Last updated – 08.02.2021
Creatine is the second most popular supplement used by bodybuilders after whey protein.
There are different types of creatine supplements in the market.
The sheer variety could easily confuse you. In this article, I will explain the various forms of creatine, benefits of each and the most commonly used ones.
What is Creatine
Creatine is a naturally occurring substance in your muscles.
Creatine helps your muscles to produce energy during high-intensity activities such as in the gym.
Why You Should Use Creatine
Types of Creatine
Creatine Monohydrate is the most common form of creatine supplement available in the market.
In creatine monohydrate, the creatine is attached to one water molecule.
Thus creatine monohydrate increases the water content in your muscle cells thus increasing your muscle size.
Creatine Citrate is manufactured by attaching citric acid to creatine.
Studies show that creatine citrate does not give better benefits compared to creatine monohydrate.
Creatine Ethyl Ester is another type of creatine that was thought to be more bioavailable.
However, studies showed that creatine ethyl ester might be less effective compared to creatine monohydrate.
Creatine Nitrate is formed when creatine is bound to a nitrate group.
Creatine Hydrochloride is created by binding creatine with hydrochloric acid and is available in concentrated form.
Due to the concentrated form, you may not need to consume as much as creatine monohydrate to get the same benefits.
Creatine Pyruvate is formed when creatine binds to pyruvic acid.
creatine pyruvate produced higher levels of creatine in plasma than monohydrate but adsorption was not improved.
Creatine Malate is obtained by combining creatine with malic acid. Malic acid has performance enhancing benefits on its own but has not been studied in combination with creatine.
Creatine Magnesium Chelate is formed by binding creatine to magnesium.
One study shows that Magnesium has an effect on creatine metabolism.
Thus, theoretically, magnesium might increase the effectiveness of creatine.
However, another study showed that creatine magnesium chelate is more or less the same compared to creatine monohydrate.
The winner is Creatine monohydrate.
Creatine monohydrate is the gold standard when it comes to creatine supplements.
The monohydrate form of creatine is well studied, is known to be tolerated well, has high solubility and improved bioavailability.
Forms of Creatine
Micronized Creatine is nothing but creatine monohydrate that has been processed to reduce the particle size.
The micronization process increases the solubility in water but not does increase absorption by your muscles.
Liquid Creatine is creatine suspended in water or any solution along with the amino acid glycine.
The creatine used is usually creatine monohydrate. Companies claim that the liquid form of creatine would have better absorption, require smaller doses and less strain on your kidneys.
Interestingly, studies show that liquid creatine does not offer any advantage. Ironically, it breaks down to the inactive form creatinine.
Buffered Creatine (Kre-Alkalyn) is a form of creatine monohydrate with higher or alkaline pH.
There are no studies to prove that this form of creatine offers any advantages to the user.
The winner is Micronized form. In fact, most supplements use creatine monohydrate in micronized form.
Best Creatine Supplements
#1. Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Monohydrate Powder
Optimum’s micronized creatine is an unflavored creatine supplement with no fillers or additives. Optimum’s supplement is in the form of creatine monohydrate.
The best way to consume is to add 1 teaspoon (tsp) of micronized creatine powder to 8-12 oz of cold water or fruit juice.
For creatine maintenance, take creatine powder immediately after your workout with a protein shake.
Optimum’s micronized creatine is made using Creapure, a synthetic form of creatine manufactured by AlzChem Trostberg GmbH in Germany.
- Many users feel it does not dissolve properly. To ensure proper dissolution you could follow this method.
- Mix creatine powder with 4 oz of hot water in your blender bottle and stir for a couple of minutes. Then add some cold water/ice cubes and mix well. You can also add the creatine powder blend to protein shake if you prefer.
- Do not store in hot place as the powder can form clumps.
#2. MuscleTech Platinum Creatine Monohydrate Powder
Platinum Creatine powder contains 100% creatine monohydrate in micronized form and unflavored.
Platinum suggests that you first start with a loading phase followed by a maintenance phase.
In the loading phase, you should consume 4 servings (20g) a day for the first 3 days.
From day 4 your maintenance phase starts where you consume 1 serving (5g) either one or two times a day.
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#3. Three-Atine Creatine Monohydrate Pills
Three-Atine is the only creatine supplement with three types of creatine.
Creatine Monohydrate, Pyruvate, and Alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG).
Each serving contains 4.8g of Monohydrate, 150 mg of Pyruvate and 51 mg of AKG.
Creatine Monohydrate provides explosive power, more weight gain, and less soreness.
Creatine Pyruvate ensures 100% creatine absorption and performance gains.
Creatine Alphaketoglutarate provides more muscle definition and acts s strength booster increases performance and endurance.
Three-Atine is available both as pill or powder.
In the pill form, Three-Atine contains 1,667 mg per tablet compared to 700 mg of creatine from other competitors. The 300g bottle would last for 2 months.
The 90 tablets bottle would last for 3 months.
#4. EFX Sports Kre-Alkalyn
Kre-Alkalyn is a pH-correct Creatine Monohydrate.
The patented buffering of Kre-Alkalyn makes the creatine stable in the acidic environment in your stomach.
Kre-Alkalyn is available as 100g or 210g powder. Kre-Alkalyn is also available as 120, 180, 240 or 400 capsules.
#5. Naked Creatine
Naked Creatine contains 100% pure micronized Creatine Monohydrate with no artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors.
Naked Creatine is also GMO freeSoy Free, Gluten Free, and Dairy Free.
Naked Creatine comes in a 1kg container and contains 200 servings.
Also read – Best Low Carb Protein Powder
#6. CellTech Creatine Powder
Cell-Tech’s Creatine powder contains Creatine Monohydrate, Creatine Citrate, Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Branched Chain Amino Acids and other amino acids such as Taurine and L-Alanine.
Taurine and L-Alanine are Cell Volumizing Aminos that further help in increasing muscle cell size and cell volumization.
ALA helps your muscles to improve the absorption of creatine and glucose through special transporters.
Cell-Tech’s Creatine powder is available as 3lb or 6lb in Fruit Punch or Grape flavor.
Loading Phase For the first 7 days take 2 scoops with 12 oz. of water after you wake up in the morning and 2 scoops with 12 oz. of water immediately after your workout.
If you’re not training that day, take 2 scoops with 12 oz. of water in the morning when you wake up and 2 scoops with 12 oz. of water later in the day.
Maintenance stage Take 2 scoops with 12 oz. of water immediately after your workout.
If you’re not training on a day, take 2 scoops with 12 oz. of water in the morning.
#7. Creatine HCl Powder
Kaged Muscle’s Creatine HCl Powder is a patented formula that contains 750 mg of Creatine Hydrochloride.
Kaged Muscle claims that the product is approved by Vireo Systems the inventor and patent owner of the original creatine HCl.
Kaged Muscle mentions that the loading phase is not needed.
Creatine HCL is available either as unflavored or Lemon Lime flavor.
Creatine HCL is also available as vegetarian capsules.
#8 RSP Creatine Monohydrate
RSP’s Creatine supplement is 100% micronized Creatine Monohydrate.
RSP’s Creatine is either available as 300g or 500g.
Loading Take 2-3 scoops per day for the first five days of your use.
From Day 6 take 1-2 scoops per day after your workout or with meals.
Also read – Best vegan protein bars
# 9. BSN Micronized Creatine Monohydrate Powder (This could be moved up)
BSN Creatine supplement contains 100% micronized Creatine Monohydrate without additives or fillers.
BSN Creatine is in crystal form and blends well with protein shakes or beverages.
Mix one scoop of BSN Creatine with 8-12 oz of water or your favorite beverage.
#10. Creapure Creatine Monohydrate Powder (Could Be Moved Up)
Muscle Feast’s Creatine supplement is made from Creapure, a synthetic form of creatine manufactured by AlzChem Trostberg GmbH in Germany.
Muscle Feast’s Creatine is available as 2lb or 300g powder and 750mg capsules.
The powder form is available in four flavors; Fruit Punch, Grape, Sour Apple and Unflavored. The capsule is available as 120 tablets.
#11. Six Star Pro Nutrition Creatine X3 Powder and Pills
Creatine X3 is available both in powder form and as pills.
Creatine X3 in the capsule form contains a mega dose of 8,000 mg.
The pill form contains Creatine X3 contains Creatine Monohydrate, Creatine Phosphate and Creatine Pyruvate.
Creatine X3 pill also contains Alpha Lipoic Acid and L-Carnosine.
In the powder form, X3 contains Creatine Monohydrate and Creatine HCL, Branched Chain Amino Acids such as L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, and L-Valine. X3 powder form also contains Carbohydrates, Sugars, Potassium, Sodium, Glycine, L-Arginine, and L-Methionine.
The short chain carbohydrates convert to glycogen quickly thus helping you to replenish energy levels after a workout.
Our Pick We recommend Optimum’s micronized creatine as it is unflavored pure creatine monohydrate preferred by many bodybuilders.