Best Creatine Supplements
Have you ever wondered if there is a way to optimize your workout? If you're an avid gym-goer or someone who loves exercise, you probably have it drilled into your head about having a good diet, sleep and routine, to get into peak shape. But, what if we told you there's a unique supplement to aid your exercise. The truth is, there is such a supplement known as creatine.
What is creatine?
Creatine is also known as methyl guanidine acetic acid and is commonly found in your muscle cells. It helps your muscles gain extra energy for heavy lifting and strenuous exercise. Creatine has many similar characteristics to amino acids and can even be produced from glycine and arginine.
Creatine is an essential energy source for your body and helps fuel fast-twitch skeletal fibers. Your muscles use a form of energy known as ATP while exercising, which is the byproduct of ADP. Creatine helps restore your ATP levels, providing an instant energy source and allowing you to work out to the best of your ability.
Most of your body's creatine, around 95%, is stored in another form known as phosphocreatine—the remaining 5% you can find in your kidneys, liver, and brain. Creatine is also found in certain food sources like seafood, red meat, milk, and protein. The average amount of creatine humans should consume a day is around 1mg.
How does creatine work?
Your liver synthesizes the majority of creatine in your body. Once it's synthesized, it's transported through your circulatory system to specific sites for storage, most of which are in your skeletal muscle. After this, 60-70 % of creatine is introduced to ADT to form phosphocreatine which helps your body have a larger energy source to burn.
Conditions that can be treated
If you take creatine supplements, they may be able to help the following:
- Increased strength: It's believed that creatine can improve upper and lower body strength amongst adults and children.
- Quicker recovery from exercise: Creatine helps quicken up the growth and repair process, allowing people to recover quickly from exercise.
- Help age-related muscle decline: Muscle loss in older people is also known as sarcopenia. There's research out there that suggests if you take creatine and work out when older, it can help preserve muscle tissue and improve strength.
These are just a few conditions that creatine supplements can help with. To know more, please check out our top 10 list of the best creatine supplements.
Types of supplements
There are six different types of creatine supplements which are:
- Creatine monohydrate: Out of all of the creatine supplements available, creatine monohydrate tends to be the most popular. Plus, there's a lot of scientific research surrounding this supplement—most of the benefits of creatine stem from research using creatine monohydrate. Creatine monohydrate comes in tablets, powder, capsule, and liquid form. It primarily helps increase strength and water content in your muscles.
- Creatine ethyl ester: This supplement has ethanol ester added to creatine to increase power, endurance, and muscle hypertrophy. Scientific research suggests that your body better absorbs creatine ethyl ester than creatine monohydrate; however, more research needs to be conducted to validate this. This supplement mainly comes in powder form.
- Creatine hydrochloride: This creatine supplement attracts a lot of popularity in the fitness industry as it's water-soluble. Many people choose to take this in powder form in a low dose, mixing it into water.
- Buffered creatine: Buffer creatine is another creatine supplement that contains an alkaline powder to act as a buffer. The purpose of this supplement is to provide more stability and fewer side effects. Buffered creatine is made to reduce the likelihood of stomach cramps and bloating occur.
- Liquid creatine: This is a ready-to-drink form of creatine that is designed to save time for people who don't like mixing or using the powder form. Research suggests that this type of supplement isn't as effective as others, as it's believed that the creatine could break down in the liquid for days before use.
- Creatine magnesium chelate: This supplement involves magnesium being attached to a creatine molecule. This comes in a powder form.
Best food sources
In addition to taking creatine supplements, certain foods can help boost your levels which are:
- Chicken: Chicken is a highly recommended form of protein for many athletes to have in their diet and can be used in many dishes. It also has a high creatine content of around 0.8 creatine for a 4-ounce serving.
- Salmon: Salmon is packed with omega 3, B vitamins, potassium, selenium, and antioxidants. It also has an ample amount of creatine in, around 0.5g for every 4-ounce serving.
- Beef: If you enjoy beef, especially steak, then you'll be consuming creatine. On average, a 4-ounce serving of beef has 0.5 grams of creatine. Do note this can be more or less, depending on the beef and the cut you have.
- Pork: Pork is a great source of protein and also contains potassium and zinc. On average, a lean loin of pork that is 4 ounces contains 0.6g of creatine.
- Tuna: Tuna is rich in zinc, selenium, vitamin C, manganese, and creatine. For every 4-ounce serving, you will be consuming on average around 0.45g of creatine.
The main benefits of taking creatine supplements are:
Improves exercise performance
Creatine supplements allow your body to produce more ADP, which allows your body to have more energy readily available in its stores—allowing you to benefit during short bursts of exercise like sprinting, HIIT workouts, Olympic lifting, and more.
Helps muscular size and strength
Creatine supplements help increase your muscle size and strength. Initially, when taking creatine, your muscles will gain water in their cells. Then over time, certain channels will be activated, contributing to performance, muscle growth, and strength. There's a lot of increasing research that has found creatine supplement might increase an insulin growth factor known as (IGF-1). This is important as we age as we tend to lose muscle mass. Insulin growth factor plays an important role in keeping your tissues lean and retaining muscle mass.
Betters brain function
Did you know your brain also requires ATP alongside your muscles? When you take creatine supplements, it can help your brain function better by increasing concentration and better memory recall. There's also research that suggests creatine can help increase your dopamine levels and contribute to the functioning of your mitochondria.
The side effects of taking creatine are:
- Kidney damage;
- Liver damage;
- Weight gain;
- Muscle cramps;
- Digestive issues;
- Kidney stones;
- Compartment syndrome;
These are just a few side effects that you may experience when taking creatine; it's not guaranteed for definite that they will occur. If you take creatine and experience any of the following side effects, see your doctor immediately.
Precautions and warnings
- Pregnant women or breastfeeding: If you're pregnant or breastfeeding, you should stop yourself from taking creatine as there's not enough research out there to show if it's safe for you or your baby to take.
- Children: Creatine is generally safe to take for children orally in the short term. Always check the right dosage first with a doctor before giving it to any child. If you have bipolar disorder, don't take creatine and speak to a doctor first. There is research that shows that creatine may encourage episodes of mania.
- Parkinson's disease: Similarly, creatine combined with caffeine may cause Parkinson's Disease to progress even more. If you have Parkinson's Disease and want to take creatine, avoid caffeine completely.
- Kidney disease: It's believed creatine might make kidney disease more difficult for people who have it. If you have kidney disease, you should speak to a medical professional first.
How long should I take creatine?
The duration you take creatine can vary based on the method, dose, and the reason you need to take it. Always speak to a doctor first before taking creatine.
Interaction with other medicines
Creatine can interact with the following medicines: If you're taking nephrotic drugs, i.e., medication for your kidneys, creatine could easily react with it. There is a higher chance of your kidneys becoming damaged and hurting you. Typical medications that could do this are naproxen, piroxicam, amikacin, gentamicin, tobramycin, nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drugs, ibuprofen, and many more. Creatine can help improve blood sugar levels, so if you're taking a medication that might affect your blood sugar, speak to a doctor first.
Creatine is an acid commonly found in your muscle tissues. It helps you become more alert, provides you with extra energy and muscle strength when working out. There are six main types of creatine supplements you can take, but there are also many types of food you can get it from. You can get creatine from salmon, tuna, beef, pork, chicken, and more. Be careful taking creatine if you're on kidney medication, pregnant, or have Parkinson's Disease; when taking creatine, always speak to a doctor first. Similarly, if you want to give creatine to children, always ask the doctor first for advice on what dosage to give them.
Which is the best creatine supplement to take?
The best supplement to take for creatine is Thorne Research Creatine which is a powder. It's designed specifically to be taken for workouts and helps your muscle mass. Many athletes use this type of creatine.
What is the best creatine pre workout supplement?
The creatine pre workout supplement is Optimum Gold Standard range which has 3grams of creatine per 11 gram serving. It has amino acids and caffeine also, giving you that extra energy boost you need.
Is creatine the best supplement to build muscle?
Creatine is made by the body and helps build muscle. Out of all the athletic supplements, creatine is one of the best and is also the top recommended by many people in the sports industry.
What is the best type of creatine supplement?
The best type of creatine supplement tends to be creatine monohydrate. It's the most popular substance, and there's a lot of scientific research supporting this supplement.
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