive problems, while the 10-gram dose increases the chances of diarrhea occurring by 37%. This is the reason why the recommended dose is between 3-5 grams, and during the loading period, the 20-gram dose is split into four servings of 5 grams per day. The additives and compounds used when creatine is made can cause some digestive issues too, which is why it is important that you choose a trusted brand.
If you are taking any medicine that can affect your liver or kidneys, it is important that you discuss the use of creatine with your doctor. Anti-inflammatory drugs can interact with creatine, and so can gentamicin, aminoglycosides, cyclosporine, and some other medicine. Creatine can also improve the management of blood sugar, so if you are taking anything that affects the amount of sugar in the blood, you should discuss it with a doctor. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have any serious heart issue or cancer, an appointment with your doctor is recommended.
There is a group of people that claim creatine can cause compartment syndrome. This is a condition that occurs when excessive pressure builds inside an enclosed space, and in this case, it’s the arm or leg muscles. One study has found an increase in muscle pressure during a two-hour heat training session, but this resulted because of the heat and dehydration, not creatine itself. Other people claim that creatine can increase the risk of rhabdomyolysis, a condition where the muscles break down and leak protein into your blood. The myth was brought into existence because creatine kinase raises in the blood when you use creatine, but the raised levels of the same compound in rhabdomyolysis are much higher. All in all, unless you have any underlying medical conditions, you can take creatine without worrying at all!
Expert Interviews & Opinions
If you ever wondered whether or not you should take creatine while dieting, you are not alone. Creatine is associated with bulking periods because it is made to help us gain muscle weight thanks to its ability to help us work harder and longer in the gym. This means that creatine can give you quite an advantage when you try to lose weight because you will be able to work out better and longer.
When you diet, you usually try to avoid carbs and refined sugar, and those two ingredients can affect the way you workout, hindering your progress. Adding creatine to the mix boosts your potential, but with the lowered amount of carbs in your system, it will not be absorbed so quickly. Be mindful to take it with water or a big meal to reduce the possibility of digestion issues, and you will have many benefits without a doubt!
Other Factors to Consider
Creatine has been used for centuries, and it has long been proven that it only has benefits to bring with itself. It can help you exercise better, and you will see benefits and muscle growth much faster when using it. You shouldn’t worry about side effects, and you could use it even if you don’t exercise so often since you would still feel the good side of it. You should definitely give it a try, especially if you’re looking into gaining muscle mass very fast! We hope our comprehensive list has helped you find what you’re looking for, and that you’ll be happy using it!
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Can teenagers take creatine?
There is no study out there that concludes teenagers or children should not take creatine. In reality, long-term creatine supplementation (not going above 4-8 grams a day for up to five years) is often used as therapy for children experiencing deficiencies and neuromuscular diseases. If you are an adolescent athlete, and you are considering getting into creatine on a serious level, you must be past the puberty stage. You also must be on a well-balanced diet, without any serious health conditions, you must follow the recommended dosages, and your parents must approve of you using the supplement!
q: What is the best form of creatine to take?
There are many different forms of creatine available to the masses, coming in forms of powder, candy bars, liquid, citrate and even gum. Many of those claim that their form is better than the creatine monohydrate powder. But no data indicates that this is the case, and you will have the same effects no matter what kind of creatine you use. The only difference between these is the taste and the form they come as, and the only true reason to choose a specific form is your personal preference.
q: Should athletes take creatine alone or combine it with something else?
There is an effective way to upgrade the creatine uptake by the body, and that is by consuming creatine with glucose. Creatine is absorbed better when your insulin levels spike, and if you want it to work even faster, you should use it with something that is very sugary. Taking it with D-pinitol can also improve the creatine uptake into the muscles. So your best bet is to take it with a shake or juice mix, or you can even combine it with a carbohydrate/protein supplement in order to raise insulin levels and promote creatine absorption.
q: When is the best time to take creatine?
When you perform intense exercises, your anabolic hormone release increases. When you eat carbohydrates and protein or essential amino acids following an intense workout session, it may fasten the rate of the resynthesis of glycogen, and it can promote protein synthesis as well. Taking creatine after a workout with a sugary shake or juice or a protein supplement is an effective way to increase or maintain your creatine levels!
q: Does creatine have different effects for women and men?
Many studies have evaluated the effects of creatine on both men and women, and there are some differences. Short-term studies have revealed that female athletes have limited enhancement of their physical performance. Women will still feel benefits though, so you shouldn’t worry about that. Women benefit from creatine during short-term supplementation. The gains of body mass and mass free of fat are not as rapid as they are with men. But, no matter what, women still do gain muscle mass and and strength during training!
- Creatine 101 — What Is It and What Does It Do?, Scientific ,
- How Is Creatine Made?, Informational ,
- Clearing Up The Creatine Confusion, Informational ,
- Our Expert Answers the 12 Most-Pressing Questions, Listicle ,
- Does Creatine Expire?, Informational ,
- Is Creatine Safe, and Does It Have Side Effects?, Scientific ,