Creatine is the most popular of the performance-enhancing drugs and supplements. It increases your performance in and out of the gym, allows you to break through any plateaus you may have and gives you a nice full look.
If you’re looking for one supplement that will help you build your physique while giving you a performance boost, creatine is your answer. We’ve designed this article to provide you with an in-depth understanding of creatine and how it works. We’ll give you the tools to make an informed decision about which product you should or shouldn’t buy.
Who needs creatine supplements?
Power-sport athletes such as powerlifters, boxers, weightlifters, and track and field athletes need creatine. It helps them to build more muscle mass, improve athletic performance, get substantial muscle pumps, recover better after training and increase their metabolic rates for faster sprint performances.
The reason for creatine’s popularity may be attributed to its accessibility. You can obtain creatine in powder form, energy bars, tablets and drink mixes. They are available without a doctor’s prescription. You can get them in supermarkets, drug stores, nutrition stores and over the internet. But keep in mind that the effects of creatine are not well studied over the long term.
What is creatine?
Creatine a nonessential compound that mimics protein is found in abundance in fish and meat. Your liver synthesizes creatine mainly, from the three amino acids, namely arginine, methionine, and glycine.
Creatine is the most popular supplement to increase your performance in the gym. When it’s inside the muscle cells creatine attaches itself to high-energy phosphate. And it is then known as phosphocreatine (PCr) or creatine phosphate. This substance is a high energy molecule and provides one of the most beneficial effects on your body.
Creatine contributes its high-energy phosphate to create ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Your muscle uses the ATP for the rapid energy it needs for muscle contraction, such as during weight-lifting or high endurance sports.
According to reports, creatine supplementation increases the content of PCr in muscle by approximately 20%. More creatine phosphate leads to more ATP being produced during exercise, which gives you strength, power, muscle growth, and speed. Be known that ATP is your body’s energy currency.
There are several ways creatine can improve your health and athletic performance. When you perform the high-intensity exercise, its primary role is to increase the phosphocreatine stores in your muscles. The excess stores are used to produce more ATP, which is the critical energy source for high-intensity exercise and heavy lifting.
Creatine helps you to gain muscle. It helps you to do a total workout in a single training session which is essential for long-term muscle growth. Supplementation of creatine increases satellite cell signaling, where the signals sent to muscles help with repair and new muscle growth.
Creatine increases your cell hydration by enhancing the water content within muscle cells. This increased water content promotes cell volumization effect may play a role in muscle growth. Being an osmotically active substance creatine increase results in increased water retention and consequent gains in body mass.
Research studies have pointed out that creatine increases anabolic hormones such as IGF-1 after supplementation. This growth hormone, also known as Somatotropin, gets released from a small gland at the base of your brain known as the Anterior Pituitary.
This hormone is mainly released while you sleep. However, growth hormone is also released in response to exercise. Therefore, practical exercise and sufficient rest go hand in hand in building muscle. A research study has found that creatine increases growth hormone production, even without exercising.
Creatine supplementation helps increase total muscle mass by reducing protein breakdown. Higher levels of the protein myostatin are well known for slowing or entirely inhibiting new muscle growth. Myostatin is a protein found in your blood. It sets a limit to the amount of the muscle your body can build. If you supplement creatine, it will reduce these levels, increasing your growth potential.
There are many forms of creatine supplements they include: creatine monohydrate, creatine citrate, creatine ethyl ester, liquid creatine, micronized creatine, creatine nitrate, creatine magnesium chelates, buffered creatine, creatine hydrochloride, creatine malate and creatine pyruvate.
Creatine monohydrate is the gold standard of creatine and a time-proven winner. Creatine citrate is bound to citric acid, and it’s more water soluble than creatine monohydrate. When creatine ethyl ester enters your body, it’s converted into an inactive substance known as “creatinine.”
Liquid creatine is merely a form of creatine–usually monohydrate–suspended in liquid, it is less efficient than creatine monohydrate. Micronized creatine is same as creatine monohydrate. It is processed to reduce the particle size of the powder and is most commonly sold as micronized creatine monohydrate.
Creatine nitrate is a type of creatine that’s attached to a nitrate group. Creatine magnesium chelate is a form of creatine bound to magnesium. Buffered creatine is a form of creatine that is believed to outperform monohydrate due to a higher pH level. Creatine hydrochloride is creatine that gets attached to hydrochloric acid. Creatine malate is creatine bound to malic acid. Creatine pyruvate is creatine bound to pyruvic acid.
You must start creatine supplementation with a loading phase which will significantly improve your muscle stores. It’s recommended to take 20 grams of creatine per day for 5–7 days. Split it into four 5-gram servings throughout the day. A carbohydrate or protein-based meal will slightly improve the absorption of creatine.
After the loading period, you can take 3–5 grams of creatine per day. This action maintains the elevated levels within the muscle. If you don’t want the loading phase, you can just consume 3–5 grams per day.
However, it may take three to four weeks to maximize muscle stores. Creatine tends to pull water into the muscle cell, so it is advisable to take it with a glass of water. Try to stay well hydrated throughout the day.
What are the health benefits of creatine?
Research studies say that creatine not only helps you build muscle and strength. It increases your gym performance, reduces oxidative stress, has positive effects on bone mineral density and even boosts memory.
Despite some common myths about creatine in the media, it is incredibly safe. Doctors even use it to treat neurological diseases. Above 500 research studies vouch for the safety of creatine.
Aids muscle cells to produce more energy: According to a study published in the April 2010 issue of the journal “Nutrition,” researchers wanted to find out if low doses of creatine could improve muscle function. They have 20 healthy young subjects either .03 grams of creatine or a placebo per kilogram of body weight daily for six weeks. They found creatine didn’t produce any significant differences in body composition or strength. But the participants receiving creatine had more energy and was more resistant to fatigue in some of the tests.
The best creatine supplements increase your muscles’ phosphocreatine stores. Phosphocreatine helps with the formation of new ATP, the key molecule your cells use for energy and all essential functions of life. When you start to exercise, ATP gets broken down to produce more power.
The rate at which ATP is resynthesized lowers your ability to perform at maximum intensity continually. ATP gets utilized faster than you can build up again. The creatine supplements increase your phosphocreatine stores which help you to produce more ATP. This action fuels your muscles during high –intensity exercise.
Boosts brain power: Researchers from the University of Sydney and Macquarie University in Australia has found that taking creatine as a dietary supplement gives a significant boost to your working memory and general intelligence. The research participants were vegans and vegetarians, and they were given 5 grams of creatine supplementation per day.
Scientists tested the working memory using a backward digit span test. Here the subject has to repeat in reverse order progressively longer verbal random number sequences. The researchers tested the intelligence using Ravens Advanced Progressive Matrices – a methodology commonly used for IQ assessment involving completion of pattern sequences. These tests require fast brain power and researchers conducted Raven’s test under high pressure.
“The results were clear with both our experimental groups and in both test scenarios: creatine supplementation gave a significant measurable boost to brain power,” “Increasing the energy available for computation increases the power of the brain, and this is reflected directly in improved general ability,”says Dr. Caroline Rae who led the research.
Creatine aids high-intensity exercise performance: Research studies show us that creatine enhances your performance in ballistic power, strength, sprint ability, muscle endurance, muscle mass, resistance to fatigue, and brain performance. Creatine provides benefits regardless of your fitness level.
Creatine improves bone healing: Cellular energy increases bone production. Cell energy is vital for bone development and maintenance, and therefore directly related to osteoporosis.
Researchers from the Institute of Cell Biology in Switzerland found that creatine is beneficial for adjuvant therapy for bone fracture healing or the treatment of osteoporosis. Based on their research they concluded that creatine significantly enhanced the activity of alkaline phosphate (ALP; an essential marker for bone growth). Creatine also helps in immobilization atrophy.
Outmuscling major depression with creatine: Women who battle stubborn depression can use the best creatine supplement for women to fight depression. Researchers conducted an eight-week study that included 52 South Korean women, ages 19-65, with the major depressive disorder. All the women took the antidepressant Lexapro during the trial period. Twenty-five of the women received creatine with the Lexapro and 27 were given a placebo.
Participants who received creatine showed significantly higher improvement rates in Hamilton Depression Rating Scale a widely accepted test, compared to the placebo group. At the end of eight weeks, half of the participants in the creatine group showed no signs of depression in comparison with the one-quarter in the placebo group.
The participants did not have adverse side effects with creatine. “Getting people to feel better faster is the Holy Grail of treating depression,” says Renshaw, lead researcher and medical director of the Mental Illness Research, Education, at the Salt Lake City Veterans Affairs Health Care System.
Creatine supplement helps people with muscular dystrophy: Scientists say that creatine supplement could lend muscle strength to people with muscular dystrophies. According to a recent review of studies for patients taking creatine, muscle strength increased by an average of 8.5 percent compared to those who did not use the supplement. The people who took creatine gained an average of 1.4 pounds more lean body mass than nonusers.
Creatine fights age-related muscle loss: As you age the production of muscle building hormones such as growth hormone, testosterone, and the IGF-1 declines. So there is a natural tendency to lose your muscle mass progressively. The fast twitch fibers the type that makes the bulk of your muscle size produce a great response to creatine supplementation. These fibers are the first ones to get affected by age-related muscle loss also called as sarcopenia.
Researchers found that creatine supplementation in older adulthood might nullify the degenerative effects of age-related muscle wasting because it promotes fast twitch muscle fiber integrity. This action helps to gain youthful levels of an IGF-1 anabolic hormone which localizes itself in the fast twitch fibers.
Creatine improves glucose tolerance: Creatine enhances glucose tolerance and combats diabetes. Researchers found that the best creatine supplement increased muscle glycogen content and glucose transporter (Glut-4) expression. Creatine also improved glucose tolerance in a previously immobilized limb.
Experts say that the reason for glucose tolerance improvement was due to the increased expression of glucose transporter type 4. This transporter expression was induced by IGF-1 and IGF-2, which are caused by creatine.
Creatine fights other neurological diseases: Reduced levels of phosphocreatine in the brain is the critical factor for several neurological disorders. Creatine increases phosphocreatine levels so might be beneficial in treating several neurological disorders.
Scientists from the Massachusetts General Hospital found that a high dose treatment of creatine was safe, and it slowed the progression of the presymptomatic Huntington disease.
Animal studies suggest that creatine supplements may treat Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, ischemic stroke, and brain or spinal cord injuries. Creatine also benefits Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis that affects motor neurons essential for movement.
What are the precautions to consider while taking creatine supplements?
Avoid using creatine if you have kidney disease or diabetes. Consult your doctor before taking creatine supplements, if you have heart disease. Avoid using best creatine supplement for women if you’re pregnant because it is not known whether creatine will affect your fetus. Avoid using this product if you’re a lactating mother. Avoid giving any herbal and health supplement to your child without medical advice.
Follow your doctor’s prescription about dosage and frequency when taking the best creatine supplement for women. Do not take the best creatine supplement for a longer duration; six months is usually the maximum duration.
Creatine pulls water from other parts of the body into muscle fiber, so drink at least 64 ounces of water per day to prevent dehydration. While taking creatine supplement for women bodybuilders, avoid working out in hot conditions, workout in an air-conditioned gym.
Buy the creatine supplements from a well-known company to avoid tainted items. If you’re on any medication, consult your doctor before taking these supplements.
What’s the best creatine supplement for women?
Optimum Nutrition Creatine Powder, Unflavored
“This is the third or fourth bottle I’ve ordered. I swear by the results, it mixes well with basically anything and never causes any bloat for me,” says Amazon Customer, a verified user of this product.
Optimum Nutrition powder contains creatine monohydrate a well-researched sports nutrition ingredient that supports muscle growth and strength gains. This best creatine supplement for women has been micronized to stay in solution longer.
Because it’s unflavored, you can add it to your post-workout protein shake or mix the powder into the flavored beverage of your choice. One teaspoon of this best creatine supplement for women provides five grams of 99.9 percent pure Creapure creatine monohydrate. Creapure is synthetic creatine.
- One serving contains 5 grams of Creatine Monohydrate
- Zero Added Sugar
- Zero Calories
- The powder is a bit difficult to mix
MuscleTech Platinum 100% Creatine, Ultra-Pure Micronized Creatine Powder, Unflavored
This best creatine supplement for women provides your muscles with the world’s highest quality and most clinically researched form of micronized creatine. This creatine supplement contains high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)-tested creatine monohydrate.
To ensure a high standard of quality and purity, each bottle of Platinum 100% Creatine undergoes strict quality control. This best creatine supplement for women is third-party tested and verified to be sure that each container meets the highest standards of quality, purity, and consistency.
“Good creatine product. I’ve already seen the gains I’ve made while taking it. I’ve gotten stronger and can see & feel the results. Get yourself a can,” says John Msuya a verified Amazon user.
- Ultra-Pure Micronized Creatine Powder
- Contains Creatine Monohydrate
- Clinically proved results
- May cause bloating for some
Beast Sports Nutrition Creature Creatine Complex
Creature® contains a blend of five top quality types of creatine. They all work together to create a whole new Beast. Its constituents include creatine monohydrate, creatine anhydrous, creatine gluconate, di-creatine malate and Banaba leaf extract, biotin, and Cinullin. This best creatine supplement for women bodybuilders optimizes strength, accelerates recovery and enhances endurance.
“Having tried much different creatine, beast sports impressed me. First, it helped me feel stronger and recovered faster. Second, I picked the lemon lime flavor and loved it. Reminded me of old school Gatorade. Third, I had no stomach issues taking it. Overall I was very happy with this creatine and will purchase again”, writes John D, a verified Amazon reviewer.
- Contains five forms of creatine
- Comes in tasty citrus flavor
- Dissolves quickly
- Minor side effects such as stomach cramps and bloating
MUSCLE MAN – Pre Workout Muscle Builder for Men (& Women)
This best creatine supplement for women is a scientifically advanced pre-workout powerhouse. It contains cognitive performance boosters and physical performance enhancers to get the most of every workout. Take this best creatine supplement for women 30 minutes before your workout.
This best creatine supplement for women contains nitric oxide enhancers that maximize your performance. It also contains creatine HCL. “This is DELICIOUS!!. I have tried several and sometimes the taste is gritty or just awful, but this has the best flavor of any pre-workout I have ever tried and dissolved great. So easy to drink! “Writes Jillian a verified Amazon purchaser of this product.
- Great taste
- CGMP certified
- 100% transparent
- No proprietary blends
- Some users claim on opening; it tends to become airborne and cause sneezing
Our choice of the best creatine supplement for women
When comparing the best creatine supplement for women, we found the Optimum Nutrition Creatine Powder to be the winner. It is unflavored creatine with no fillers or additives.
This best creatine supplement for women increases muscle strength, power, and energy levels. It speeds up recovery rates, improves performance in high-intensity exercise and even enhances energy reserves in muscles while minimizing protein breakdown. We found that the price of this product to be very reasonable.
“Optimum Nutrition is one of the best brands you can buy, and this bulk sizing of creatine is by far the best value on Amazon. This will last the average person about 11 to 12 months before it’s empty”, writes Jeffery Hammons a verified Amazon user.
Only a few reviewers say that it doesn’t mix well, but you find the majority are positive reviews with high customer satisfaction. Overall in our opinion, we find Optimum Nutrition Creatine Powder to be the best creatine supplement for women.
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