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Creatine can help boost athletic performance and build muscle. Here, we discuss the best creatine supplements available online.

Testers may have tried out some of the products below for free. All opinions are their own.

The table below compares each creatine supplement in this article for price, dose, and more.

PriceServingsDose per servingCreatine type
Thorne$40905 gcreatine monohydrate
Optimum Nutritionaround $38605 gcreatine monohydrate
KAGED$24.9975750 mgcreatine hydrochloride
Transparent Labs$49.9930 or 605 gcreatine monohydrate
NOW Sportsaround $21601.5 gkre-alkalyn creatine
Klean Athletearound $30605 gcreatine monohydrate
Proven4 Sportaround $38302 gcreatine monohydrate
Bare Performance$34.99605 gcreatine monohydrate
The Genius Brand$24.99255 gcreatine monohydrate
Nutricostaround $282005 gcreatine monohydrate

Medical News Today’s methodology

Medical News Today chooses products that meet the following criteria:

  • Ingredients: MNT chooses products containing safe and high-quality ingredients that are clearly labeled. They should also confirm they are free from pesticides, heavy metals, and mold.
  • Dosage: MNT chooses products that must clearly state the supplement dosage.
  • Serving size: MNT selects products in which manufacturers recommend a safe dosage.
  • Third-party testing: MNT chooses products that must undergo third-party testing for contaminants by an ISO 17025-compliant laboratory.
  • Available certificate of analysis: MNT chooses companies that demonstrate transparency and share a product’s certificate of analysis (COA) following receipt of its third-party lab results.
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The factors a person should consider when buying a creatine supplement include:

  • Third-party testing: A person should purchase products that have undergone third-party testing. This means that an independent lab tests supplements for the safety, purity, and accuracy of the ingredients. A person can often look at third-party lab results on the company’s website.
  • Added ingredients: People may wish to buy supplements that do not contain artificial colors, sweeteners, flavors, or fillers. Many companies supply pure creatine, but others may add additional ingredients. A person should consider the benefits of these additional ingredients.
  • Form: Many creatine supplements are available as a powder that a person can add to drinks. However, some people may prefer to take a creatine supplement as a capsule. Capsules can ensure people get an accurate dose of creatine in every serving.
  • Dosage: People should ensure they are not taking too much creatine. They can discuss the appropriate dosage with a doctor.

Creatine is a natural compound present in large amounts in red meat, poultry, and fish. Creatine helps supply the body’s cells, including muscle cells with energy.

Creatine is a combination of three amino acids: glycine, L-arginine, and L-methionine. Most of the body’s creatine is in the muscles, though the brain also stores some.

There are a few different types of creatine supplements available. Some of the more popular types include:

  • Creatine monohydrate: This is the most common form of creatine. It comprises one creatine molecule and one water molecule.
  • Buffered creatine: Also known as Kre-Alkalyn, this form contains an alkaline buffer.
  • Creatine HCL: This creatine bonds with a hydrochloride salt, which may help enhance absorption.

The average person requires roughly 1–3 grams (g) of creatine daily. However, various factors can affect the optimal amount for a person to consume. For example, athletes who do more intense physical training may benefit from a higher daily creatine intake.

Creatine is one of the most popular supplements among athletes and people who regularly train their bodies, as it may help support ideal muscle energy.

A 2021 review notes that, as well as helping improve athletic performance, creatine may also help with several other factors, such as:

  • enhancing recovery after workouts
  • regulating temperature
  • preventing injury
  • rehabilitating the muscles
  • protecting the spinal cord
  • recovering from concussion

Creatine may also play a role in several health conditions, including:

Creatine use may also help reduce markers of depression in some people. One 2020 study found that otherwise healthy people who consumed more creatine had fewer markers for depression.

However, more research needs to explore these results before scientists can make any broad claims.

Supplements may contain different types of creatine. Some of the more common types include:

Creatine monohydrate

Creatine monohydrate crystallizes from water. Companies can dry creatine monohydrate at around 100º C (212 °F) to remove the water, leaving behind pure creatine monohydrate.

Creatine monohydrate is not as soluble as other forms of creatine. However, research shows that it can help support performance and musculoskeletal health in adults.

Creatine ethyl ester

According to a 2022 critical review, creatine ethyl ester contains 6.3% less creatine than creatine monohydrate. Some of the creatine in creatine ethyl ester converts to creatinine when a person digests it. This transformation makes it less available for the body to use than creatine monohydrate.

A systematic review from 2022 explored the effect of supplementing with creatine ethyl ester on exercise performance and body composition. The researchers found no significant difference between the supplement and placebo.

Creatine hydrochloride

To make creatine hydrochloride, manufacturers add hydrochloric acid to creatine to reduce pH levels and make it more soluble.

While some companies claim that this type of creatine is more effective at lower doses than creatine monohydrate, there is no evidence that this is the case.

Creatine magnesium chelate

Creatine magnesium chelate is a less common type of creatine supplement.

A 2022 analysis found no evidence this form of creatine has more bioavailability or is safer than creatine monohydrate. Additionally, the authors found limited evidence that creatine magnesium chelate is even as effective as creatine monohydrate.

The average price of creatine supplements in this article is around $35 per container. However, factors such as quantity and type of creatine may affect cost.

Creatine comes in many different forms that require various manufacturing processes to create. Due to this, companies may charge different amounts depending on the type of creatine they use in their products.

The 2022 analysis that looked at creatine supplements on Amazon found that the average cost of different types of creatine were:

Type of creatineAverage price per 5g serving
Magnesium-creatine chelate$1.50
Creatine hydrochloride$1.10
Buffered creatine$1.00
Creatine monohydrate$0.29
Magnesium-creatine chelate$0.45
Creatine hydrochloride$0.42
Buffered creatine$0.51
Creatine anhydrous$0.72
Creatine decanate$0.30
Creatine gluconate$0.65
Creatine ethyl ester$0.53
Creatine monohydrate$0.19

Creatine is a popular supplement among athletes and people who are looking to build or repair muscles. It may be best for people who regularly engage in moderate-to-high-intensity training.

Other people may take it to supplement their diet. As dietary creatine comes mainly from red meat and fish, vegans and vegetarians may take creatine supplements to help ensure that they get enough each day.

Learn more about essential supplements for vegans.

Some people with health conditions that affect how their body makes or uses amino acids may also need regular creatine supplementation.

Additionally, some research suggests that creatine supplementation may be beneficial for immune system regulation and for people with muscle-wasting diseases or neurological conditions. However, more research is needed to support these claims.

A person should always speak with a doctor or dietitian before taking a supplement.

It is important to take creatine supplements according to the instructions on the packaging. Do not take more creatine in hopes of gaining more benefits, as the body can only use so much at one time.

Some people may decide to do a creatine “loading phase”. This involves taking multiple doses of creatine for a week to increase muscle stores rapidly, then decreasing the daily intake to maintain high levels. That said, taking lower regular doses over a long period may have the same effect.

However, 2021 research suggests that while a short-term loading phase can be helpful for increasing exercise capacity, it is not necessary for maximum benefit.

People should avoid taking very high dosages and look out for any other ingredients in the product that may affect the body.

For example, some sports mixes contain other ingredients, such as caffeine. People who are sensitive to caffeine may experience adverse effects when consuming these drinks.

Further resources

For more in-depth resources about vitamins, minerals, and supplements, visit our dedicated hub.

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Creatine is a natural supplement, and the risk of experiencing side effects from the supplement itself is low.

However, some people may experience the following side effects from taking creatine:

  • nausea
  • stomach pain
  • diarrhea
  • muscle cramping

In higher dosages over long periods of time, supplementation with creatine may affect the liver or kidneys. However, current research does not fully support this concern.

Taking high dosages of creatine may affect various bodily functions, so some people may need to take creatine with caution. Anyone unsure whether they can safely use creatine should talk with a doctor.

The International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) has stated that creatine monohydrate is a safe and the most effective form of creatine supplementation.

The best creatine supplement or creatine pills for muscle growth provide a high dose of creatine and fast absorption. Products that use Creapure, a purified form of creatine, might be the best available supplements.

Creatine monohydrate is the cheapest form of creatine and, as such, is the type of creatine companies are most likely to use.

Most people will need 1–3 g of creatine per day.

Creatine is a popular natural supplement that may help build and repair muscles and enhance performance. It is generally safe and one of the most extensively studied supplements.

As with any supplement, it is best to opt for moderate use and discuss it with a doctor first.

People may also be able to increase their creatine intake through their diet.