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6 Best Creatine Supplements for Strength, Muscle, and Performance

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Creatine has a mixed reputation among the muscle-building set. For every gym bro who swears he’s put on 10 pounds of muscle with the stuff, there’s another who claims it causes cramps, bloating, and fat gain.

    Truth is, creatine is neither a miracle powder nor a health hazard—it’s simply a natural compound that’s found in red meat and seafood, especially beef.

    First, some background: When you consume creatine—in, say, a steak, for example—your body stores about 95 percent of it in your muscles in the form of creatine phosphate. Your body then uses that creatine phosphate to produce the energy needed to perform quick, intense bursts of exercise, like a particularly heavy bench press or squat.

    Strength training, as you may remember, causes tiny microtears in your muscles. When your body repairs that muscle tissue, your muscles grow back bigger and stronger. That’s where the big benefits of creatine come in. It allows you to crank out more reps and heavier lifts, which helps boost your muscle size and strength.

    Sure, you could consume your creatine in meat form only, but you’d have to eat a half-pound of steak or salmon every day to net just 1 gram of it—and, let’s face it, that wouldn’t be good for your waistline or your wallet. That’s why many people turn to creatine supplements, which can offer two to five times that amount per serving.

    Now, we know what you’re thinking, But wait—more isn’t necessarily better, right? (Kidding. We knew you weren’t thinking that.) For the record, it’s perfectly fine to consume your creatine in supplement form.

    Case in point: A 2021 review in the Journal of the International Society of Sports found that supplementing with creatine not only can boost your exercise performance, but that many of the supposed drawbacks of taking it—dehydration, muscle cramps, weight gain, and even kidney damage—simply aren’t true.

    Still, while most creatine supplements are safe to take, they aren’t all created equal. The first thing you should do when looking for a supplement, says Chris Mohr, Ph.D., R.D., of Mohr Results, is to look for a supplement that contains creatine monohydrate, which is the best type of creatine available. “Research shows that creatine monohydrate is absorbed tremendously efficiently by the body,” he says.

    A great supplement shouldn’t have anything more than pure creatine monohydrate—no fillers, no special added ingredients, he says. Look for one that has about 3 to 5 grams per serving.

    The best options will also be certified by a third party like Informed Choice or NSF for Sport Certified. “Those two certifications tell you that what’s on the label is in the product—nothing more, nothing less,” says Mohr.

    With those guidelines in mind, here are our top picks for the best creatine supplements.


Best Overall

Gnarly Creatine

This vegan supplement from Gnarly offers 5 grams of pure creatine monohydrate per serving. It’s unflavored (read: no added ingredients) and has been certified by NSF for Sport.


Best Creatine Monohydrate Powder

Micronized Creatine Powder

No additives, no extra ingredients—just 100 percent pure creatine monohydrate in each 5 gram serving. This pick, from Optimum Nutrition, contains micronized creatine, which has been broken down into smaller particles that are easier to mix in water. It’s also been certified by Informed Choice.


Best Micronized Creatine

Amino Acid Creatine Powder

Each serving of Thorne Creatine contains 5 grams of micronized creatine monohydrate, which is a more dissolvable form of creatine that’s easier to mix. This product, which is NSF Certified for Sport, is also one of the more affordable picks on our list.


Best Unflavored Creatine

Creatine Monohydrate Powder

Don’t want to commit to a three-month supply? This pick, from Bulk Supplements, is a good option. The product contains micronized creatine monohydrate and has been third-party tested.


Best Budget Creatine

Creatine Monohydrate Micronized Powder

The most budget-friendly option on our list, Nutricost’s creatine contains no added ingredients — just 5 grams of micronized creatine monohydrate. It’s also been third-party tested.


Best Clean Creatine

Klean Creatine Dietary Supplement

Another NSF for Sport certified pick, this option from Klean Athlete provides 5 grams of pure creatine monohydrate per 1 scoop serving. No artificial flavors or added ingredients.

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