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There is often a large amount of scepticism surrounding supplements, with big promises not always being trusted. This is a fair response after many years of sub-par products making large claims and not backing them up. However, some supplements not only deliver on their promises but manage to surpass them. Creatine monohydrate is one such supplement.
Creatine monohydrate is one of the most used supplements by professional athletes, and it is also the most heavily researched supplement around. Even today, decades after it first came to the attention of the public, creatine’s many benefits are still being discovered.
In this article we are going to look at ten of the best creatine supplements that are currently available to buy in the UK. We will also provide a buyer’s guide to creatine (what you should look out for when purchasing) and we will endeavour to answer ten of the most commonly asked questions about creatine monohydrate.
Table of Contents
10 Best Creatine Supplements to Buy in the UK in 2020
In this section we are going to look at the ten best creatine supplements to buy in the UK in 2020.
My Protein Creatine Monohydrate
My Protein is a great website for bargains, and their creatine monohydrate supplement fits the mould perfectly. Don’t expect any clever formulas here, you can either purchase it in tablet form or powder form. Both provide 3g of creatine monohydrate per serving and are sold at a ridiculously good price. We really like this no-frills approach to selling creatine monohydrate, no fancy marketing, just pure creatine. The powdered version also offers flavoured creatine monohydrate (Berry Burst, Blue Raspberry, Tropical).
BUY: Creatine monohydrate tablets, £14.99 at the time of writing for 250 tablets (83 servings)
BUY: The original creatine monohydrate powder, priced £14.99 for 1kg. (Recommended dose 3g)
PHD Nutrition Creatine Monohydrate
While My Protein is often associated with a killer price, PhD Nutrition has a reputation for being quite pricy. Which makes their creatine monohydrate supplement a nice surprise. While it costs more than My Protein’s version, it provides 110 servings of 5g rather than 3g, meaning you probably don’t need to do the loading stage beforehand which helps to make the powder last longer. The powder is micronized (so in theory should mix easily) and it gives instructions on how to combine with other PhD Nutrition supplements. It comes unflavoured and should be combined with water. One thing we will say though is that unflavoured creatine powder mixed with water is an unpleasant experience. Which is why you may want to pay extra for a flavoured version or use the PhD Nutrition creatine tablets also on sale (pictured). The tablets are Creapure (the highest quality creatine available).
BUY: PhD Nutrition Creapure creatine tablets, currently £7.98 for 90 capsules from Amazon UK
BUY: PhD Nutrition micronized creatine powder, currently £9.28 for 550g from Amazon UK
Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Monohydrate
Optimum Nutrition is a company with a stellar reputation for high quality supplements, and their Micronized Creatine Monohydrate supplement continues this trend. Providing 3.4g of creatine per serving, and promising 99.9% purity, there is a lot to be impressed by. Don’t get too excited about the word “micronized” though, all it does is improve the mixability of the powder in water. It won’t deliver creatine into your muscles faster or anything. That said, this is Creapure creatine, the industry gold standard. Again, this supplement is flavourless, but due to its mixability could be combined with any drink you want.
BUY: Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine, currently £19.99 for 634g (176 servings)
Bulk Powders Creatine Monohydrate
Bulk Powders are very similar to My Protein, they offer very cheap supplements with none of the bells and whistles that other companies provide. That doesn’t mean it’s not valuable, however. Their basic creatine monohydrate is 100% pure and provides 200 servings at just 7p per serving. Unbelievable value! What’s even better, the flavoured version only costs £1 more for 1kg (200 servings). The flavours available are Apple & Lime and Mixed Berry, and the powder is GM-free and suitable for vegans.
BUY: Bulk Powders Creatine Monohydrate for £13.99 for 1kg.
BUY: Bulk Powders also offers a more expensive Creapure version for £29.99 for 1kg.
The Protein Works Creapure Creatine Monohydrate
The Protein Works is another British supplement company, created by some of the founders of My Protein. They are very similar but tend to cost a bit more and focus on a higher quality product. Creapure is their highest-grade creatine monohydrate supplement (they offer cheaper versions to rival My Protein too). They use the finest grade creatine monohydrate which is supposed to be the purest too. The idea is that it mixes well with water and can be delivered to the muscles quicker. Creapure is roughly double the price of My Protein’s Creatine, at 14p per serving, and only comes unflavoured. It’s still great value and will mix very well with water or juice.
BUY: Direct from The Protein Works, currently priced £14.49 for 500g.
LA Muscle Nuclear Creatine
This is the most expensive creatine supplement on the list so far, but it also bills itself as ‘the strongest creatine you can buy’ with a patent pending. You do get 5.69g of creatine. This is also the first creatine supplement on this list to contain more than one ingredient. Nuclear creatine contains taurine, AAKG, and d-aspartic acid (1.5g), which is designed to enhance testosterone production. It also comes flavoured, making it a lot more enjoyable to consume than unflavoured creatine powder.
BUY: LA Muscle Nuclear Creatine direct from LA Muscle for £69.99 for 20 servings per tub. Save £20 when you buy three.
Creatamax is a creatine supplement by Maximuscle that also contains magnesium and l-carnitine. Quite a clever combination that is designed to reduce fatigue as well as increase your work rate in the gym. This supplement comes in capsule form rather than powder, making it easier to consume. Each serving is 3.8g and there are 120 capsules per pack.
BUY: Maximuscle Creatamax direct from the manufacturer, currently priced at £10 (reduced from £20) for 120 capsules
MuscleTech Platinum 100% Creatine Monohydrate
MuscleTech also sell a good creatine product, their Platinum 100% creatine monohydrate is exactly what it says it is. A high quality, micronized creatine monohydrate supplement. 5g of creatine per serving, and 80 servings per pack. As with most of the creatine supplements on this list, MuscleTech Platinum 100% Creatine is unflavoured, but thanks to the micronized powder it should mix well with any drink.
BUY: MuscleTech Platinum 100% creatine monohydrate from Amazon UK, currently priced £11.30 for 400g (80 servings)
Performance Lab SPORT Pre-Workout
The next two supplements are slightly different to the previous ones, in that they are supplements that contain creatine rather than creatine supplements. Performance Lab SPORT Pre is a pre-workout supplement that focuses on reducing fatigue, increasing energy, and allowing you to train harder during a workout. It combines 1,250g of creatine with beta-alanine, Glutathione and L-Citrulline (which can help improve creatine’s performance), as well as Himalayan Pink Salt which can help with uptake of creatine to the muscles. The lower dosage of creatine means that you can take Performance Lab Post as well (or double down on the serving of Pre).
BUY: Performance Lab Pre direct from the manufacturer, currently priced £25. Or take advantage of the limited time ‘Buy 2, Get 2 Free’ Performance Lab is offering.
Performance Lab SPORT Post-Workout
Another supplement from Performance Lab, Post is a post-workout supplement that works in conjunction with Pre (see above). Post contains 1,750g of creatine, and a variety of ingredients that can not only support creatine uptake but can replenish electrolytes lost during a workout. In both pre and post the creatine used is of the highest quality (Creapure) and has ingredients that can improve/support how it works.
BUY: Performance Lab Post direct from the manufacturer, priced £25. There is also a ‘Buy 2, Get 2 Free’ offer on Performance Lab Post as well.
Buyer’s Guide to Creatine
Creatine monohydrate is the most common form of creatine out there, but there are several variations of creatine.
- Firstly, you have creatine monohydrate, the cheapest and most common form. This is usually 95-99% pure and is perfect for people on a budget.
- Next you have Creapure which is the purest form of creatine monohydrate. It guarantees 99.95% purity.
- There is also creatine ethyl ester which is supposed to reduce water retention. There are several other variations of this, the most common of these variations is creatine HCL which is supposed to enhance absorption (which can help reduce gastrointestinal distress).
Dosage is often recommended at 5g per day for regular people and slightly more if you are very musclebound. Of course, the smaller serving sizes in some of the products we’ve mentioned just means that you can take larger servings. For example, you could take double measures of Performance Lab Pre and Performance Lab Post for 4g-plus per day. Which would be ideal for most lifters and also delivers several other beneficial ingredients as well.
When it comes to purity there are good reasons to go for the best. Firstly, because creatine is such a cheap substance anyway you may as well. It will still be the cheapest supplement you buy! Secondly, micronized creatine will disrupt your digestion less. This is particularly useful if you decide to load creatine, where one of the side effects is gastrointestinal distress (a polite way of stating that you may get quite well acquainted with your toilet seat).
For some reason, there is a lot of misinformation surrounding creatine monohydrate. More so than most supplements. In this section we are going to attempt to address some of the most commonly asked questions about creatine.
Is creatine a banned substance?
No. Creatine is not banned by any sports’ governing body, and it is completely legal to take. Another common question is whether creatine is a steroid. It is not. Creatine was given the all-clear by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1998 and has been used by almost all professional athletes ever since. It is legal to purchase and sell (though we’d not recommend transporting it between countries as white powder may cause some suspicion at customs).
Does Creatine dehydrate you?
Yes, creatine can lead to dehydration as it causes your cells to hold water. This is particularly noticeable during the creatine loading phase and can be avoided by not loading but taking the standard dosage of 5g each day. If you are taking creatine, then drink a bit more water than usual. As most creatine is designed to be mixed with water anyway, you can kill two birds with one stone.
Will creatine help me build muscle?
Creatine works by refuelling your muscles during a workout; the more creatine you have stored in your muscles, the more you are able to exercise. This means that taking creatine and exercising will lead to you building more muscle. Taking creatine alone will not lead to you building muscle. This is a common misconception as creatine can initially lead to cell swelling (water being retained by muscle cells) which can make your muscles look bigger for a week or two. But taking creatine without exercise, lifting or training will do little.
Does creatine need to be mixed with orange juice?
A common instruction is to take your creatine with a sugary drink such as orange juice, as the spike in insulin will help your muscles absorb creatine easier. However, this is for the most part unnecessary. Particularly if you are using the purest form of creatine. A hot drink such as tea is best, as it will dissolve the creatine better than a cold drink (making it mix better).
Is creatine suitable for vegans?
Creatine is mostly found in meat, so it is perfectly logical to believe that creatine supplements are not suitable for vegans. But actually, creatine is a synthetic product and is perfectly acceptable. In fact, vegans would benefit the most from creatine supplementation as their stored creatine levels are naturally lower than those of a meat eater. The only thing to look out for is whether the creatine is served in a gelatine capsule. Supplement companies such as Performance Labs ensure their products are vegan-friendly by using plant-based capsules instead of gelatine.
Should I take creatine before or after a workout?
A lot of debate has been wasted on whether creatine is better taken pre- or post-workout. The simple truth is that it really doesn’t matter in the long run. Creatine is not time-dependent in the way that ingredients such as caffeine are. So long as you are taking your daily dosage of creatine it really doesn’t matter when you take it.
Can creatine help me with my studies?
Interestingly, creatine monohydrate is now being investigated as a cognitive enhancer. Studies have shown that creatine can improve your sense of well-being, reduce some symptoms of depression, boost cognition in vegetarians, increase alertness, and reduce fatigue (both mental and physical). Taking creatine monohydrate could very well lead to improved cognition and better results in your exam!
Do I need to load creatine?
Creatine works by increasing the amount of creatine stored in your muscle cells. This can take time, but with a steady 5g per day dosage you should start to notice a difference after a few weeks. Creatine loading involves massively increasing the amount of creatine you take for the first couple of weeks (around 25g per day). This can speed up the process quite a lot but is responsible for some unpleasant side effects. After 30 days of supplementation you’ll see no difference in creatine levels anyway, so loading is only useful for inpatient people (i.e. almost everyone who purchases it!).
What are the side effects of creatine?
There are several side effects that you could potentially suffer from. Dehydration, stomach upset, dizziness, headaches are all possible. But these side effects are almost always associated with creatine loading. If you take a steady dosage, you’re unlikely to see any side effects. Most side effects can be managed by drinking more water anyway.
Is it better to take creatine pills or creatine powder?
There is no difference at all, it really comes down to whether you prefer taking pills or mixing powder with water/juice.
Creatine Pairs Well With
One of the great things about creatine is that it combines well with certain other supplements to deliver an improved result. There is evidence that when combining creatine with protein you will get better results than with taking either separately. Combining creatine with a supplement like Performance Lab Protein could really improve results. Another good combination is creatine and carbohydrates. Studies have shown that consuming more carbohydrates led to a significant increase in creatine uptake into the muscles. Why not try combining Performance Lab Carb with creatine to get some seriously good uptake into the muscles?