Best Creatine Monohydrate Powder Supplement Reviews For Men
Other than protein powder, creatine is usually the most popular supplement in a guy’s stack. If you’ve got your protein, and you can only pick one other thing, a lot of men will choose creatine.
At the most basic level, it should increase your strength. Obviously pretty awesome.
Basically, it gives you more energy, helps with protein synthesis by bringing more water to your cells, and basically allows you to get stronger by lifting heavier at the gym and bringing protein to your muscles to help them grow during recovery.
This is exactly the type of supplement we love to use here at Man Revived, because it is an easy way to maximize the time you’re spending in the gym. We’re all about maximizing your results in the most efficient way possible, so as long as your body gets the benefits of it, creatine is a great supplement to add to your routine.
You’ll often read that creatine is the most studied supplement in the world, as literally hundreds of scientific studies have been performed. So far, there has been an overwhelming amount of evidence that shows that creatine is the real deal, and basically no evidence of negative side effects.
There is some anecdotal evidence you’ll read about that suggests creatine will hurt your guts or your kidneys or something, but literally over all the studies, this has been found to be just that – anecdotal. Which means that people who say they have these symptoms are basically just as likely to have them as people who have taken a placebo.
Negative side effects are non-existent, yet hundreds of studies show huge benefits to active people from taking creatine.
Sounds like a winner! Let’s learn the best parts of it, and then we’ll give you our top 2 options on the market today.
Ratings Of The 2 Top Rated Creatine Supplements For Men
Benefits Of Taking Creatine
Allows you to lift more and get stronger, giving you bigger muscles
Pretty much the number one reason to use this supplement, and probably the main reason you want to take creatine in the first place.
Many studies have proven it’s effectiveness in:
- Building muscle faster (Source)
- Enhancing muscle performance and body composition (Source)
- Increasing muscle strength and size (Source)
- Increasing strength and weightlifting performance (Source)
Basically creatine helps bring energy to your muscles, meaning fatigue will take longer to hit. And if your muscles aren’t as tired as they would be otherwise, you’ll be able to lift more and/or heavier than usual, allowing for more of a breakdown of the muscle, which, paired with solid recovery, means a bigger, stronger muscle.
This is one of the reason’s you’ll find creatine in post-workout supplements.
Increasing your gains while decreasing your recovery pains is just about as good as it gets.
Good for your brain
A 2002 study found that, “creatine supplementation displayed neuroprotective effects in several animal models of neurological disease, such as Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis”.
They obviously follow up saying that it needs human studies, but that it is a promising ingredient for more broad applications including brain and heart health.
Another study just the next year (2003) found that, “Oral creatine supplementation significantly increased brain concentrations of creatine and ATP to wild-type control levels, exerting a neuroprotective effect. These findings have important therapeutic implications, suggesting that creatine therapy initiated after diagnosis may provide significant clinical benefits to HD patients.”
Helps you age better
While sample sizes have been small, studies have shown promising results from creatine use for aging adults when it comes to retaining and building muscle mass, increasing strength, and functional performance, which is integral to healthy aging.
Even more effective for vegetarians
Since creatine is found naturally in meat like beef, tuna, salmon, and more, if you’re eating a nutritious, meat-filled diet, you’re already getting some extra creatine from food consumption.
Note that you’re still not getting the typical clinically effective dose of 5 grams (note that some studies show that 2g may be enough, but most use 5g as a baseline). Why not? Well, you’d have to eat a pound of beef to get about 2g of creatine. So, to get 5g from beef alone, you’d need to eat 40 ounces of steak.
That’s not a challenge. It’d be bloody difficult, no pun intended.
Now consider that through your diet you might be getting 1 or 2g of creatine every day if you eat meat. Now, remove the meat, and you’re left with a significantly lower amount of ingested protein in your daily diet.
So, for vegetarians, the effect of a creatine supplement will be even more pronounced. Going from nearly nothing in their regular diet to hitting clinically effective dosage will do a lot to gaining the benefits of creatine.
A 2003 study found the existence of “an ergogenic effect of Cr (Creatine) during resistance training and suggest that subjects with initially low levels of intramuscular Cr (vegetarians) are more responsive to supplementation.”
What Is The Best Type Of Creatine?
Alright, so there are a number of different types of creatine.
The one you’ve probably heard of it creatine monohydrate. It’s been studied the most (by far), it is what most supplements use, and it absolutely, definitively, works. There’s nothing wrong with it, and it is the main version of creatine you’ll find.
Because of all the tests confirming its usefulness, and because it is relatively inexpensive, we recommend looking for a creatine monohydrate supplement to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
The other options you’ll come across:
Straight up just not as effective, so no need to pursue this guy any further!
Definitely works, but hasn’t been compared to monohydrate to tell if it’s any better. However, this study seems to suggest that a referenced Polish study shows that creatine malate “helps to avoid accumulating water in muscle cells as well as it is easierly [sic] absorbed from the digestive system, which coincides with better solubility in water.”
After translating what I believe to be the study from Polish to English, I couldn’t find this exactly, but then again, the chances of Google Translate understanding how to translate “Malate” and other niche science-y words doesn’t seem particularly high.
Creatine Ethyl Ester
Do not be confused by this term!
You will see it more often these days, because it’s a cool new buzz word that companies can slap on their labels to trick you into thinking this is more effective. Classic supplement company, right?
In reality, micronized just means that it’s been processed such that the particles are smaller than normal creatine supplements. Benefits? Increases water solubility.
In other words, it dissolves in water better, which means you won’t be left with an undissolved sludge at the bottom of your cup after shaking it up in your blender bottle. So, you’ll be more likely to drink the entire serving size.
What it does NOT mean is better absorption into your muscles.
Micronized creatine is just creatine monohydrate made smaller, so it goes down better in a drink.
Not a bad idea, actually, but be very aware that it’s not anymore effective once you get it in your system than “normal” creatine.
There’s no research to show this is actually effective, nevermind more effective than monohydrate.
Good start, right?
The benefit of this is basically the same as micronized creatine, in that it is more water soluble, and therefore easier to drink.
Nothing really bad to say about this, but there’s no huge draw to take this instead of the significantly more studied monohydrate.
Creatine Magnesium Chelate
Works similarly to monohydrate, but not necessarily any better.
This is creatine bound to magnesium, which may help with creatine metabolism, but as there aren’t other studies, we’ll have to go with the one that does show that there’s not really a difference between this and monohydrate, which gives us no reason to move to this form of creatine.
Companies say that because of the higher pH of this type of creatine, it outperforms regular old monohydrate. Not so, says this study, pretty explicitly. Stick with monohydrate!
So, very niche examples, and contradictory evidence found in studies.
Overall, just stick with monohydrate. Micronized monohydrate is totally fine, just don’t waste your money on any of the other buzz words.
Reviews of The Best Creatine Supplements For Men
So, with all the marketing out there, trying to convince you that some new form of creatine is better than the last one, which one should you pick?
We’ve sifted through literally dozens of options, and have come up with just 2 options that we believe are the best choices you can make.
We originally were going to include more, but since there’s really not a lot of difference between any of them, we’re not going to complicate this…we’ll cut straight to the chase to save you time and make sure you’re getting results!
Our assumption here is that creatine monohydrate is the best form of creatine to use, and that simple is usually better in this case.
#1. Optimum Nutrition (ON) Micronized Creatine Powder (EDITOR’S CHOICE)
I’ve used Optimum Nutrition for as long as I can remember. They always seem to offer a no frills, effective product, and this creatine is probably the best option you’ll find.
First of all, it’s just so basic.
The only ingredient is creatine.
But it’s not just some random creatine, it’s Creapure, which is like the gold standard in the creatine world.
It is produced in Germany under the tightest and most exacting standards out there.
It is pure, and very unlikely to break down due to the high quality and controlled manufacturing.
In fact, Labdoor found that ON’s creatine had just 1.37 mg of creatinine, which put it below the 10th percentile in the overall test group of 26 products. That’s really good.
Basically it means that the creatine is not breaking down in the tub before you get a chance to use it.
Products with high levels of creatinine show that the creatine is being metabolized and giving off waste products, which means you’re not actually going to be consuming as much creatine as the bottle claims, meaning you’re getting less value.
Labdoor also showed that ON creatine included 5.25g of creatine per serving, a bit more than their claimed 5g.
While this is technically an inaccurate label, at least it’s inaccurate on the high side, rather than the more prevalent supplement practice of including fewer ingredients in the product. The extra .25g won’t make a big difference, but it’s nice that they’re not skimping.
ON’s commitment to simplicity, their choice to use Creapure, and the fact that they actually include all the creatine (and then some) that they say they do, means it’s super easy to love this product.
Oh, and if you care about this kind of stuff, they’ve got nearly 4000 reviews on Amazon with 86% of those being 4 or 5 stars. That’s insane.
It works, it’s a best seller, and it’s pure, good old fashioned creatine monohydrate.
They do say that it is micronized, which isn’t hugely useful, as it just means it dissolves slightly better in your drink. Not a big deal either way.
We highly recommend Optimum Nutrition for pretty much every man looking for creatine, as you can’t really go wrong here.
In fact, we were going to include another brand here but after looking into it some more and having a think, we realized that if you’re looking for a creating supplement that just plain works at a reasonable price, that you can trust, ON is the way to go.
We’ll include one other option below but it’s more of a post-workout option in case you want something a little more than just plain creatine, but most of the time, this ON creatine is all you’ll need.
>> Click Here To Learn More And See Prices <<
#2. Legion Recharge
Going out on a bit of a limb here as this isn’t a pure creatine product, but it’s still really simple and we like that.
While it doesn’t REALLY matter when you take your creatine during the day, many people suggest that taking it after a workout is when it’s most useful and best absorbed (here’s a study confirming that there’s a slight increase in fat-free mass and one-rep-max bench press with post-workout creatine supplementation).
Legion keeps things simple and doesn’t buy into the hype of a lot of other supplement companies.
Their post-workout only has 3 active ingredients, including 5g of creatine.
There are a lot of other post-workouts that have like a dozen ingredients you can’t pronounce, each apparently offering to turn you into a superhuman, some of which don’t make any sense.
If the point is to maximize the work you just put into the gym, because you don’t have 3 hours/day to lift weights and eat 100% perfect, then this is a great product.
So you get your clinically proven dose of creatine, then you get L-Carnitine L-Tartrate.
Now what the heck is that?
Well, carnitine plays a role in regenerating cellular energy, and tartrate is a salt that helps nutrients absorb better and faster into your body. We love seeing products that include ingredients that work well together to increase absorption rates, as once again, it’s a maximization tactic to give you the best bang for your buck.
This ingredient will help your muscles recover from a workout (actual muscle repair and associated soreness), and also improves insulin sensitivity. Once again with a clinically proven dose, Legion gives it to you with 2.1g of L-Carnitine L-Tartrate.
That’s a smart move in our books.
Finally, Corosolic Acid from the banaba plant.
The boost to insulin signaling that you’ll get from this ingredient will not only help get the creatine to your cells, but will also improve the effect of the carbs you consume post-workout.
Some believe that it’s important to replenish glycogen levels after a workout by consuming carbs that will be used quickly, such as dextrose…like in gummy bears.
We typically prefer to focus on the 20% of things that get 80% of the results, and so suggest that while there may be some research backing this up (there’s also some refuting the importance), it’s probably not a major issue and won’t drastically impact your body.
So, we’ll applaud this ingredient mainly for the fact that it will maximize the usefulness of the most important ingredient, creatine.
If getting the most bang for your buck and increasing the absorption of the creatine you consume is important, this is a pretty cool product.
I also love that it uses red beet juice powder for color, rather than an artificial dye. Plus, they use Stevia, instead of an artificial sweetener. It’s that kind of attention to not adding crappy ingredients that made me first take a deeper look into Legion.
>> Click Here To Learn More And See Prices <<
What’s the best type of creatine for building muscle?
Creatine Monohydrate has, by far, the most research behind it. And pretty much all of that research has proven that it is very effective at increasing strength and muscle.
How and when do I take it? Do I need to load?
Usually you’ll just mix it with some water (shaker bottle will do the trick) and drink it, though you could always add it to your post-workout protein shake.
While you could take it at any time and still see benefits, it seems that most people believe that taking it post-workout gives the best benefits, as it is absorbed best at that point.
In terms of loading, you don’t need to, but you can speed up the time in which your body actually uses/utilizes the creatine by spending 5-7 days “loading”, which just means taking 3-4 times the daily serving. Once you’ve done that, just consume at one serving per day (including rest days), and you’ll be good.
Do I need to cycle?
No, there’s no evidence that cycling with creatine is safer or more effective.
Is it bad for your kidneys?
No, there is no evidence that creatine is bad for your kidneys.
Does it cause bloating?
Some people report that since creatine brings water into your cells, you will get a bloated look and/or feeling. There’s no scientific research to back this up, but a lot of anecdotal evidence is out there saying that guys feel and look bigger and fuller for awhile when taking creatine.
Many companies now say that the creatine is so pure and absorbs so well that water retention is not an actual issue.
What are the side effects?
More strength and bigger muscles. Nothing negative found in the scientific literature.
Who should take creatine?
Everyone looking to make the most out of their time in the gym. It is seriously one of the most-studied supplements, and has been proven time and time again to increase your strength and muscle mass along with a good diet and time in the gym.
Should I take creatine with anything else?
You don’t have to, but you may find it more effective in a post-workout like the one from Legion we recommend. You can take it after a workout by itself or in your protein shake.
Is it safe to take long term?
So far there have been no studies to indicate that taking creatine long-term is risky or harmful.