If you’ve ever set foot in a gym, you’ve probably heard of creatine. Creatine is the ‘magic’ supplement that so many athletes and weightlifters swear by, to improve their training, boost stamina, and help build muscle.
The popularity of creatine as a nutritional supplement stems from its ability to help the body produce energy quickly. This can significantly improve your strength and physical performance during short-term, high-intensity exercise, such as powerlifting and sprinting, and can also lead to increased muscle recovery and growth.
Creatine is made from glycine and arginine, and is considered an amino acid. It occurs naturally in the human body, and can be found in the liver, kidneys and brain – but the majority (95%) is stored in the muscles, as phosphocreatine. The muscles harness this to generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is used to produce short bursts of energy during exercise.
As it also occurs in animals, you can increase your levels of creatine by eating meat, fish and eggs, or by taking a supplement. Supplements usually come in powder form, and work by increasing your body’s phosphocreatine stores, which in turn boosts production of the ATP energy molecule, potentially allowing you to perform at optimal levels for longer.
The most common type of creatine supplement is creatine monohydrate. This is also by far the best creatine in Australia, as it is the most well-researched, and also tends to be the most affordable. Generally, when supplementing creatine, you will take a higher dosage initially, to ‘load’ and quickly increase your phosphocreatine stores, then reduce the dose after a few days, to maintain levels.
Creatine powder is best mixed with either water or fruit juice - the sugar in which helps increase creatine uptake in the muscles. Take it just before or after a workout, and make sure to stay hydrated, as creatine loads water into your muscle cells. Water retention and bloating are the most common side effects associated with creatine supplementation, and you may need to try out different formulas, to find the one most suited to you.
Here at Fit Nutrition, we stock what we believe are some of the best creatine supplements in Australia. We know the amount of options out there can be overwhelming, so to help you decide which creatine to buy, we’ve selected our top 3 picks, and included the reasons why we recommend them below.
Creatine Monohydrate by ATP Science
ATP Science’s Creatine Monohydrate is one of our favourite creatine supplements on the market. It contains a relatively high 5g of Creapure® per serve, which is known to be one of the best creatine monohydrates in Australia. This type of creatine is marginally purer than competitors, with a 99.99% creatine content, versus 99.9% – which can make all the difference.
This top-level creatine supplement is sure to boost production of ATP in your muscles, giving you increased power and strength, and helping to improve your performance during high intensity workouts.
The formula is vegan-friendly, so it’s great if you avoid animal products, especially as you won’t be consuming creatine in your diet. The ingredients are also gluten, sugar and GMO-free – all of which makes the ATP Science creatine hard to beat.
This creatine monohydrate is available in 500g or 1kg packs, and it is recommended to take 5g per serve with a protein or carbohydrate source, such as fruit juice. If you don’t already have one, invest in a protein shaker to make mixing up your creatine easier.
Creatine Monohydrate by Gen-Tec
We think the second best creatine monohydrate Australia has to offer is this option from Gen-Tec.
This formula contains an impressive 100% Creapure® creatine monohydrate, to help with muscle building and recovery. This pure form of creatine will maximise your power and energy during short periods of intense exercise, such as HIIT workouts, sprinting and power-lifting.
Gen-Tec’s creatine monohydrate is available in 500g or 1kg, and it is recommended to take 3g per serve, mixed into water or a non-acidic fruit juice, 30 minutes prior to training. As less creatine is recommended per serve, this option should last longer than the ATP Science version.
Kre-Alkalyn by International Protein
Finally, if you’re concerned about the potential bloating side effects of creatine, then perhaps International Protein’s Kre-Alkalyn might be for you.
Kre-Alkalyn has a pH buffering system to prevent it from converting to creatinite when mixed into a liquid, prior to reaching your muscles. This is designed to help to reduce side effects, and should mean you can take the supplement at a consistent dosage, without the need to load and maintain.
Mix this creatine into water or a protein shake, and take it either 30 minutes before, or immediately after training. With a pack containing 200g, and a serve being 3g, this does work out to be the priciest creatine per serve on our list – but if you want to avoid bloating, it may be worth it.
What is the best creatine brand?
We believe that ATP Science is one of the best creatine brands in Australia at the moment. Their Creatine Monohydrate is one of the purest forms of creatine available, with no added extras that you don’t need, and it’s suitable for a vegan diet. Gen-Tec is also one of the best creatine brands around for those on a budget.
Is creatine a steroid?
Creatine is not a steroid – it is a substance that occurs naturally in the human body. Although creatine can raise your anabolic hormones, taking creatine supplements is entirely different to taking anabolic steroids. Anabolic steroids synthetically imitate testosterone to increase muscle growth, whereas creatine simply boosts your short-term energy.
Is creatine bad for you?
As discussed, some creatine supplements can cause minor side effects, including bloating and water retention. However, despite some concerns around its safety, there is no real, substantiated evidence that creatine is bad for you. On the contrary, many tests have found it to be one of the safest and most effective supplements for increasing muscle mass.
Is creatine vegan?
As creatine occurs naturally in humans and animals, it can be sourced from animal proteins. However, it is possible to get vegan-friendly creatine supplements, including the ATP Science Creatine Monohydrate. It may be particularly beneficial to take creatine if you are vegan or vegetarian, as you will not be absorbing it from your diet. Some studies have shown that taking creatine supplements can improve memory and neurological function in vegetarians, on top of the physical benefits.