BULKSUPPLEMENTS.COM Creatine Monohydrate Powder

Creatine is a naturally occurring compound found in small amounts in certain foods and is also synthesized within the human body, primarily in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas. Chemically, it's a nitrogenous organic acid that helps supply energy to cells throughout the body, particularly muscle cells. In the body, creatine is converted into creatine phosphate, which is then used to replenish adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule that plays a crucial role in energy transfer within cells.

The top 7 Creatine Supplements

Product name Image Rating Pros Cons Best Price More information

OUR PICK
BULKSUPPLEMENTS Creatine Monohydrate Powder

BULKSUPPLEMENTS.COM Creatine Monohydrate Powder
  • Offers a high purity level
  • Comes in bulk for cost-effectiveness
  • Lab-tested for quality assurance
  • Plain packaging lacks some information
  • The powder might be too fine for some, leading to clumping
  • No scoop included
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AMAZONS PICK
Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Monohydrate

Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Monohydrate 5 star review
  • Made by a reputable brand known for high-quality supplements
  • Micronized powder for better solubility and absorption
  • Contains no additives or artificial ingredients
  • Some users report clumping in humid conditions
  • Doesn't come with a scoop
  • Plain taste might be off-putting to some
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BUDGET PICK
NOW Sports, Creatine Monohydrate

NOW Sports, Creatine Monohydrate
  • Produced by a well-known brand with a history of quality
  • Micronized for easy mixing and absorption
  • No scoop included
  • Some reports of inconsistency in texture
  • Packaging can sometimes be challenging to seal
  • Some users don't like the scent
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MuscleTech Platinum Creatine Monohydrate Powder

MuscleTech Platinum Creatine Monohydrate Powder
  • Clinically proven to increase muscle size and strength
  • Unflavored, which is versatile for mixing
  • Offers a good price per serving
  • The texture might be gritty for some
  • Some reports of stomach discomfort
  • Packaging can be hard to reseal
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Muscle Pharm Essentials Creatine

Muscle Pharm Essentials Creatine
  • Uses a blend of five different creatine types for enhanced absorption
  • No loading phase required
  • No artificial dyes or colors
  • More expensive per serving than basic creatine monohydrate
  • Some users prefer pure creatine monohydrate over blends
  • Occasional reports of digestive issues
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Beast Sports Nutrition Creature Creatine

Beast Sports Nutrition Creature Creatine
  • Blend of five advanced creatines for quick results
  • Contains additional ingredients like biotin for added benefits
  • Comes in both powder and capsule forms
  • Some users might prefer pure creatine without other ingredients
  • Slightly more expensive than basic creatine monohydrate
  • Flavored varieties might not appeal to everyone
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Kaged Creatine HCl

Kaged Creatine HCl
  • Offers a pure and unflavored creatine monohydrate
  • Produced by a longstanding, reputable company
  • Micronized for improved solubility
  • Some users report hardness in the powder over time
  • Container size can be misleading (not filled to the top)
  • Occasional reports of stomach upset
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Additional Reading

Given its role in energy production, creatine has become one of the most popular dietary supplements, especially among athletes and bodybuilders. The primary use of creatine supplements is to enhance athletic performance, increase muscle mass, and improve certain types of short-duration, high-intensity exercise such as weightlifting, sprinting, or jumping. There's a significant amount of research suggesting that creatine supplementation can improve performance in these types of activities by allowing users to perform more work during bursts of short-term, high-intensity exercise.

Creatine's potential benefits extend beyond athletic performance. There's ongoing research into its therapeutic potential for various medical conditions. For instance, some studies have explored its potential benefits in neurodegenerative diseases, muscle-wasting conditions, and even as an adjunct therapy in certain types of cancer. While some of these studies have shown promise, more research is needed to fully understand the therapeutic benefits of creatine and its possible side effects in medical applications.

The most common form of creatine supplement is creatine monohydrate, though there are other variants like creatine ethyl ester, creatine hydrochloride, and buffered creatine, among others. Creatine monohydrate is the most researched form and is generally considered safe when taken at recommended dosages.

However, like all supplements, creatine is not without its potential side effects. Some users report gastrointestinal discomfort, muscle cramping, or dehydration after consuming creatine. There's also been some discussion about creatine's impact on kidney function, though the majority of research to date suggests that creatine supplementation does not harm the kidneys in healthy individuals. Nonetheless, those with pre-existing kidney conditions or other medical issues should consult with a healthcare professional before starting creatine or any other supplement

The History of Creatine

Creatine was first discovered in 1832 by the French chemist Michel Eugène Chevreul, who identified it as a component of skeletal muscle, naming it after the Greek word for meat, "kreas." In the early 20th century, the potential benefits of creatine supplementation began to emerge, with the first scientific study on its effects published in 1926 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, demonstrating how it promoted weight gain and increased nitrogen balance.

The modern era of creatine use in sports and exercise began in the late 1980s, when Dr. Eric Hultman from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden introduced the concept of creatine loading. His groundbreaking research was published in 1992 in the Journal of Clinical Science, which led to a surge in the popularity of creatine among athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

Commercial availability of creatine supplements began in 1993 when a company named Experimental and Applied Sciences (EAS) introduced it to the sports nutrition market under the name Phosphagen. This marked the start of creatine's journey as a widely recognized supplement in the fitness world. By the mid-1990s, creatine monohydrate production was in full swing, with several brands entering the market and making it more accessible to a broader audience.

Throughout its history, creatine has been subject to various controversies and debates, especially regarding its ethical use in sports. However, it has never been banned by major sports organizations, and its use is considered legal and safe when following recommended guidelines. Its popularity and widespread use in the sports industry underscore its perceived benefits in enhancing athletic performance and strength development​.

Ingredients of Creatine

Creatine supplements are primarily composed of different forms of creatine, with creatine monohydrate being the most common and extensively studied form. Other forms include creatine ethyl ester, creatine anhydrous, creatine citrate, creatine phosphate, creatine malate, creatine tartrate, magnesium creatine, and several others.

These various forms are designed to enhance creatine's absorption and efficacy. Supplements may also contain other ingredients for additional benefits, like vitamins, minerals, amino acids, or other performance enhancers. The specific composition can vary depending on the brand and type of creatine supplemen.

Who should use Creatine

Creatine is commonly used by athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness enthusiasts to improve exercise performance, increase muscle mass, and enhance strength. It's particularly beneficial for high-intensity, explosive activities like sprinting and weightlifting.

Additionally, older adults may use creatine to prevent age-related muscle loss and improve cognitive function. It's also suitable for vegetarians or vegans who may have lower natural creatine stores due to the absence of meat in their diet. However, individuals with pre-existing kidney conditions should consult a healthcare provider before using creatine supplements.

What Creatine is NOT intended for

Creatine supplements are generally not recommended for individuals with pre-existing kidney problems, as the supplement may exacerbate these conditions. People with liver disease or diabetes should also exercise caution. It's important for anyone with these health issues to consult a healthcare provider before starting creatine supplementation. Additionally, pregnant or breastfeeding women are often advised to avoid creatine due to the lack of research on its safety in these populations. As with any supplement, individuals with known allergies to creatine or its components should avoid its use.

Pros and Cons of Creatine

Pros

  • Enhanced Muscle Strength: Increases strength and power, beneficial for high-intensity training.
  • Improved Exercise Performance: Boosts performance in short-duration, high-intensity exercises.
  • Accelerated Muscle Growth: Facilitates muscle growth and mass gain.
  • Supports Cognitive Function: Potential benefits for brain health and cognitive function.
  • Reduces Fatigue and Tiredness: Helps combat workout-induced fatigue.
  • Vegetarian-friendly Source of Creatine: Useful for vegetarians and vegans who typically have lower creatine levels.
  • Affordable and Accessible: Widely available and relatively inexpensive.
  • Well-researched Supplement: One of the most researched supplements with proven benefits.

Cons

  • Water Retention: May cause water retention, leading to temporary weight gain.
  • Kidney Strain in Some Cases: Could stress kidneys in individuals with pre-existing kidney conditions.
  • Digestive Issues: Can cause stomach discomfort, diarrhea, or nausea in some users.
  • Not Suitable for Everyone: Not recommended for individuals with certain health conditions like liver disease or diabetes.
  • Inconsistency in Effects: Some people may not respond to creatine supplementation.
  • Mixability and Taste: Some forms of creatine may not mix well or have an unpleasant taste.
  • Requires Consistent Usage: Needs to be taken regularly for continued benefits.
  • Dosage Requirements: Requires attention to dosage for optimal benefits and to avoid side effects.

Studies regarding the efficacy of Creatine

Summary: This meta-analysis of 83 studies concludes that creatine supplementation improves several exercise performance measures, including strength, power, and muscular endurance, particularly in resistance training and high-intensity activities.

2. Title: International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine (2017)

Summary: This position statement by the International Society of Sports Nutrition summarizes the extensive research on creatine safety and efficacy for athletes and various populations, concluding it's well-tolerated and supports performance and recovery.

3. Title: Creatine for Exercise and Sports Performance, with Recovery Considerations for Healthy Populations (2023)

Summary: This review delves into the mechanisms of creatine's performance benefits, highlighting its impact on energy metabolism, fatigue reduction, and muscle protein synthesis. It also discusses recovery considerations and individual variability in response.

4. Title: Common questions and misconceptions about creatine supplementation: what does the scientific evidence really show? (2021) Summary: This comprehensive review addresses common concerns about creatine, exploring its safety, efficacy for different populations, and potential effects on various health markers. It emphasizes the importance of considering individual factors and consulting healthcare professionals.

5. Title: “Heads Up” for Creatine Supplementation and its Potential Applications for Brain Health and Function (2023)

Summary: This review explores the emerging research on creatine's potential benefits for brain health, including cognitive function, neuroprotection, and age-related cognitive decline. While evidence is still developing, it highlights promising avenues for future investigation.

6. Title: Effects of Creatine Supplementation on Muscle Strength and Endurance Performance (2012)

Summary: This meta-analysis of 52 studies examines the impact of creatine on various strength and endurance performance measures, concluding it provides moderate to large effect sizes across diverse training populations.

7. Title: Creatine Supplementation and Cognitive Function: A Meta-Analysis (2017)

Summary: This meta-analysis investigates the effects of creatine on cognitive function across various settings, finding potential benefits for cognitive tasks demanding high energy expenditure and in populations with neurodegenerative conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions about Creatine

What is creatine?

Creatine is a naturally occurring compound found in small amounts in certain foods and synthesized by the body. It is stored primarily in muscles and used for short bursts of energy during high-intensity activities such as weightlifting, sprinting, and other forms of anaerobic exercise. Creatine helps produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the primary energy carrier in cells.

How does creatine work in the body?

Creatine works by increasing the availability of ATP, the energy currency of the cell. When you engage in high-intensity exercise, your muscles use ATP for energy. Creatine phosphate (phosphocreatine) donates a phosphate group to ADP (adenosine diphosphate) to quickly regenerate ATP, allowing for sustained energy production. This process enhances performance in activities requiring short bursts of energy and speeds up recovery between sets or sprints.

What are the benefits of taking creatine supplements?

The benefits of creatine supplementation include:

  • Improved Athletic Performance: Enhances strength, power, and muscle endurance during high-intensity exercise.
  • Increased Muscle Mass: Promotes muscle growth by increasing water content in muscle cells and enhancing muscle protein synthesis.
  • Enhanced Recovery: Reduces muscle damage and inflammation, speeding up recovery post-exercise.
  • Brain Health: May improve cognitive function and provide neuroprotective benefits.
  • Support for Certain Medical Conditions: Creatine supplementation has shown potential benefits in managing neurodegenerative diseases, muscle disorders, and type 2 diabetes.

Who should consider taking creatine supplements?

Creatine supplements are beneficial for:

  • Athletes and Bodybuilders: Looking to improve performance, increase muscle mass, and enhance recovery.
  • Older Adults: To help maintain muscle mass and strength, potentially reducing the risk of sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss).
  • Vegetarians and Vegans: Who may have lower baseline levels of creatine due to dietary restrictions.
  • Individuals with Certain Medical Conditions: Under medical supervision, creatine may support treatment for neurodegenerative diseases, muscular dystrophy, and type 2 diabetes.

How should I take creatine?

The typical way to take creatine is through a loading phase followed by a maintenance phase:

  • Loading Phase: 20 grams per day, divided into 4 doses, for 5-7 days to quickly saturate the muscles with creatine.
  • Maintenance Phase: 3-5 grams per day to maintain elevated creatine levels. Alternatively, you can skip the loading phase and take 3-5 grams per day from the start, which will gradually increase muscle creatine stores over 3-4 weeks. Creatine can be taken with water or mixed into a protein shake or other beverages.

Are there any side effects of creatine supplementation?

Creatine is generally considered safe and well-tolerated. However, some individuals may experience side effects, including:

  • Weight Gain: Primarily due to water retention in muscles.
  • Digestive Issues: Such as stomach cramps, diarrhea, and nausea, especially during the loading phase.
  • Kidney and Liver Concerns: Though not common, individuals with pre-existing kidney or liver conditions should consult a healthcare provider before taking creatine.
  • Muscle Cramps: Rarely, some users report muscle cramps, but this is not well-supported by research.

Can creatine cause dehydration or muscle cramps?

There is a misconception that creatine causes dehydration and muscle cramps. However, research does not support these claims. Creatine can increase water content in muscles, which may help with hydration. Proper hydration is essential when taking creatine, as it can lead to increased water needs due to the higher water retention in muscles.

How long does it take to see results from creatine supplementation?

The time it takes to see results from creatine supplementation can vary. With the loading phase, many individuals notice improvements in performance and muscle mass within 1-2 weeks. Without the loading phase, results may take about 3-4 weeks as muscle creatine levels gradually increase. Consistency in supplementation and training is key to achieving and maintaining benefits.

Is creatine safe for long-term use?

Creatine is considered safe for long-term use in healthy individuals. Numerous studies have shown that long-term creatine supplementation does not have adverse effects on kidney or liver function, provided the individual does not have pre-existing kidney or liver conditions. Regular monitoring and consultation with a healthcare provider are recommended for those using creatine over extended periods.

Are there different types of creatine supplements?

Yes, there are several forms of creatine supplements, including:

  • Creatine Monohydrate: The most researched and commonly used form, known for its effectiveness and affordability.
  • Creatine Ethyl Ester: Claimed to have better absorption, but evidence is lacking.
  • Creatine Hydrochloride (HCl): Known for its solubility and potential to reduce digestive issues.
  • Buffered Creatine: Marketed to prevent breakdown in the stomach, though not significantly more effective than monohydrate.
  • Micronized Creatine: Creatine monohydrate with smaller particles for improved solubility. Creatine monohydrate is the gold standard due to its extensive research and proven effectiveness. Other forms may offer specific benefits but are generally more expensive without substantial evidence of superior efficacy.