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88% of Trendy Creatine Supplements Offer No Proven Benefits, And Are More Expensive, New Study Reveals

 Written by 

Julien Raby

 Last updated on 

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Unlock the truth about creatine supplements. 

Are you paying more for fancy forms of creatine without getting superior results? 

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A recent study reveals what the science really says about popular creatine alternatives and compares them to the proven benefits of classic creatine monohydrate. 

Get the facts – and save money – by discovering if those expensive supplements are truly worth it. 

A Word on Creatine

Creatine, a compound derived from amino acids, plays a critical role in energy production in muscle cells, making it a popular supplement among athletes and fitness enthusiasts for enhancing performance and muscle growth. 

While creatine monohydrate (CM) is the most researched and widely used form, a myriad of alternative creatine forms are available on the market, each boasting superior benefits. 

This study investigates the efficacy, safety, and cost-effectiveness of these alternative creatine forms sold on Amazon.com, comparing them to the well-established CM, and examines whether their marketing claims hold up under scientific scrutiny.

Get Bigger Muscles
Transparent Labs Creatine HMB
4.5

Based on our testing, this is the best creatine for most people. It has the perfect dosage of creatine monohydrate per serving, which has been proven to increase muscle mass.

Pros:
  • Promote strength and muscle gains
  • Tested for purity and safety
  • Creatine has no known side effects
See on Amazon See on Transparent Labs

Background

Creatine monohydrate has long been the gold standard in creatine supplementation, known for its effectiveness in improving strength, power, and muscle mass. 

It’s backed by extensive research confirming its benefits and safety. 

However, the market has seen an influx of alternative creatine forms such as creatine hydrochloride, creatine ethyl ester, and others, which claim improved absorption rates, greater efficacy, and reduced side effects. 

This study evaluates these claims by analyzing a variety of creatine products available for online purchase.

Methods

The methodology involved a systematic search and analysis of creatine supplements listed on Amazon.com as of January 28, 2022. 

The products were assessed for total creatine content, form, price per gram, and whether they were third-party certified for purity. The study excluded products not explicitly marketed as containing creatine. 

The review utilized recent literature to assess the claims made by each product concerning bioavailability, efficacy, and safety.

Results

The study analyzed 175 creatine supplements, identifying 16 different forms of creatine besides CM. 

It was found that products exclusively using CM offered the lowest cost per gram, at an average of $0.12, compared to $0.26 for alternative creatine forms. 

Only 8% of the analyzed products were certified by recognized third-party organizations. 

Furthermore, a significant portion of alternative creatine products lacked substantial scientific backing to support their enhanced performance claims, with about 88% categorized as having limited to no evidence of increased bioavailability, efficacy, or safety.

Discussion

The findings highlight a considerable discrepancy between marketing claims and scientific evidence in the creatine supplement market. 

Many consumers are paying a premium for alternative creatine forms that do not necessarily deliver on their promises. 

The lack of third-party certification among most products also raises concerns about the purity and safety of these supplements. 

These issues underscore the need for more stringent regulations and consumer education to ensure that claims made by supplement manufacturers are transparent and evidence-based.

Choosing the Right Creatine: What You Should Know Before You Buy

When shopping for creatine, here are some straightforward tips to help ensure you’re choosing a high-quality supplement:

  1. Opt for Creatine Monohydrate: This form of creatine is the most extensively studied and has been proven to be effective and safe. It’s also usually the most cost-effective option.
  2. Check for Third-Party Certification: Look for products that have been certified by third-party organizations like NSF International, Informed Choice, or Informed Sport. These certifications help ensure the product is free from banned substances and contains what it claims.
  3. Purity Matters: Seek out brands that specify the purity of their creatine. Products that mention 99.9% pure creatine monohydrate are typically a good choice. Brands like Creapure® are known for their high purity.
  4. Simple Ingredients: The best creatine supplements usually have minimal ingredients. Avoid supplements with a long list of additives or unnecessary fillers.
  5. Price Per Gram: Compare the price per gram of creatine among different products. While not always the case, higher prices don’t necessarily mean better quality. Creatine monohydrate tends to be less expensive and just as effective.
  6. Reputable Brand: Purchase from well-known and reputable brands. This can reduce the risk of buying a substandard or unsafe product.
Get Bigger Muscles
Transparent Labs Creatine HMB
4.5

Based on our testing, this is the best creatine for most people. It has the perfect dosage of creatine monohydrate per serving, which has been proven to increase muscle mass.

Pros:
  • Promote strength and muscle gains
  • Tested for purity and safety
  • Creatine has no known side effects
See on Amazon See on Transparent Labs

Conclusion

While creatine remains a valuable supplement for enhancing athletic performance, this study advises caution when considering alternative forms of creatine over CM. 

The cost-effectiveness and robust scientific backing of CM make it a preferable choice for most consumers. 

The findings advocate for enhanced regulatory oversight and standardization in the supplement industry to safeguard consumer interests and ensure that product claims are supported by credible scientific evidence.

About

Julien Raby is the owner of BoxLife. He owns a bachelor in literature and a certificate in marketing from Concordia. He's Crossfit Level 1 certified and has been involved in Crossfit since 2010. In 2023 he finally made it to Crossfit Open Quarterfinals for the first time. LinkedIn Instagram Facebook

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