Three best creatine powders
If you're serious about lifting weights or working out to build strength, it's time you get serious about creatine powder, too. One of the most researched sports supplements, creatine powder is considered safe for most athletes. Often within days, this supplement will increase your muscle mass and boost your energy and endurance. There is also some evidence creatine can help with a host of health conditions, so non-sporty folk can benefit from a creatine powder as well.
If you're only vaguely aware of creatine powders, read our short guide below to find out all you need to know. You'll also find listed our top product recommendations. We chose our favorite creatine powder because it's an effective, 100% creatine monohydrate that's micronized to dissolve easily into water or shakes.
Benefits of creatine powders
Creatine provides energy to your muscles. Your body naturally produces this molecule from three amino acids: arginine, methionine, and glycine. When you work out vigorously, your muscles start to fatigue and use up their stores of ATP, the chemical that fuels your cells with energy. If you supplement with creatine, however, this aids the production of ATP, so you have a much larger store to draw from. With a creatine powder, you can work out longer and harder.
Other benefits of creatine powders include increased muscle mass, improved muscle strength, and faster muscle repair.
There's also some evidence that creatine may help with the following health conditions:
Reduction in arthritis symptoms
Reduction in symptoms of Parkinson's disease
Lower blood sugar levels
Improved brain function, including memory
Increased energy for those suffering from fatigue conditions
Considerations when choosing creatine powders
While creatine supplements are available in liquid, capsule, and powder form, creatine powders are the most popular with users, probably because they are the least expensive. There are several types of creatine powders.
This is the most researched form of creatine and the most proven to work. Most experts recommend sticking to this form of creatine powder.
This powder is mixed with baking soda to "buffer" the product against stomach acid. Creatine monohydrate, however, is already resistant to stomach acid, so there's no need to pay for higher-priced buffered creatines.
Creatine magnesium chelate
This creatine powder is bound with magnesium, which some claim makes for better absorption into the bloodstream. However, there is no solid evidence to back this claim.
This creatine powder is bound with hydrochloric acid, which some claim makes it more absorbable by the body. Again, no evidence backs this claim.
Micronized creatine is simply creatine monohydrate ground into a super fine powder. Although it may not work any better than a regular powder, it does dissolve more easily into water.
Flavored creatine powders add taste to an otherwise flavorless supplement. Flavors range anywhere from banana to chocolate cake batter.
Added amino acids and other ingredients like vitamins and minerals appear in some creatine powders to boost vitality.
Creatine powders typically come in one-pound canisters that range in price from $10 to $60 and can last anywhere from two to four months. You can find a quality product for under $20.
Q. How do I take creatine?
A. There are two different philosophies on the most effective way to take creatine: rapid or slow loading. Rapid loading involves a larger dose of creatine (20 grams per day) taken for five to seven days. That's followed by a lower dose for a week or two, followed by one or two weeks without the supplement. This is thought to lead to a rapid increase in muscle mass. Slow loading involves taking a lower dose (five to 10 grams) every day for a month, by which time you'll get similar results to rapid loading.
Q. Is creatine a steroid?
A. No. Creatine is a natural substance. Your body even produces it, and food sources like beef, tuna, and salmon also provide dietary creatine. Unlike steroids, creatine supplements don't affect your body's hormone levels, including testosterone.
Creatine powders we recommend
Best of the best: BSN Micronized Creatine Monohydrate Powder
Our take: A micronized creatine powder to power your workouts.
What we like: Dissolves easily into liquid. Includes a five-gram scoop for easy dosing. Flavored and unflavored options.
What we dislike: Nothing. Users report fast results.
Best bang for your buck: Bulk Supplements Creatine Monohydrate Powder Micronized
Our take: An extra-fine creatine powder in cost-effective bulk size.
What we like: Each bag contains one kilogram of micronized creatine monohydrate. Flavorless and dissolves easily into liquid.
What we dislike: Scoop not included. Bag not always easy to reseal.
Our take: A quality creatine powder at a great price.
What we like: Pure micronized creatine monohydrate. Unflavored. Helps with post-workout muscle recovery.
What we dislike: May cause gas or bloating for some users.
Ana Sanchez is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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